Are E-Cigarettes More Environmentally Friendly Than Cigarettes?

In the last decade the public has had an awakening to the impact they have on the planet. Each of us has a carbon footprint, and for some people they want to reduce theirs as much as possible.


Products that are eco-friendly (recyclable, carbon neutral and friendly to the environment) are now much more important. It might not surprise you to learn though that cigarettes are not counted as eco-friendly... in any way.


Today we look at how much the cigarette industry effects the environment and see if we finally have an environmentally-conscious alternative to smoking.


Cigarette Filter's Long Lifespan

A huge percentage of cigarette tips and filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate. Cellulose acetate is used in bags, playing cards and nappies. Anything you don't want to break down easily. This type of plastic isn't biodegradable, it's difficult to recycle and generally a pain. This means that the filters will stick around for years to come before they start degrade.


This is a big problem as filters are full of leftover toxins from the cigarette, and can leak out.


Many smokers though think nothing of flicking away their cigarette butts, and this has consequences.


Firstly the butts cost a lot to clean up, especially in busy urban centres where they are everywhere. In fact cigarette butts are the most commonly collected waste item, making up almost 30% of all litter picked up. The filters can be harmful to children and pets (and make an area look run-down and dirty).


Secondly a lot of cigarette butts are washed away into the drainage systems, and end up in the ocean. This causes enormous damage to marine life due to the toxins. In an one experiment designed to test how bad cigarette butts were they found that just one butt left in with five fish can kill half of them! They also effect the water quality, as those toxins leak into the water and spread.


Even if you throw your butts into a bin, they just end up in the landfill. Over time the same toxins can work their way from the landfill into the water table and spread.


That is the beauty of e-cigarettes, they leave no waste which will pollute the environment. Although you need to throw away refills after you use them, they won't leak toxins that will kill wildlife. After all they only contain Nicotine, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine and flavourings.


As most people only use 1 refill a day rather than 20 cigarettes (and so 20 cigarette butts) you are cutting down on littering and stopping the spread of toxins in the water, just by making the switch!


The Production of Cigarettes

Tobacco's a great cash crop, and many farmers grow it exclusively. And as there is a constant demand for tobacco most farmers will rarely change crop. This means over time all the pests that love tobacco migrate to the tobacco fields, and start eating.


To stop this tobacco farmers use pesticides, which can have a disastrous effect on the environment and the wild life. Its effect spread for miles around, including destroying bee populations.


But it isn't just the poor bees effected though, every year  1-5 million cases are reported of people poisoned by pesticides!  Millions of people who work on the farms and even people who are just living downriver are affected, and in some cases it can be fatal.


To even get to that point though you need the space to grow tobacco. Tobacco companies and farmers are cutting down at least 200,000 Hectare's of forest every year. That is almost 50,000 football pitches every 12 months!


The tobacco industry has been doing this for decades though, and the impact on the environment has been huge. Massive swaths of land ripped up and converted to farms, which leads to more pesticides, and the cycle continues.


If you compare this to e-cigarettes, the difference becomes even clearer. We only use 4 ingredients in our liquids, which are made in the UK and are pharmaceutically tested. There are very clear cut rules on how they are made and how any excess is dealt with.


With the recent drive to reduce waste and to create a cleaner environment by the UK government the pharmaceutical industry has come under even more stringent regulations, to make sure that they produce the required ingredients without waste or dangerous by-products. None of which can be said about cigarettes.


Chemicals In The Air

Cigarettes though don't just poison the world through filters or growing techniques, just using them is bad for the environment.


There’s a reason the government banned smoking in indoor public spaces, the smoke is just full of toxins. We all know how bad smoke is for you, so imagine how much damage the same chemicals are doing to our environment? Those who smoke outdoors are blowing these harmful chemicals into the air, and this has been going on for years. 


One person's smoke is inconsequential, but when you consider that there are millions of smokers, and so millions of cigarettes are smoked daily, it starts to add up.


On the other hand, studies have found that the vapour from electronic cigarettes evaporates much faster than the smoke from cigarettes and has none of the chemicals which cause damage.


E-cigarettes themselves are becoming more recyclable every year as well. The batteries inside electronic cigarettes are fully rechargeable, which means the device itself can last for a long time if it’s cleaned and maintained regularly. As long as vapers dispose of their rechargeable batteries in the recommended way (at a battery recycling station, which are now available in most supermarkets and large shops), they’re far better for the environment than combustible cigarettes.


So if you are still smoking and are looking for a way to not only make yourself but the world around you a bit healthier check out the Smoko Starter Kits and make the switch today!


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