Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New findings: how tobacco harms both people and nature

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Jillian Castillo
Jillian Castillo
"Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate."

It’s common knowledge that consuming tobacco has enormous consequences. But new studies recently showed that tobacco is at least as harmful to the environment as to humans. In this article, we explain how toxic smoking is and what needs to be done to avoid harming nature.

Human and climate killer

Most people know how harmful smoking is for consumers. Smoking damages all organs and can be addictive after just a few cigarettes. Warnings on cigarette packets indicate that tobacco triggers various carcinomas as well as infertility and impotence and increases the risk of infant death. Tobacco smoke can trigger various cancers: from the lungs to the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity to the breast, intestine or bone marrow. Just one cigarette a day also increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Tobacco smoke actually contains 7000 chemical substances, of which at least 250 are harmful to health and 70 are carcinogenic. A few examples of the ingredients of a cigarette: naphthalene (active ingredient of mothballs), radon (radioactive gas), arsenic (poison), acetone (nail polish remover), cadmium (ingredient of car batteries), DDT (insect repellent) and ammonia (cleaning agent). The nicotine which it also contains is one of the strongest known poisons. 60 milligrams are enough to kill an adult which is equivalent to swallowing five cigarettes. For small children, one cigarette is already enough. Tar is formed when tobacco is burned and is deposited in the lungs and respiratory tract. One pack of cigarettes a day is equivalent to one cup of tar in the lungs after one year. When throwing them away, the chemical substances within the cigarettes enter the environment. But tobacco causes even more problems: the production and consumption of tobacco not only ends more than eight million lives each year, but also requires 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land and 22 billion tons of water. Every year, about 4.5 trillion cigarette filters end up in rivers and oceans as well as on sidewalks. At the same time, around 84 million tons of climate-damaging CO2 are released, as the WHO stated in its study “Tobacco: poisoning our planets.” This amount corresponds to the annual CO2 emissions of 17 million gasoline-powered cars. Further damage is also done to the wallets of all citizens, not just smokers: the disposal of discarded tobacco products is paid to a large extent by taxpayers’ money. Only in China, the disposal of tobacco products costs around 2.6 billion dollars a year.

Previous attempts to save the environment

Some attempts have already been made to protect the environment from the harmful stumps. Smoking has been banned in many public places over the last few years. In cinemas as well as in restaurants smoking is no longer allowed and, in the meantime, casinos followed these regulations as well. Even though cigarettes and cigars belong into an atmosphere like a casino, it is still a public place. Those who still want to smoke and gamble at the same time have to do so comfortably at home. Online casinos allow to have fun and do not impose restrictions such as dress codes and smoking bans. However, it is often difficult to find a suitable provider that can be considered as reputable. With the help of free comparison portals, casinos can be found that are safe, provide an extensive game selection and offer the best casino bonuses in Canada. This way, even inexperienced online players can quickly find a suitable gaming hall.

What else needs to change?

WHO is calling for countries and cities to make citizens and industries more responsible for eliminating tobacco products. Policymakers should also consider banning tobacco filters, as they contain microplastics and contribute heavily to plastic pollution, while there is no proven health benefit. Stricter rules for the disposal of tobacco products have already been implemented in some countries. In Germany, for example, anyone who throws a cigarette on the ground faces a fine of up to 120 euros, as this is considered an administrative offense. So-called unauthorized waste disposal can therefore be very expensive. In some cities, such as Cologne, there are extra investigators who watch out for such offenses and follow them up. However, these attempts are not sufficient enough to end pollution and more and stricter laws are required.

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