ANNAPOLIS (WUSA9) -- A hearing took place Wednesday to require all cigarettes sold in Maryland to have biodegradable filters by next year.
Delegate Jon. S Cardin introduced HB405, which would go into effect January 1, 2015. If the bill passes, there be a fine of up to $200 per cigarette package for businesses who are selling non-biodegradable cigarettes.
According to delegate Cardin's office, Maryland would be the first state to ban non-biodegradable cigarette filters. Cardin said banning non-biodegradable filters plays a big role in keeping drinking water purer, the environment cleaner and the wildlife safer.
Cleanup statistics from the International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2012 show cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in the country. At a cleanup in 2012, volunteers found picked up more than two million cigarette butts.
Despite efforts made by various environmental organizations including Keep America Beautiful, around 65 percent of all butts are still littered nationwide, according to Keep America Beautiful statistics.
Delegate Cardin, Dave Wilson and Chris Bostic, the Deputy Director of Policy for Action on Smoking Health (ASH), testified Wednesday at 1 p.m. before the Economic Matter Committee in support of the bill.