Is Vaping Better for the Environment than Smoking?

Vaping vs smoking

Besides negatively impacting individual health, tobacco and nicotine also threatens the health of the environment. By failing to properly dispose of e-cigarettes and cigarette waste, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and residual nicotine can pollute water, air, and land. In addition, studies have shown that cigarette and e-cigarette waste harms wildlife.

But the question is which one is better for the environment, let’s find out! 

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Harmful effects of cigarettes to the environment

  • Runoff from cigarette butts leads to pollution in rivers, beaches, and oceans by flowing to drains.
  • Studies indicate that organic compounds (like nicotine, pesticide residues, and metal) seep from cigarette butts into aquatic ecosystems, causing acute toxicity for fish, bacteria, and other organisms. 
  • Tobacco butts can contaminate water with heavy metals, which can be harmful to local organisms. The fish in the waters and even the animals nearby can bee harmed due to the contaminants. 
  • Using roadside waste to examine the effects on soil, it has been found that patterns of hydrocarbon levels in the soil were similar to those of littered cigarette ends. According to this analysis, the chemicals in the soil had leached out of cigarette butts. Hydrocarbons such as those found in cigarettes are carcinogenic.

 

Growing, curing, and transporting tobacco uses a lot of chemicals and other toxic materials. In addition, the production process generates huge amounts of waste, including pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful.

As a result of industrial processing and cigarette smoking, there is a huge amount of air pollution in the atmosphere. The production process releases air pollutants in many ways, and second-hand smoke directly pollutes the air. From the moment the machines used in tobacco farms burn fossil fuels to produce energy, greenhouse gases are released.

 

Through smoking, second-hand smoke emits noxious gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and others that cause air pollution. While methane and carbon dioxide do not directly harm smokers, they contribute to general atmospheric pollution.

This clearly illustrates the contribution of smoking to climate change. Smoke from second-hand sources can also cause indirect health risks such as cancer in other people and animals.

 

Harmful effects of e-cigarettes and vapes to the environment

  • Lead and mercury can be found in both batteries and e-cigarette devices.
  • If damaged or overheated, lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes can explode and cause fires in garbage trucks and waste management plants. 
  • The nicotine salts and heavy metals in used liquid cartridges and refills can escape into soil and waterways, where they can be ingested by wildlife.

 

The waste from vapes includes disposables, pods or cartridges, e-liquid containers and packaging, and vape batteries. Plastic waste, hazardous waste, and electronic waste (e-waste) all combine to form vape waste, which is particularly harmful for the environment. The combined effects are very harmful.

Plastic waste is generated by vaping. Vaping devices and pods are made of plastic. Some plastic items can take hundreds of years to decompose - unlike organic materials, plastic does not biodegrade. Heavy metals and nicotine in the e-juice in the vape also make vape a toxic waste. The last part that makes vapes e-waste is their lithium-ion batteries and heating elements. 

By looking at the effects of vaping vs smoking, it can be concluded that both of them are equally harmful. Cigarettes excrete harmful chemicals into the environment that not only harm humans but the environment and other living beings. On the other hand, decomposition of vapes and their plastic components is poor. If they are not disposed off properly, they can harm the environment. Secondly, vapes create quite a lot of plastic waste. 

On the contrary, the rechargeable vapes create much less waste as compared to typical cigarettes. This is mainly because an average device may last for about six to seven months. Hence, as compared to disposable vapes, rechargeable ones last longer and create less waste when compared with typical cigarettes. 

We hope that this piece of information gives you an idea of the impacts of smoking and vaping to the environment and which one is better. If you vape then you must make sure that the components of the vapes are properly disposed of. This way, you will be able to prevent harm to the environment. 

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