UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am
WACO -- It's not the most common cause of wildfires but it's not one to be taken lightly either.
Now the Texas Department of Transportation is spending thousands of tax dollars on advertising, urging people to stop throwing cigarette butts out the window.
But many law agencies say they're not doing much to go after offenders.
"We do write them on occasion, we will write someone for violation of the litter ordinance," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton, police spokesman.
The penalty for flicking a cigarette out of your window is punishable up to $500, but even with the 42 percent increase of cigarette butts found along state highways, citations remain low.
Police say there's only so much they can do.
"Typically people, when they see an officer, they will not make those kind of offenses. They won't throw trash out on the streets if they see a police car. Usually having that mark unit or an officer present deters quite a bit of crime," said Swanton.
According to TxDOT six out of 10 smokers in this state admit to tossing cigarettes out windows.
So remember Texas is not your ashtray.