What are the Environmental Effects of Smoking?
While most smokers know that smoking is unhealthy, it can be difficult to stop. So when confronted by a nonsmoker or even their own conscience, they might get into a defensive stance. Surely cigarettes aren't illegal anyway, so there's no harm done. However, it has been seen there are several environmental effects of smoking.
Smoking is one habit that affects everyone in one way or another. So many are affected by secondhand smoking. This passive impact of smoking also affects our environment, including all the natural resources. The tobacco industry is harming the planet we live on, causing irreparable damage to ecosystems and pushing Earth towards a global cataclysm.
Several research findings show that smoking cigarettes maybe even worse than many people thought before. Let's learn in detail how smoking impacts the environment.
Environmental Effects of Smoking Due to Deforestation
There are many negative influences from the tobacco industry which few people know about. They might be vaguely aware that smoking contributes to global warming but would be surprised to find out just how much this entire industry affects ecosystems worldwide - especially in terms of wildlife habitats and biodiversity loss!
It has been estimated that 600 million trees are chopped down each year by the tobacco industry. For fifteen packs of cigarettes, one tree had to be sacrificed. This is one of the major reasons for the environmental effects of smoking in the form of acute deforestation. Another reason is that every hour, 4 miles of paper are used to wrap and package cigarettes alone.
Moreover, the tobacco industry is a major contributor to global warming. After all, it produces 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in one year - more than four times the amount an individual car produces! Shutting down their businesses equates to taking 16 million cars off our streets every single year.
When it comes to tobacco cultivation, it is a sensitive crop that requires a large area. Tobacco is a profitable crop, but it comes at too high a cost for the environment. Trees are cut down to cure tobacco, and this process depletes the Earth's natural resources. The 5 million hectares of fertile land that can be used for farming instead become infertile as more trees have been chopped away from their roots. These deadly environmental effects of smoking happen over time with every harvest cycle in mind.
Forest Fires due to Cigarettes
A carelessly discarded burning cigarette is powerful enough to burn a massive forest. Millions of dollars are lost each year because smokers don't dispose of their butts properly. This affects the wild flora and fauna.
Smoking also heavily contributes to fires that destroy natural habitats needlessly. Various animals may inhale smoke from the fire and suffer health issues.
Soil Contamination due to Tobacco Cultivation
The impact of cigarette waste on the environment is profound. The unsightly and lasting presence that these cigarettes leave behind not only takes up space in your home or office but also releases harmful chemicals!
The tobacco industry is known for its toxic waste, along with the serious environmental effects of smoking. Close to 2 billion kilograms of manufacturing-related wastes are produced by the industry each year. Besides, 210 million kilos worth of toxic chemical waste can poison other plants and bugs when put into the soil over time.
Heavy toxins and nicotine may actually end up in nearby soils. As a result, this makes thousands of hectares of fertile ground unusable due to an increased risk of infertility or cancer later down the line!
Some plants are also seen to be absorbing nicotine via soil while in the growing stage. They may also inhale nicotine from the air and can get equally contaminated from soil and water.
Use of Pesticides
Tobacco crops are hard to grow and may get ridden with diseases. Therefore, farmers need to use excessive fertilizers and pesticides for growth and maintenance. Naturally, tobacco has some pesticide and herbicide properties that affect the land in the long run.
The plant’s toxins contaminate soil and water. This makes these resources extremely poisonous for workers and people habiting these areas.
Air Pollution Due to Smoking
The environmental effects of smoking can be seen in the air as well. Secondhand smoke contains carbon dioxide, methane and other poisonous chemicals which cause air pollution through smoking. Although the gases themselves are not deadly to smokers in small doses, they can still add a lot to the air pollution.
Globally, smoking does emit about 2.6 billion kgs of carbon dioxide along with 5.2 kg of methane. Therefore, these numbers cannot really be ignored even when they are insignificant in comparison to other industrial pollutants.
Impact on Water Bodies
The concern over cigarette butts is likely to increase as they are becoming one of the biggest challenges with regards to littering. These environmental effects of smoking pose a risk to the availability of clean drinking water and groundwater. It's common for these smoking remnants to end up along shorelines or on wetland soils during heavy rains when stormwater washes them from the ground level.
Cigarette butts are a common waste matter found in oceans, and as such, can often lead to serious environmental damage. A laboratory study has shown that these cigarette butt particulates may also be a point source for heavy metal contamination, which could harm local organisms if left unchecked!
Impact of Smoking on Animals
Cigarette butts are not only toxic to humans but animals as well. Smoke inhalation is extremely harmful to pets at home, and they may also ingest discarded cigarette butts accidentally. Even Marine animals fall victim to cigarette pollution as it often lands into the ocean and resembles their food. Several scientists have also found cigarette butts in the stomachs of birds, dogs, cats, and fish. Once ingested, these remain in their system and may also affect their health.
Smokers have been consuming cigarettes for a long time now, and many think of them as just another unhealthy addiction. But in reality, smoking causes more harm than good by killing both human beings and Mother Earth alike with pollution from secondhand smoke! The environmental effects of smoking can no longer be ignored. We hope this information helped you understand why it's important to quit the habit to preserve your health while also preserving our environment.