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An empty beach in Nice

Nice studies smokers’ behaviour to protect beaches from cigarette butts

Nice studies smokers’ behaviour to protect beaches from cigarette butts

There are 1 million cigarette butts on the city grounds at any given moment

Nice, on the French Riviera, is a favourite destination for those who enjoy a sunny vacation by the sea. Unfortunately, among the 4.5 millions of tourists and beachgoers that the destination attracts every year, there is one type that no city is too keen on welcoming – smokers who dispose of cigarette butts incorrectly.

To address the issue and preserve the cleanliness of its beaches, this season the local government will double down its efforts. This time, authorities will try to learn more about smokers who visit local beaches and try to adapt to their needs.

Nice wants to offer better public services before requiring citizens to change

This year again, Nice is offering pocket ashtrays to its beachgoers, in an attempt to reduce the amount of cigarette butts ending up in the sand, or even worse – in the water. However, even if these efforts had some positive effect in previous years, the problem with inappropriate cigarette butt disposal remains. To be more precise, there is a total of 1 million cigarette butts at any given moment on the grounds of Nice, informed Nice Matin.

Hence, on top of a mobile information stand and free distribution of ashtrays until 31 August, the city will offer a questionnaire to smokers, to study their profile and behaviour. The questionnaire is available online and can be accessed with a QR code at the mobile information points by the beach.

It takes less than 2 minutes to complete and involves several general profiling questions about the respondent and his or her preferences in terms of beach location and time. Also, there are questions about their smoking behaviour, such as the number of cigarettes smoked on the beach and their fate after being smoked. Finally, respondents are being asked if they are open to the idea of a smokers-only beach.

One of the reasons for the questionnaire is that even that the city has installed hundreds of ashtrays in popular locations, many smokers do not seem to notice them. So, before asking for a change in the negative behaviour among smokers, the city wants to find a way to adapt to them.

This can happen for instance, by offering more easy-to-find ashtrays in fluorescent colours, or ashtrays of the poll type (where one can answer a poll by throwing their cigarette butt into a box for one of the suggested answers). Hopefully, for the next summer season, Nice will know better what it takes to keep a beach clean and will make sure to share it with you.

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