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.
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 discovery.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.