The Often Overlooked
Environmental Impact

Of Smoking

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Smoking does not just harm the individual smoker

There are a multitude of ways that smoking harms our environment and wildlife

4.3 Trillion

Annually 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are discarded improperly around the world. They make their way into our global ecosystem causing great harm.

Creatures Large And Small

Animals can often mistake these cigarette ends for food and consume them. Often resulting in severe health complications - and often death

What Can We Do?

Educating people on how toxic cigarette butts are and raising awareness about the need to dispose of them properly are the first steps to a cleaner, greener world.

ABOUT
Smoking does not just harm the individual smoker. There are a whole range of ways that tobacco harms the global ecosystem.

For example 600 million trees are cut down every year to provide fuel to dry tobacco. That works out to be 1 tree for every 300 cigarettes.

However the main damage from cigarettes to the environment comes mainly through cigarette butt litter.

Did you know that cigarette butts are the single most commonly littered thing in existence, ever. Walk outside and you will not have to go far from your front door to find one. They rank top in the worlds litter problems - annually 4.3 trillion of them are dropped each year.

To get an idea of the scale of this problem the city of San Francisco in California puts a 20 cent tax on each packet of cigarettes sold. This tax is wholly used to pay for the cleaning up of cigarette butts. That is $10.7 million annually, in just one city.

These discarded cigarette ends are not just unsightly, they actually do a huge amount of damage in a variety of ways.

Small animals will often mistake the cigarette butts for food. Once ingested they can cause a huge amount of health issues. Including but not limited to vomiting, respiratory failure, and death.

This is not just a problem for land animals either. Many littering smokers will attempt to discard of their cigarette ends by flicking them down a drain to ease their conscience. Out of sight is out of mind for many people.

What they may not know is that more often than not these discarded cigarette butts will make their way into our oceans and rivers.

Marine life then faces the exact same issue as land animals do. Mistaking it for food and ingesting it - often leading to lethal consequences for the creature.

To make all these issues even worse - cigarette butts are not biodegradable. When they enter our ecosystem, they stay there for up to 25 years. When they do finally degrade they poison the soil or water with the chemicals that are present inside them.

It seems to be that because cigarette ends are so common that we actually ignore just how dangerous they can be to wildlife.

We need to start disposing of cigarette butts correctly. We need to treat them like the toxic waste they are.
SUPPORT
The solution to this is simple and twofold.

Primarily we need to raise awareness of how damaging cigarette butts are for the environment. With greater awareness of this issue we can hopefully encourage smokers to be more responsible with the by-products of their addiction. In turn reducing the amount of cigarette butts that make it into our ecosystem.

Secondly we need to increase the amount of ash trays and bins that are available for smokers to discard their cigarette ends in. Many smokers do not wish to litter, but have nowhere to put the smelly and hot cigarette butts they are left with. There have actually been some quite novel concepts regarding this. Such as the voting ash tray pictured below in the UK.

This being said it is simply not practical (or desired) to have an ashtray on every corner. So we also want to encourage the use of personal portable ashtrays. In fact some cigarettes are now actually being sold with a portable ashtray that can be sent free post for recycling

We only have one planet, let's keep it clean.

Join us in spreading the word.

At the bottom of this page you will find more reading on this often overlooked topic alongside various resources to help you quit smoking.

If you have any other questions about this awareness campaign, please get in contact with us using the email address here

environment@quitza.com