How smoking contributes to Air Pollution and affect the environment and our health

Different aspects of air pollution were discussed in this website. In this article we will see how tobacco smoking contributes to air pollution, basic components of cigarettes and what are the effects of smoking on human health and environment.

We have seen different aspects of smoking and the cigarette packets themselves come with a tag saying that it is injurious to health. But why is it said it is injurious to health only, it is injurious to the environment also. Let us see how and why.

Smoking vs Air pollution , Environment an Health

There are so many awareness programs conducted Worldwide against smoking. But the fact is that people are so reluctant to quit smoking. It is a kind of addiction for those who are used to it. They need it when they get tensed, when they are thinking deeply, when they are depressed and what not! People who smoke always find a reason not to quit.

What is air pollution?

The process of contaminating the air with different gases and particles is air pollution in simple words. Those who refer other articles relating to air pollution would find it very boring to read the same things again and again. So, for in depth data or information on air pollution, its causes and consequences, please refer:

Components of cigarette

It’s been a well aware fact that cigarette smoking is injurious to health but when a question is raised why it is injurious to health; most of us will answer that it is injurious because it contains tobacco. Let us see what else it contains. The main components of a cigarette are:

  • Tobacco
  • Chemical additives
  • Filter
  • Paper wrapping
  • Tipping paper
  • Additives

The chemical additives are the most dangerous among the above. It’s been learned that smokers get exposed to more than 7000 chemicals out of which 70 are worth causing cancer.

How smoking adds on to air pollution

 The term smoking itself tells us that smoke is released. Definitely the smoke released from cigarettes to the environment is contaminating the air around. More over the ashes that are the residue of the cigarettes tend to be the particulate matter in the air causing more contamination. It is considered to be more vulnerable than the smoke while air pollution is taken in to consideration.

According to the; cigarette smoke is 10 times more stronger air polluter than the smoke from diesel engines. They had even conducted experiments indoor and outdoor to prove this. This doesn’t mean that cigarettes are posing danger to air only. The butts littered after smoking, released lethal chemicals that dribble in to the soil and contaminate the soil as well as water causing soil pollution and water pollution.

It is been learned that 6 trillion cigarettes are being used Worldwide in a year. China ranks first in the consumption of cigarette a year. The statistics of 6 trillion is equal to that of 1000 cigars used by each person in the World. It is now easy to analyse the pollution caused by cigars. Doesn’t that count give you an effect that the World is a smoke oven? What will be the air like when these 6 trillion cigarettes get smoked at a time? It doesn’t make any difference that they are not being smoked together or in a year. All of the smoke, ash particulates, residue butts are being expelled to this same environment; killing the smokers and also the other non-smokers too.

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The cigarette smoke contains harmful smoke components such as carbon monoxide, Hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, acrolein etc. It also releases particulates like nicotine, phenol, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, that tend to get on hold in the air. The air pollution due to cigarettes or tobacco is not just limited to the smoke and particulates released. The farming of tobacco and the production process at the industries add on to the air pollution.

The production process of cigarettes releases high pollutants to the environment, adding to the air pollution.  The green house gases emitted during the farming of tobacco, by the machines also pollutes the air. The other processes involved in the production of tobacco are wilting, yellowing, dying, and drying. These requires distinct incinerators and firewood which carries out toxic elements to the atmosphere, making the air pollution even worse. The distribution, transportation, marketing and all other processes is adding on the air pollution.

The end result of tobacco starts from growing it to the cigarette buds littered around. Each step of these tobacco to cigarette are causing damage to the World and doesn’t help in any way.

