Hot Topic

Cigarettes + Environment = Disaster

It’s all about pesticides, warm gasses, and smelly butts

Cigarettes kill thousands of people worldwide every day...

Millions each year -- and increase the odds of animals getting cancer. 

But it’s not just our bodies and our furry friends that are at stake. The production, use and disposal of cigarettes causes significant harm to the world around us. 

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Farming tobacco requires a LOT of pesticides

About 27 million pounds per year in the United States alone. Which means that on the list of plants that require the most pesticides, tobacco ranks sixth. It turns out that tobacco isn’t exactly the easiest plant to grow, so farmers douse it in pesticides, herbicides and fungicides -- fancy words for chemicals that are toxic to plants and destroy unwanted fungus and vegetation -- throughout its entire growing season.

And those fancy, toxic chemicals aren’t just going into the bodies of tobacco smokers. They can harm animals, farmers and field workers, neighboring crops and even the ozone. Yikes.

Even worse? It isn’t just the volume of pesticides that makes farming tobacco harmful to the environment. The chemicals used are some of the most dangerous in the United States.

Double. Yikes.

Big Tobacco accounts for the chopping down of around 600 million trees every. single. year.

Between clearing land to plant tobacco fields -- which are still on the rise -- providing fuel to cure (or dry) the tobacco plants, and gathering the materials to make filters and rolling papers, tobacco products (and their makers) contribute heavily to deforestation.

Deforestation is basically describing the clearing of Earth’s trees -- or forests. The consequences of deforestation are massive: flooding, poor soil quality (so, less crop growth potential), animals and plants losing their habitats, a disruption in the water cycle and increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

...that’s a mouthful.

But pretty much what people mean when they talk about “increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide” is hot, yucky natural gasses getting trapped in the atmosphere, warming the earth -- aka climate change, which is the cause of a whole range of problems.

So. More tobacco = less trees = warm gasses just heatin’ up the Earth. No thanks!

Cigarette butts are the most littered item ON EARTH

That beats out: food wrappers and containers. Bottles. Plastic bags. Cups and cans. And -- well, everything. It’s estimated that at least 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year.

Every year!

And cigarette butts also aren’t biodegradable. Which means they don’t fully break down once they’ve been tossed. Those stinky butts contain dozens of known poisons, leaving the soil and water around us vulnerable to their toxicity. But don’t worry. That’s only IF the butts are left littered for long enough to partially decompose. The alternative? Getting picked up in the mouth of an animal or small child -- which, sadly, happens.

Tobacco makes our planet sick!

Between the pesticides, contributions to deforestation, and the serious problem of littered cigarette buts, WE HAVEN’T EVEN SCRATCHED THE SURFACE of tobacco’s harm to the environment.

Which is pretty hard to believe. But there are countless other ways that smoking negatively impacts the environment. Secondhand smoke contamination, fires and food production are just a few -- did you know that we could feed 10 to 20 million hungry people if we used the land that currently grows tobacco?

So. While we’ve all got to treat our bodies, our friends, and our pets with respect -- we’ve also got to respect our environment. And to do that, we’ve GOT to end smoking and #FinishIT for good.

Sign up to help us be the generation to finish smoking and end tobacco use for good.

 

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