The West End Cleanup group experiment of paying $20 for a bag of 2,000 cigarette butts is proactive. Their idea is a penny-a-smoke deposit on all cigarettes sold.
In Sydney, Australia, there are fines to hopefully reduce the littering of butts - one fine for throwing butts and a greater one for throwing smouldering butts. Of course no one in Vancouver would enforce the fines, but the bylaw would emphasize that butts are litter and littering is not respectful to any community.
Some jurisdictions have recognized cigarette filters do nothing to make cigarettes safer and are considering banning the sale of filtered cigarettes. At least that way, the unfiltered butts would quickly biodegrade. It is an easier solution to butt litter than managing a deposit.
Rob Thompson, North Vancouver