Effects of smoking on environment

  1. Air Pollution: we have already discussed about this aspect above. Smoking causes air pollution in two ways. They are:
    through smoking: in simple words, smoking releases smoke to the atmosphere causing direct air pollution. This smoking produces ashes that remain in the atmosphere as particulates, causing air pollution.
    through production: as we all know cigarettes are made up of tobacco. And this tobacco while cultivating, creates green house gases from the machines used for cultivation, and also paves way for air pollution in the transportation, distribution and marketing.
  2. Land pollution: apart from the air pollution caused by smoking, littering of cigarette butts all over the land is another hectic headache that we face. The butts contain toxic chemicals, non-degradable substances and other harmful substances. When butts are littered around, they start discharging the chemical toxins around causing damage to the land. These butts will have nicotine content of tobacco and it is a sure shot that it will penetrate in to the soil and the plants tend to absorb them. So overall, it is creating pollution all around.  Read more about Land pollution
  3. Coast pollution: the cigarette butts that are littered aground has the chance of reaching the oceans through rivers. It has been learned that a single cigarette butt can contaminate more than 500 litres of water, so it doesn’t require an explanation as to how terrifying it will be when 6 trillion butts are being littered and reach oceans. The butts disposed off at the beaches are so enormous that the contamination known as coast pollution is so easily happening around us.
  4. Water pollution: the same butts are causing the terror of water pollution. A small rain can actually take off all the butts around to the river, lakes, ponds and to the oceans. Easy way of contaminating water is to just litter around the cigarette butts. How easy is to contaminate water or to cause water pollution. All the chemicals from these butts and nicotine easily combines with the water to give us water pollution. This contamination is even happening to the drinking water reservoirs that reach the human, which means even the non-smokers are easily affected by this. Read more about Water Pollution.
  5. Release of toxic waste: the production units of tobacco expel such a huge amount of the toxic waste which enables all kind of pollution to take place with in no time. Tobacco is a plant that needs high pesticides and fertilizers to grow thoroughly. Different kind of fertilizers like streptomycin, forum, mancozeb are being used widely on them. It is also found that cadmium and lead are present in the soil where tobacco grows.
  6. Deforestation and wildfires: tobacco cultivation is occupying million hectares of land due to the sensitivity of the plant, market of the cigarettes and also for curing tobacco. Tobacco is plant that requires lot of attention in the growing phase. It is more prone to pests and diseases. Thus, requires lot of fertilizers and pesticides. It needs more nutrients than other plants and absorb more from the soil, making the soil drained off and useless once the tobacco harvest is done. So, more and more trees and cut down for growing tobacco. The sale rates of cigarettes are going high every year and more land is required for its cultivation. Therefore, deforestation is also going to increase. The curing process of tobacco requires hectares of land. For this purpose, also deforestation is done at a very large scale.
    Wild fires are also on the rise due to the carelessly abandoned lit up cigarette buds. The highly inflammable plastic content in it helps in burning out a forest and killing the habitats inside.
  7. Adversity on marine life: we have seen that the cigarette butts cause coastal pollution as well as water pollution. Thus, it is a sure shot that it will affect the marine life also. Certain algae expires as soon as it gets exposed to the chemical releases from the cigarette butts. The other marine life that depends on these algae gets affected easily. And the most annoying fact is that, the fish that eats these algae are consumed by man and the net result is that the man is affected with the pollution causes by the butts.
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We were discussing about the effects of smoking on environment. The above are the main effects but not limited to these. There are many other effects on environment, directly pointing to the vast head pollution.

Effects of smoking on human health

The effects of smoking on human health are much worse than what we can imagine. It causes many diseases to man but it is so surprising why the smokers don’t quit smoking. There are n number of harmful effects on human but we are mentioning the main ones for your understanding:

  1. Passive smoking: it is the second-hand smoking which means the health hazards on the non-smokers.
  2. Cancer: the major after effect of smoking. From the beginning of the article, we are emphasising on the fact that smoking is injurious to health. The chemicals in the cigarettes triggers cancer in the body, mostly it is lung cancer but it has the capacity of activate any type of cancer in the human body.
  3. Heart disease: thinning of blood vessels is another after effect of smoking. Thinning of blood vessels limits the blood circulation from the heart to other parts and vice versa. This causes heart diseases or strokes.
  4. Lung diseases: it is very obvious to have lung diseases for a smoker. It is not just limited to lung cancer, any forms of lung diseases like asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema etc. any such thing can be developed in a smoker as well as a non-smoker.
  5. Diabetics: smokers have the chance more prone to Type 2 diabetics. The modern studies have proved that there is relation between diabetics and smoking.
  6. Auto-immune diseases: smoking compromises the natural immunity of the body there by flaring up many auto-immune diseases. There are many auto-immune diseases for which the cause is still unknown. But there is a fact that the chemicals expelled from cigarettes are worth causing any dangerous disease as the body reaction of each individual is different from that of the other.
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The death rate tolls due to smoking are more than 480000 in US, each year, which means one among five dies because of smoking. The surprising facts about smoking are:

  • Smoking causes majority of lungs cancer. The number of women die due to breast cancer is less than the number of women die because of lung cancer.
  • The total number of people who die of smoking are more than the total number of people who die of other diseases together.
  • More people die prematurely because of smoking than any other cause.
  • More than 80% of COPD diseases are due to smoking only, whereas less than 20% is due to other causes.
  • Lastly, the smoking puts you to the risk of death at any point. This risk increases day by day in a Country like United States, so as in all countries.

Whatever be the surprising facts, the smokers decide the destiny of Earth now. We were summing up the effects on human to highlight how shoddier the fact is. How will one be concerned about the environment when they are not concerned about own health and their loved one’s health.

In spite of the terrifying facts and studies, the smokers has the choice of saving our World!