The city of Baltimore on Monday sued several big tobacco companies with “first of its kind” litigation that seeks to recover the cleanup costs of littered cigarette butts.
Baltimore city officials said that since 2014, 12 million cigarette butts have been cleaned from the waters around Baltimore.
City Solicitor James Shea said the lawsuit seeks as much as $5 million annually for the cleanup. It alleges the tobacco companies have refused to put warnings about how to properly dispose of filters on their boxes.
He further asserts that they could make filters biodegradable but have chosen not to, creating a public nuisance.
Big Tobacco corporations like Altria and R.J. Reynolds are named in the suit. Shea said they have 30 days to respond in court.