Effects on the Environment
When smokers light a cigarette, all the dangerous components not only go in the smokers’ body but also spread in the air. In 1993, the Environmental Protection Agency declared environmental tobacco smoke a known human carcinogen which causes cancer.
It was classified as an environmental toxin equivalent to asbestos and other hazardous substances. The EPA reports that respiratory health effects of environmental passive smoking equals lung cancer and other disorders.
Pollution & Cigarette Butts
Cigarette smokers also cause pollution in the air. The cigarette smoke has a big consequence in global warming. Cigarette butts make our environment appear dirtier. Chances are you will encounter a couples cigarette butts as you walk around. Several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, "each year
more than 1 billion pieces of litter will accumulate on Texas highways.
Of those, 13 percent are cigarette butts. That means 130 million butts
will be tossed out in Texas alone this year."
The cigarette butts on the floor is not the only problem. Butts get washed into storm drains and straight into the water system when strong rains occure.
Did You Know?
- Smokers discard BILLIONS of cigarette butts each year.
A large percent of cigarette butts are “tossed” directly into the environment.
- Cigarette butts accumulate outside of buildings, in parking lots
and on streets where they can be transported through our storm drains
into our streams and rivers.
- Cigarette filters look like cotton, but are made of cellulose acetate,
a plastic that is slow to degrade in the environment.
A pack and a half a day equals more than 10,000 cigarettes a year. 10,000 cigarette butts is equivalent, in volume, to five liters.
Nicotine is a powerful insecticide and, in its pure form, among the deadliest of all plant products.
Tobacco residue, along with the toxic chemicals left in cigarette filters that are tossed as butts, quickly leach into our water supply.
Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter on earth.
Cigarette butts harm our environment.
Smokers who Drop their Butts Actually Think:
- They are biodegradable.
Myth - Cigarette butts are not biodegradable.They are made from Cellulose Acetate; which takes years to break down, but it never fully biodegrades.
- It is harmless; it is just a little butt.
Myth - You are not the only smoker to throw your cigarette butt.
- Everybody else does it.
This is not a good excuse.
Lit cigarettes are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. In 2001, 31,200 fires took place because of unattended cigarettes resulting into over 830 deaths and thousands of injuries. These fires have cost the government over $386 million (according to the National Fire Protection Association).
The tobacco companies in the U.S. have developed cigarettes that are self-extinguishing and that are consequently less likely to cause fires, but have refused to voluntarily use this technology in all cigarettes they sell. As a result of this, three states, New York, Vermont and California, have passed laws setting cigarette fire-safety standards that require the tobacco companies to use this technology. The number of fires, since this law has been put into effect, in these three states has decreased thus causing fewer deaths in result of these fires (dropped by one third in the state of New York). New Hampshire and other states have decided to follow those three states and put in place similar laws