These days the health risks of smoking are well known to smokers. But the detrimental effects of smoking go well beyond just harming the individual.
Smoking is causing great harm to our oceans, lakes, rivers, bays, canals and all of our other waterways.
The vast majority of this damage is being caused by people littering with cigarette butts.
Every year 4.3 trillion cigarette butts
are improperly discarded.
They are the single most littered thing to ever exist in the world.
Most of these cigarette butts are disposed of on land. But many of them will be washed along by wind and rain into storm drains
or directly into canals, lakes, rivers and eventually the ocean.
(To give a sense of scale of the problem -
A beach clean up operation in California collected 230,000 cigarette butts. In one day.)
Once they reach our waterways they are often mistaken by all manner of aquatic life for food. The consequences are often dire for the innocent
unwitting creatures that ingest them. The toxins in a cigarette are enough to cause a human sized animal discomfort when ingested.
When a smaller fish or reptile swallows one, it can lead to respiratory failure and in many cases - death.
And to make this issue even worse.Cigarette butts are not biodegradable.
They take up to 25 years to degrade. As they do they are releasing their 165+ toxic chemicals into the
A cigarette butt might seem small, and the amount of toxins they release may seem low. But when you account for the 4.3 trillion of them
improperly discarded every year - you can see how this can easily add up.
The toxins released degrade water quality and harm aquatic life. Delicate organisms like coral that require very specific conditions to
survive are particularly at risk from this.
There can be no butts about it. Cigarette litter is harming aquatic life every day, all over the world.
It is about time we dispose of cigarettes responsibly, like the toxic waste they are.