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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Smokers given portable ashtrays
An ashtray
Cigarettes account for about 40% of litter on the streets
Smokers in Liverpool are being given their own personal ashtrays to stop them dropping butts on the streets.

The city council, which wants to ban smoking in public places in the city centre, is handing out the portable containers at a series of roadshows.

The heat-resistant plastic ashtrays can clip on to a belt, or go into a handbag, and are airtight so that the tobacco smells stay inside.

Smokers caught dropping cigarette butts can be fined 50.

Liverpool is aiming to become a smoke-free city in time for its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

It wants to ban smoking in public places because it says that the city has the UK's highest rate of lung cancer deaths.
Liverpool skyline
The city is aiming to be smoke-free by 2008

The ashtrays will be given out to smokers next week at venues throughout the city centre, including Lime Street station, Pier Head and the Lyceum.

Councillor Marilyn Fielding, executive member for neighbourhood services at Liverpool City Council, said that cigarettes account for 40% of litter.

She added: "Personal ashtrays are a way in which smokers can help the city environment.

"If they carry one there's no excuse for dropping butts on the pavement."

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