Everyone knows that tobacco kills people. But not everyone stops to consider how tobacco also kills the planet. 

The threat that tobacco poses to the environment extends far beyond the 4.5 trillion butts littered worldwide every year. Butts that are non-biodegradable and toxic. Butts that leach poisons into water, land, animals, plants and babies. 

The process used to produce tobacco products also uses an enormous amount of precious environmental resources. Tobacco farming, manufacturing, distribution, transport and waste has contributed significantly to global deforestation, soil depletion, fossil fuel reliance, and greenhouse gases. 

No matter how you measure it, the scale of the tobacco industry’s carbon footprint is staggering. And all for a product that kills half the people who use it as directed. 

As bad as tobacco products are, electronic cigarettes pose an even more serious environmental threat. Primarily composed of plastics and electronics, not only do they use more energy and resources to manufacture, but they leach far more harmful chemicals than the average cigarette butt. Further, the entire e-cigarette is non-biodegradable. The majority are made to be disposable and their components—heavy metals, batteries, hard plastic, residual e-liquids—won’t degrade for hundreds to thousands of years. 

So if you smoke or vape and want to quit, you’ll be helping yourself AND the environment. Call the NYS Quitline 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487). 

For more info on the impact of e-cigs on the environment, visit Healthy UC Davis.
For more info on the tobacco industry’s impact on the environment, visit Truth Initiative