How are Cigarettes harmful to the environment?

Tobacco use is a public health problem, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 7 million people die from tobacco use and one in two children is a passive smoker.

The damage to health caused by smoking has been repeated in advertising campaigns to attack this problem, however, little is said about how tobacco consumption affects the environment, from the manufacturing process and disposal of the product.

Additionally, this residue contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, some added by tobacco companies so consumers don’t have to constantly light up their cigarettes.

Cigarette butts represent between 30 and 40% of the waste collected in urban and coastal cleaning activities. According to the Ocean Conservancy organization, throwing away a cigarette butt can contaminate up to 50 liters of drinking water, since the filter retains most of the nicotine and tar from the cigarette.

Cigarette butts are made from a petroleum derivative called cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable material that can take up to 10 years to break down.

The tobacco industry is one of the main ones responsible for global deforestation, since thousands of hectares of fertile lands, such as forests or tropical jungles, are used for the cultivation of the tobacco plant and its manufacturing process.

According to data from the WHO, to make 300 cigarettes it is necessary to cut down 8 trees, that is without counting the trees used in the manufacture of cigarette paper and packs, the construction of the barns in which they are stored and the firewood used. to cure the tobacco leaves so that they acquire their characteristic aroma.

Naturally, cigarette smoke directly affects air quality. According to reports, it is estimated that tobacco users produce 225,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is approximately equivalent to the emissions produced by 12,000 cars travelling 10,000 kilometers.

According to a report published by the magazine “Tobacco Control”, cigarette smoke also causes the levels of polluting particles to increase up to 10 times more than those produced by the smoke of some diesel engines.

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