Tossed cig butts can lead to a fine

I've had it. I'm so sick of watching cigarette butts fly out car windows and hit the ground like tiny meteorites without any repercussions! Isn't there a littering law of some kind against this filthy disposal method?

— No name given

Long answer, short: Yes.

According to Oregon State Police and Medford police, anyone who chucks a still-burning cigarette butt out the window is looking at a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail. That's within city limits, in the county or on the highway.

Under state law — ORS 476.715 to be specific — "No one shall, at any time, throw away any lighted tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, matches or other lighted material, on any forestland, private road, public highway or railroad right of way within this state."

Not nobody, not no how.

"The main concern obviously will be during the drier months of the year," said Lt. Gregg Hastings of OSP, adding fires that start because of the smoldering butt can mean grander consequences.

"Depending on the magnitude of whatever happens, there could be the potential for other charges, but usually that's the one they'll be cited for."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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