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New Illinois law fines cigarette butt littering $1,500

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(KTVI) – A new law takes effect in Illinois on New Year’s Day that will throw the book at those throwing cigarette butts out their car windows.  The fine could go as high as $1,500.

The law, passed last summer in Springfield, has plenty of detractors.  Many feel the fine is simply too high for the offense.

“$1,500 is steep,” Eric Schmacker said.“I can see $50 to $75 dollars as a warning and maybe take it up three times.  Other than that, that’s debatable.  I don’t think so.”

Others are conflicted about what they see as positives and negatives of it.

“It’s good and bad,” Mary Ann Wolf said.  “Good because no littering, no forest fires, no dry brush fires.  Bad because people smoke.  They’re going to want to throw it out the window.”

But asked if that wasn’t what car ashtrays were for, she responded, “New cars don’t come with ashtrays or lighters now.  So you have to buy something for the new car.”

That logic, that throwing a butt out on the road is somehow not littering, is what seems to be guiding those who throw the hundreds of cigarette butts you can see on the side of nearly any highway.

It was even argued in court that it’s somehow not littering.  That’s part of what led to this new law.

“A couple of court cases recently here made them change the law so it specifically targets flicking the cigarette butt so there is no confusion on if it’s actually littering or not,” Illinois State Trooper Calvin Dye, Jr. said.

If you think $1,500 is high, try the third offense.  That carries a $25,000 fine and jail time as a Class D felony.


  • Shontelle Jones

    Littering is out of hand in Saint Louis County and City. I think that Missouri should pass a similar law. Just drive down Manchester or Olive Blvd and you will see so much trash on the side of the street that it’s overwhelming. Littering has consequences and it’s bad for the environment that we all one day will pay for. Come on now people, it’s 2014, STOP LITTERING!!

  • Sue Savage

    I think there should be a fine for any litter, not just cigarette butts. It’s all gross. Get a trash bag for your car, or keep it til you get to your destination and throw it in the trash there. And whats the big deal about buying a ash tray for your car? They’re probably only a couple bucks at the store…

    • Bradley

      The fine should fit the crime. If the new law is going to call it littering, then the fine should be for littering. How many time do you also see empty cigarette packages also along the highways?

  • thekevinstl

    Just another way to stick it to the poor. If you look at a person’s income the less they make the higher the odds are they will smoke.

    Take their jobs give them a part time gig that doesnt cover their bills then screw them with a $1500 fine they have zero way of paying. Then we can add more people to the jails! Makes sense

  • Susie McClintock

    I am not a smoker, but this is ridiculous amount of a fine. I don’t know who is passing these laws, but I think they need to come down to reality. If the state will pass this law, then it is the state’s responsibility to assure ashtrays are put in every public place. When they are about to enter any public place from business to park, they need an ashtray to dispose of the cigarette.

  • Missy

    I agree. They don’t dissolve they just pile up. Someone risks their life to go out in the road to clean it up.

    • Daniel

      They don’t make it illegal because they loose TAXES from them, they just rather fine people and get MORE MONEY OUT OF IT !!!!! That is he TRUTH !!!!!!

  • David Gorski

    I think this is great. I was in the Marine corps for a long time. If they caught you throwing a butt on the ground….god forbid. So you just put the butt in your pocket till you get to a trash can. No biggie. My wife used to hate the smell. I am sure it wasn’t pleasing lol. But now that I am in the civilian world, I see the problem. I have been guilty in my life. But hey….put em in a trash can. I think research has been done and they are not good for the environment. Plus they make the area look horrible.

  • greg roberts

    As for the law it is good and I agree it is littering but the underlying agenda of Illinois is what scares the Hell out of Me. If you get caught throwing a cigarette butt out 3 times they can charge you as a felon and once that is done you lose your right to keep guns.Illinois has always tried to get the guns taken away and now they can by catching you flick a cigarette butt out the window. soon every small fine will have felony charges and then they win. People need to wake up take responsibility for their selves and keep Government out of Our lives

  • Sstar

    Why should the city, state or myself be responsible for providing ashtrays for your chosen habit. Think about what you are saying. Amen to a $1500 fine. Don’t through you butts out the window or on the ground, no fine. Simple.

  • Bruce Murphy

    Illinois is the most corrupt state in the nation, with the previous 2 not 1 but 2 governors currently serving a prison sentence, corrupt and fucking broke, so these laws aren’t made for the safety of the people they are simply a capitalistic approach to either kine their pockets or cover their fuck ups, this is one of those laws that is going to hard to enforce

  • Cathy Schlueter

    Missouri please follow Illinois example!! I had someone’s cigarette butt fly into my car window after they tossed it out! Oh and the best ever was the time I saw a woman empty her ashtray NEXT to the garbage can. Yes! right next to it on the ground. I asked her if she also urinated next to her toilet and asked her to Please respect our planet ! Well I took a tongue lashing for that comment! Oh and also saw a woman toss a dirty diaper on the ground after she changed her child’s diaper in the grocery store parking lot! LITTER makes me crazy and St Louis has an excessive litter problem. My hometown of Milwaukee and other cities I have visited are so much cleaner!! I have often pondered what impression St Louis has on people from other cities when they drive into St Louis and see the garbage strewn everywhere along the highways and exit/entrance ramps.

  • Marie

    It makes me wonder what is the fine for not wearing a seat belt or having a phone stuck to your ear? and what is more serious here throwing butt out the window or not wearing my seat belt or having a phone stuck to the side of my face. I just think the fines should fit the crimes P.S . I never had any try to kill me because they were throwing a butt out the window but had plenty almost hit me because they were busy with theirs phones,.. I don’t smoke But I think the smokers pay more enough for everyone guilty pleasures in taxes alone.

  • mary julian

    And what is the fine for plain littering?…cell phone use…texting while driving…drug possession and / or “driving under the influence”?

  • Thomas Paine

    I have never been a litterer, but henceforth I will throw my cans, sacks, bottles, cups, and other waste and trash from my car as an act of civil disobedience to protest against this ridiculous law. Enough!

  • steven

    You should read the new law. It is far more encompassing than just cigarette butts. Pretty much anything that you throw out the window of your car can get you in trouble. What I find odd is that normally a car produces about 3,000 pounds of pollution each year from the burning of fuel. I would think that is far more of a problem than cigarette butts. Anyway, Illinois is one of the worst states to live in. I found out that if you leave money in a bank account with no activity for 5 years or more, the State will take (steal) it. Talk about corruption!

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