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Smoking can harm you…and it harms the environment too

cigarettes and the environmentTraditional tobacco cigarettes contain around 4000 known chemicals, which can greatly harm the smoker, those who breathe in the second hand smoke, and contribute to air and ground pollution. Many people are aware of the harms of the smoking to the human body, but not everyone is aware of the damage being done to the Earth through smoking.

The cigarette butts that many people feel free to throw onto the ground take around 25 years to fully break down. While they are slowly breaking down, all of the chemicals that are sucked through the filter are also being absorbed into the ground and by plant life.

Harming the atmosphere

The actual creation of cigarettes is even more harmful to the environment. Tobacco is known as a “heavy feeder” plant, meaning that it requires high levels of nitrogen compounds in order to reach maturity.

In order to reach these high levels in environments where they do not naturally occur, farmers use large amounts of fertilizer to feed the demanding plants. The excess chemicals which can be found in these fertilizers then run into the rivers and pollute the surrounding areas.

This can affect those plants which do not require the higher levels of chemicals, thus polluting the entire surrounding environment.  The papers required for the cigarettes to be rolled are also in such a high demand that the specialised pulp is being produced all year around, destroying millions of tree life.

Quit for the environment

If you can’t or don’t wish to quit, but would like to be more environmentally friendly, you should consider electronic cigarettes. None of the estimated 4,000 chemicals are found in them, but they still provide a nicotine hit.

They’re non-polluting, non-flammable and non-carcinogenic, and contain no cancer causing agents.  James Dunworth from 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”

They are designed to be reused, with only the filters beings replaced and the batteries requiring charge. This ensures that the constant stream of filters thrown onto the floor to poison the soil and plants is 100% eradicated.

They contain no tobacco, meaning demand for those plants is reduced. Furthermore, no paper is needed either, meaning millions of trees will be spared for unnecessary use.

Surely the biggest incentive to switch should be the significantly reduced risk of death, though for many the environmental difference may be the final inspiration to help someone quit.