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Ecological impact of cigarettes on the environment

Do you know what are the consequences and the ecological impact that cigarettes have on the environment ? Generally, it is above all the effects on health that are raised.

The list is long concerning the impacts caused by cigarettes. Lung infections, various cancers, complications of pregnancy… are among the diseases caused by smoking. However, these are not the only ones. Apart from human health, that of the planet is also particularly upset by this harmful product.

The impacts of cigarettes on ecology in figures

As soon as they are produced, the impacts of cigarettes are observed. A distinction is made between the need for increased toxic products, the high expenditure on water and deforestation. About 6 trillion cigarettes are produced in a year. 90% of the raw materials needed for this production are grown in underdeveloped countries.

Drying tobacco leaves requires 11 million tons of wood per year. This is equivalent to 5% of deforestation worldwide. Then, for each package of 15 packages of finished products, a tree is needed.

The combustion of the cigarette during its consumption is undoubtedly the most flagrant pollution. Indeed, the resulting smoke infects the air. Moreover, it represents 0.2% of greenhouse gases emitted worldwide. These figures represent 9 million tonnes of spilled CO 2 .

The same is true for discarded cigarette butts. Sanitation campaigns for beaches and public places are often organized internationally. After these events, it was observed that cigarettes make up about 40% of the waste.

A cigarette filter takes a long time to break down. Undoubtedly, a single piece takes 12 years to completely putrefy. According to statistics, cigarette leftover waste weighs 845,000 tons per year. These are all the cigarette butts collected in the sea and by land, which account for the 4.5 billion.

The impacts of cigarette production in terms of harmfulness

The impact of cigarettes begins as soon as tobacco is planted, which requires more treatment than other crops. This plant, for example, needs more potassium (6 times more) compared to wheat. As a result, soil quality deteriorates very quickly, hence the need to use different chemicals.

The pesticides used by tobacco growers are the most harmful on the market. Let’s mention methyl bromide, which is very dangerous for the ozone layer. Chlorpyrifos (CPF), known for its impacts on human health and imidacloprid, toxic to pollinators and insects.

The annual cultivation of tobacco in the United States represents 7% of the world’s cultivation, 13,000t of pesticides are spread. Based on their standard, it would take 185,000t minimum to satisfy the latter. However, it should be noted that the standards vary from one country to another.

According to studies on the components of cigarette smoke, it is composed of 172 toxic substances. 67 are known to be hazardous to health, 47 are harmful waste and 33 infect the air. 3 of them are even classified as serious pollutants according to international standards.

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ÉcoMégot is a French company, resulting from the social and solidarity economy, which offers an innovative, complete, local and tailor-made solution for raising awareness, creating zero butt spaces, collecting and recycling cigarette butts in all of France (Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bastia, Saint-Cloud, Monaco, Bordeaux, Pau ...). 

Our mission is to promote behavioral changes among citizens, employees and festival-goers with regard to cigarette butt pollution. We believe that the recycling of cigarette ends should serve the common awareness and thus create a virtuous circle carrying meaning.


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