SMOKERS are being warned that cigarette ends are litter – as 13 people who have been fined £75 since the beginning of July alone can now testify.
The city council has revealed it is having a crackdown on litter, and it claims that most of it is caused by cigarettes.
Half a sack of rubbish was picked up from the grass area in Dix's Field by the entrance to the car park. Apart from a few dead leaves, the majority of it was made up of cigarette ends.
Louise Harvey, street scene manager for Exeter City Council, said: "There must have been about 2,000 cigarette ends. In that area they get wedged between the brick pavers and it is practically impossible to get them out. This area had only been cleaned the previous week."
Mrs Harvey said part of the problem is people don't see cigarette ends as litter.
"We had one woman who was seen throwing a cigarette end out of her car. She was given a fixed penalty notice, which means a fine of £75," she said.
"She phoned us afterwards to apologise and to say she just didn't think. She now keeps a small tin in her car for the stubs and is telling all her friends who smoke that they should not throw ends out. We have a convert!"
Of the 13 fines handed out in the past month and a half, 99 per cent of them have been for a tossed away cigarette stub.
Mrs Harvey said: "We have only one enforcement officer, and he is really busy as he has to deal not just with litter but with stray dogs and bins left on pavements.
"He tells me that cigarettes are the main problem at the moment.
"We do have a few instances of people eating on Cathedral Green, getting up and walking away, leaving behind their rubbish.
"They are in the minority, however, and I would like to thank all those people who do dispose of their rubbish properly.
"There are plenty of bins around, including bins for cigarette ends and people can always stub their cigarette out on top of an ordinary bin and then put it in the bin if they are not near a cigarette bin."