By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, May 14th the Brazilian House Committee for Economic, Trade and Industry Development approved bill PL 3.259/12 banning the disposal of cigarette butts on Brazilian roads and streets. If passed into law those caught tossing cigarette filters, cigarillos, cigars or other smoking products will be fined R$100. Repeat offenders can be fined double that amount.

Littered Cigarette Butts on the Street, Brazil News, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Littering, Smoking, Cigarette Butts, Fines, Lixo Zero, Smoking Products, Water Pollution in Brazil, Legislation in Brazil
If the bill passes into law those who discard their cigarette butts on Brazilian roads and streets can be fined R$100, photo by Chris/F***F*** /Flickr Creative Commons License.

Additionally, if the the bill becomes law cigarette manufacturers will be responsible for providing posters at points of sale that inform customers of the new law and its penalties. Manufacturers who fail to provide said posters will be fined R$800 with repeat offenders again being fined double that amount.

The project began due to concerns that once discarded, cigarette butts, which often take years to decompose/biodegrade, will flow into sewers, streams and various bodies of water and cause larger problems as they accumulate.

“In general, the fate of these residues [cigarettes discarded in the streets] are sewers, rivers and beaches,” Deputy Edson Pimenta (PSD-BA) told Agência Brasil. “In the first case, their piling up in sewage galleries can cause flooding; in other cases, water pollution; and in both cases, the result is harmful to human health because of the composition of filters, which includes things like heavy metals, arsenic and other harmful substances.”

In Rio de Janeiro there are currently laws against littering that include fines for improper disposal of cigarettes butts. The “Lixo Zero” (Zero Trash) program, after many delays, went into full effect in the city during August of last year. Under the program, fines of R$157 have been issued for discarded cigarettes and other smoking products on sidewalks and in the streets.

The federal bill for the disposal of cigarette butts now must go on to be analyzed by the Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (Environment and Sustainable Development) and the Constituição e Justiça e de Cidadania (Constitution, Justice and Citizenship) before moving to the final approval of veto stage with President Dilma Rousseff.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.


  1. Thank you Brazil. Another great community standard, especially since it takes hundreds of years for the butt to actually break down in composition. I’d make the fine lower though, something you can actually pay on the spot so it’s realistic. Keep Rio and SP pretty. Take your butt home with you.

  2. Paying on the spot would invite corruption unless a citation of some sort with copies is issued. Knowing this is probably coming, I’ll be more careful to dispose of my butts in the trash receptacles. It’ll take some conscious thought, but getting to where I’m doing it all the time won’t be hard.


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