Poll: Course offer as alternative to fine for smokers who drop their butts on the streets of Ipswich

Kicking the habit: Steven Lee-Foster, director of Livewell Suffolk, Luke Collins, waste enforcement

Kicking the habit: Steven Lee-Foster, director of Livewell Suffolk, Luke Collins, waste enforcement officer, and Neil MacDonald, deputy leader of Ipswich Borough Council, launch a new scheme offering people who are caught dropping cigarette butts the chance to go on a stop-smoking course - Credit: Archant

Smokers facing an £80 fine for dropping cigarette butts on the streets of Ipswich are to be offered a healthy way out of their financial pain.

The borough council has linked up with Live Well Suffolk to offer people a place on a stop smoking course as an alternative to the fine.

Council deputy leader Neil MacDonald said: “We hope this will help more people to give up smoking. It’s a bit like motorists who can save points from going on their licence by attending a safe driving course.

“Here, people who have been handed a fixed penalty notice for littering with butts can get a refund if they attend a course that will help them give up.”

Last year, 66 people in Ipswich were given penalties for dropping cigarette butts and a further 38 have been caught so far this year.

It comes after this year’s national Stoptober campaign ended yesterday during which more than 3,000 people in Suffolk signed up to take part in the stop smoking challenge.

Live Well Suffolk, the healthy lifestyles service commissioned by NHS Suffolk, is now calling on those participants to continue with their stop smoking regime as it will benefit their health and save money.

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Stephen Lee-Foster, director of Live Well Suffolk, said: “On average a smoker has 13 cigarettes a day, which is equal to 364 cigarettes every four weeks.

“So during Stoptober they would have saved about £141. If they stay smoke free they could save £423 by Christmas, and £1,696 in one year.”

He added: “It’s never too late to quit smoking. Even if you missed out on Stoptober then you can still access our support services, or you can visit your local pharmacy or GP for advice on giving up.”

He added: “We are absolutely delighted to be part of this innovative campaign. It is one of the first in the country and it has got the potential to be very successful.”

Research showed that people who stopped smoking with support from groups like Live Well Suffolk were four times more likely to succeed than those who gave up on their own.

Last year Live Well Suffolk helped 50% of smokers who came to them quit. Staff hope the new “money back” policy will enjoy similar success.