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Tobacco and the environment.

It is a common belief among cigarette smokers that they are only hurting themselves. In fact they are not, they are also hurting the people around them and the environment. These days everyone knows what smoking cigarettes does to their bodies, but the knowledge of what smoking does to the Earth is not as common. There are some things that every smoker who has any concern for environmental issues should know.

Air pollution.

It is obvious that smoking pollutes the air and quite often the ground. However, it is not always obvious how or how much smoking actually pollutes the environment. Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals which are exhaled and released into the air and the atmosphere.

Approximately 30% of North Americans are smokers, and this percentage goes even higher in the developing countries, this means there is a massive amount of pollution being released into the air every day. Trees are often compared to the lungs of our planet in the same way as lungs in our bodies. With all of the pollutants that the trees filter out for us already it seems almost crazy to add more to the air that does not need to be added. We need to breathe, but no one needs to smoke.

Ground Pollution.

The pollution caused by cigarettes does not stop in our bodies or the air, it affects our land and our water supply. Millions of cigarette butts are discarded onto the ground every day. Most of rubbish collected on a daily basis from sweeping streets is cigarette waste, and these are only the ones that are picked up in and not ones discarded down drains and sidewalk cracks. These end up in the rivers and lakes, causing fish and other animals to eat them by mistake, ultimately resulting in their death. The ones in streets left un cleaned are left on the ground to decompose which will take an average of 25 years while all of the chemicals and additives leach into the ground, polluting the soil.

So, smokers please remember this information before throwing cigarette butts on the ground. It makes your neighbourhood look unattractive, causes a major fire hazard, and it is extremely harmful to the environment.

Cigarette and tobacco production.

Probably the most impact of a cigarette on the environment is the production of them. The land used to grow the crops that could be put to better use by planting more trees or food production. The tobacco crops are sprayed with harmful chemicals and pesticides, because tobacco is a very fragile plant the risk of disease is greater. Consider the amount of trees used to produce and package cigarettes and tobacco products.

A productive cigarette making machine can use in excess of 4 miles of paper per hour just to roll them, this does not include the packaging. One tree is wasted for every 300 cigarettes produced. It is not rocket science to imagine what these lungs of the earth should be doing for the planet. Also consider the amount of energy and water needed to produce tobacco products, and with soil depletion and chemical wastage added on top of that, the enormous strain on the environment of production is apparent.


The tobacco industry is trying to plant more trees, but since these trees are used to dry the tobacco, rolling and packaging them, concern for the environment is not present. Concern is not given to the pollutants put into our bodies, so is there concern for the pollutants put into the environment?

Impacts you never thought of.

The law of unintended consequences just keeps getting weirder and weirder. An environmental group in the UK is concerned that country′s ban on indoor smoking could impact energy usage. People are expected to flock to pubs that have outdoor patio heaters, to keep their fingers warm while they light up. A survey conducted by the Energy Saving Trust found that 31% of people who sit outside at pubs prefer them to have patio heaters, and the group expects the number of the energy-guzzling devices in the country to double over the next year. They are urging stores to stop selling them, pointing to their high carbon emissions, and suggest that people put on sweaters instead.