SMOKERS forced outside are creating a heap of rubbish, says Keep Britain Tidy.
The pressure group says seven times as many cigarette packets are being dropped on the street since the smoking ban was introduced on July 1.
Spokeswoman Ginette Unsworth said: “We always knew the smoking ban would have a negative effect on the state of our streets, but it’s surprising just how much.”
The new research shows the amount of cigarette butts on streets is up 43%, with most Yorkshire councils reporting an increase.
But Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for the environment Clr Martyn Bolt said he was unaware of any rise in litter in the district.
He said: “Personally I’ve not been aware of any increase. Thankfully many pubs and restaurants have put in bins for customers who wish to smoke outside.
“If people are aware of a problem area, they can report it by calling 0800 731 8765.”
The council is also pleased with the way people have responded to the new laws.
There have been complaints about people smoking in banned areas, but as yet no penalty notices have been issued.
Keep Britain Tidy is launching an ad campaign on Monday to remind smokers that littering could land them an £80 fine.
Posters on bus shelters, in bar toilets and in phone boxes will show a cigarette butt in camouflage print with the words: “however you disguise it, it’s still litter”.
Ms Unsworth believes positive action can address the problem.
She said: “Although the news isn’t good, we shouldn’t despair. By taking appropriate action such as campaigning and installing cigarette bins, councils could see a dramatic difference.
“In June we worked with 12 local authorities on a smoking litter campaign. Overall they experienced a 33% decrease in cigarette butts and packets on their streets.”
For more information visit www.keepbritaintidy.org/campaigns.