No butts….its got to be electronic cigarettes
One of the less reported aspects of traditional cigarettes is their negative impact on the environment. However, you only have to look down in any major city or town to see that cigarette butts alone cause a great deal of damage to the environment. Electronic cigarettes do not contain butts, so their increased growth is already having a positive environmental impact.
Cigarette butts have become one of our most important litter issues. The problem has increased in recent years with government legislation for smoking restrictions in public buildings and restaurants forcing smokers outside, where butts are often littered. An estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year. Not only do littered butts seriously reduce the aesthetic quality of any environment, but they can cause a great deal of harm.
It has been estimated that almost 50% of all litter in urban areas is tobacco related products including butts, cellophane wrapping, foil inserts and packaging. Areas with a high number of littered cigarette butts look dirty and uncared for, which attracts more littering of other rubbish items. If a butt is simply dropped, it can smoulder for up to 3 hours. Cigarette smoke contains up to 4,000 chemicals so each second the butt is left alight, dangerous toxins are released into the environment.
Cigarette butts are made from fibrous material designed to trap tar and other toxic chemicals before they reach the smoker’s lungs. The filters are made from cellulose acetate (a material similar to rayon) and are coated with paper. Each butt contains the remnants of tobacco, paper and a filter. The residue in the butts contains toxic, soluble chemicals. These chemicals are deadly and add to the existing cocktail of environmental pollution.
Cigarette butts can take up to 12 months to break down in freshwater and up to 5 years to break down in seawater. Birds and aquatic animals can mistake the butts as food, resulting in serious digestive problems that may lead to death. Butts have been found in the stomachs of young birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures. Another serious concern is that toxic chemicals such as lead and cadmium, which are trapped in the cigarette filter, can leach out in water. Within just one hour of contact with water, the chemicals begin to leach into the aquatic environment and threaten the wellbeing of marine life.
So when considering switching to an e cig, you will not only be doing yourself some good but helping the environment stay butt free too.
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