Smoking does harm to more than your lungs

Students can reduce effects of smoking on the environment by stamping out cigarettes in designated receptacles or by kicking the habit altogether.

Students can reduce effects of smoking on the environment by stamping out cigarettes in designated receptacles or by kicking the habit altogether.

While wandering through Main Campus, students can be bombarded with second-hand cigarette smoke — that is, if they’re not the ones lighting up in the first place. In addition to the negative health effects smoking can cause for students, the environment also suffers.

Laura Fanciullacci green

Smoking is primarily an environmental hazard because of its main ingredient — tobacco. The plant itself requires and absorbs about six times more potassium from the soil than a majority of other crops.

Often in developing nations, growing tobacco often depletes the soil, giving farmers no other choice but to clear the forests for more farmland. In addition to deforestation, nearly 600 million trees are felled and burned every year to just dry and cure the tobacco leaves.

And although most scientists agree cigarette smoke has a minor impact on the atmosphere, the air pollution generated from manufacturing cigarettes, as well as the significant loss of carbon-dioxide-absorbing trees, leaves about 22 million net tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, all of which could have been avoided.

According to, it is also estimated that about 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable filters are “deposited annually somewhere in the world,” many of which are frequently just tossed on the ground. These can take months, even years to break down, releasing many harmful chemicals as they do so.

Now the emergence of new so-called green cigarettes seem to be another case of green-washing, which is a term used to describe typically deceitful marketing techniques done by corporations to spin their products as eco-friendly. Even tobacco companies are doing it now to camouflage the negative health effects of smoking their cigarettes.

Cigarettes that claim to be eco-friendly are usually ones made with organic tobacco, promote smokeless tobacco or have green packaging. However, there’s no such thing as a green cigarette. Deforestation, non-sustainable growing techniques, pollution and littering will always be environmental problems associated with cigarettes.

Laura Fanciullacci can be reached at


  1. Smoking on campus really is outrageous.

    One reason we have an ugly campus is because smokers throw their butts everywhere, which is part the apathetic nature of Temple’s student body and part Temple Maintenance’s not making available enough butt collectors and not emptying them often enough.

    Another problem is that the City- and Temple-mandated “no smoking zones,” which are 25 feet radially from any door, are not enforced at all. This is evidenced by the west doors of Alter Hall, where there are disgusting piles of butts up against the stairs. Again — Temple students and smokers, especially, are too selfish and uncaring to even respect the brand new building and go smoke 25 feet away where there are butt collectors.

    One last annoyance is for us Regional Rail commuters — there’s always that one Temple smoker who’s just dying to smoke as soon as he or she gets off the train, proceeding to smoke all the way up Berks with dozens of people walking behind. Please, just be a little more considerate.

  2. This article should have taken into consideration. Many smokers are smoking e-cigarettes to avoid doing ANY harm to the environment.

  3. How can an article that is ostensibly about environmental concerns regarding tobacco not address the 450 or so pesticides registered for use on tobacco?
    How can it avoid the little problem of phosphate tobacco fertilizers that put cancer-causing PO-210 radiation into the cigarettes, and into the lungs of unwitting consumers who are told, and who believe, that they are just smoking tobacco?

    How can it ignore the dioxin-producing chlorine pesticide residues and the chlorine-bleached paper? Could it be that the reporter hasn’t heard of Agent Orange and Times Beach or Love Canal, or the existence of one Rachel Carson?

    How can articles that come off as being against the cigarette industry so regularly perpetrate the lie that the products are just tobacco, IF they are tobacco at all?

    The reporter also seems to have not seen even EPA material about how there is dioxin in cigarette smoke, that dioxin comes from industrial chlorine, and that dioxin is “unlikely in nature”…i.e, not in tobacco.
    And the writer also seems to have not checked to find that virtually all so-called “smoking related” diseases are identical to symptoms of dioxin exposure…and that many such diseases are unlikely or impossible to be caused by smoke from any plant, even “sinful” tobacco. Fetal damage, sperm loss, endocrine disruption, etc…from natural plant smoke? Not likely.

    Does the writer not know about the Govt Accountability Office condemnation of lax government oversight of pesticide residues on tobacco?
    (Google “GAO tobacco pesticides”) That report, by the way, pointed out that tobacco is the SIXTH most pesticide intensive crop.
    To be concerned about the environment, while ignoring that, reeks of corporate green-washing…perhaps prompted by relying too much on info from various chlorine/chemical/pharm interests, such as, perhaps, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or the like.

    Google up the term “Fauxbacco” for more. And also “Bill Drake Smoke and Illusion”. Anyone who believes that tobacco plants, or duped, secretly-poisoned smokers, are the problem…well…maybe it’s time to think again…before the Next Prohibition begins to fill the prisons, as happened with Reefer Madness—that other scientifically bogus, chem-industry-supporting war on natural plants.

    What exactly is “environmentalist” about condemning use of natural, traditionally-used, even medicinal, plants in the first place?
    Condemning Chlorine-Contaminated and Pesticide-Contaminated plants would be the valid enviro path.
    We are really talking about Pesticide Pegs, or Dioxin Dowels, or Radiation Rods. They are as far from just tobacco as you can get.

    The virtual psychopathic cruelty of beating up on the victims…is a topic for another time.

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