City offers free wall ashtrays to gastronomy

Officials in Vienna are offering free ashtrays to restaurants and cafes for smokers forced outside to enjoy a cigarette.

Since the new rules came into effect on 1 July 2010 banning smoking in many places that do not meet certain specifications – an increasing number of smokers have been taking to the streets outside in between courses to enjoy a quick cigarette.

But that has led to an increase in the number of cigarettes being dumped on the streets.

The new ashtrays are being handed out by the MA 48 council department to be fitted to the wall. The idea for the free ashtrays came after a working group had been set up to tackle the problem including city council officials – the Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the gastronomy scene.

The decision to hand out the ashtrays is part of the campaign to clean up the city for the annual spring clean – where Viennese people are invited to take part.

The city estimates that around 600 million cigarette ends are dumped on the streets every year, and anybody caught dumping a cigarette end on the street will face a fine of up to 36 Euros.

The city of Vienna is paying the cost of the 58 Euro a piece ashtrays, arguing that they will save on cleanup costs as a result of having the ashtrays on the walls.

The new ashtrays will join the 10,800 waste bins that have a special ashtray fitted to the side as well as 850 freestanding ashtrays dotted around the city.