It’s a well-known fact that combustible cigarettes harm our bodies, but what about their effect on the environment? Big surprise, smoking is bad for the Earth too. The two biggest ways that cigarettes negatively impact the environment is through litter and through harmful manufacturing processes.
Literally trillions of cigarette butts are tossed away by smokers every year, 4.5 trillion to be exact. They litter our sidewalks, roads, beaches, hiking trails, you name it. If it’s outside, there’s a good chance you’ll find a dirty old cigarette butt on the ground somewhere. Waste produced by these butts includes all of the same gross ingredients that are found in the entire cigarette. These harmful ingredients can leach chemicals into the soil, water or whatever organic substance they’ve landed on. Because the materials in combustible cigs are almost completely non-biodegradable, the chemical leakage from each single butt can go on for as long as 10 years. Imagine if we threw all of our trash on the ground like people do with cigs, we’d be knee deep in garbage.
In addition to the waste created by discarded butts, the manufacturing of cigarettes has a highly negative impact on the environment. It’s estimated that one tree is consumed for every 300 cigarettes that are made. Remember that 4.5 trillion figure we just mentioned? That only accounts for the littered butts, the figure of cigarettes smoked per year is closer to 6 trillion. From package to product, the cigarette production process takes 494,000 acres of forest every year. This means that over the years, billions of trees have been cut down just so people could slowly destroy their organs. Makes loads of sense, right?
If the horrible health effects of smoking aren’t enough motivation for smokers to give up the habit, maybe the incredibly harmful effects that cigs have on the environment will make people think twice the next time they light up.