The environmental impact of smoking: More than just extra litter?
As anyone who has or currently does light up will know, smoking isn’t exactly the healthiest habit to acquire. It can take years off your lifespan, and can also cause a myriad of health problems which can stay with you for the rest of your life; but could it be actually doing more harm to the wider environment than it does to those who smoke?
The range of harmful chemicals found in a typical cigarette can, with tobacco, cause diseases including cancer and bronchitis. As they’re emitted with each puff of a cigarette, they enter the atmosphere, and the fact that there are millions who smoke them worldwide seems pretty grim. As the smoke emitted from each puff adds up, the overall effect could be huge.
Smoking en masse has done more damage to the environment than many people may have realised. Each cigarette sees a small yet worrying amount of carbon monoxide and benzene emitted, which cumulatively can cause damage that can be hard to reverse. Also, some of the discarded cigarette butts left can end up adding to landfill sites and tend to take an age to decompose naturally.
A healthier, greener alternative?
Giving up smoking is something that many people worried about their health might consider, but it’s not viewed by smokers as being easy to stop straight away. Aids such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and, more commonly, electronic cigarettes may prove useful, especially when it comes to undoing some of the environmental damage done by lighting up.
James Dunworth from ecigarettedirect.co.uk said: “A single cigarette may seem innocuous in terms of pollution. However, there are over one billion smokers in the world today. Even if the average number of cigarettes smoked per person was just 10, we’d be looking at over 365,000,000,0000 cigarettes being releasing smoke a year”
Electronic cigarettes are seen as a green alternative to smoking because:
- They’re made from recyclable materials such as plastic
- The batteries used to power them are rechargeable
- They can be refilled easily enough
- They emit a water vapour that resembles smoke, which is almost completely harmless
- You don’t throw away much material like you would do with cigarette butts
The growth in popularity of the e-cig among those that consider quitting could, in the long run, ensure that the carbon monoxide arising from smoking ordinary ones will come down. In turn, this will help the health of many smokers.