Cigarettes and the Environment: Harmful Effects
Everyone knows how bad smoking cigarettes are for one's health, but what about their effect on the environment?
Let's take a look at some facts:
- Cigarette smoke contains up to 4,000 chemicals. In 2004, a small Italian study lead by Giovanni Invernizzi from the Tobacco Control Unit of Italy's National Cancer Institute in Milan found that air pollution that comes from cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust. For more information on this study, check out the article at New Scientist.
- According to Action on Smoking and Health, the tobacco plant is prone to lots of diseases and insects. Because of this, the plants are often sprayed with chemicals and pesticides including DDT, Aldrin, and Methyl bromide which is awful for the ozone layer. These chemicals can get into water supplies.
- The manufacture of cigarettes also uses about 600 million trees a year!
- Cigarette filters are NOT biodegradable, so they just linger around. They're not going away, even though people litter them regularly.
- Cigarettes are the number one littered item worldwide. There is an organization called Prevent Cigarette Litter working to put an end to cigarette litter. Cigarette butts strewn about can be very harmful to wildlife and waterways. A 2008 survey called the Keep America Beautiful Pocket Ashtray Study included over 1,000 smokers and found that 35% litter five or more cigarette butts per pack on the ground.
- Cigarette butts that are littered and not put out can also cause wildfires and it releases all of those awful 4,000 chemicals into the air.
One problem is a frequent lack of trash receptacles or ashtrays readily available in public. You can write to your city and request more garbage cans and ashtrays in public areas.
Obviously, quitting smoking is the best solution, but if you are having trouble quitting, please be responsible and don't litter your cigarette butts.