smoking-beaufoy-merlin02The NSW Government has announced a ban on smoking in the 860 national parks in NSW.

The ban will apply to the national parks estate to include picnic areas, campgrounds, beaches, lookouts, walking tracks and on national parks roads.

Cigarette butts can also be ingested by our wildlife, wash into waterways and spoil the beauty of our natural places.

NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes said the ban would diminish the risk of bushfires and reduce litter in national parks, with surveys confirming cigarette butts form up to half of the measured litter across the nation.

“Seven billion cigarette butts are littered in Australia every year, putting lives and property at risk, ruining beaches, spoiling the beauty of our parks and endangering wildlife,” Mr Stokes said.

The Royal Commission into the devastating Victorian bushfires, where over 170 people died, singled out cigarette butts as one of the likely causes of bushfire in the Australian environment.

Cigarette butts contain more than 4000 chemicals, including 43 known carcinogens such as ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and arsenic. When cigarette butts are discarded the chemicals leach into the surrounding environment polluting the land and waterways.

The ban on smoking within national parks will commence on 1 January 2015.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Stuart Ayres recently announced that the penalty for littering lighted cigarettes has doubled from $330 to $660.The fine has gone from $660 to $1320 if someone discards a lit cigarette on a Total Fire Ban day.