Although a high amount of smoking bans are taking place nationwide to reduce smoke exposure indoors, the bans are having little impact on the number of cigarette butts thrown on the streets. With around 19.3% of adults 18 and older smoking cigarettes, it is no wonder that cigarette butts make up one third of America’s litter. Not only that, but they also account for about 28 percent of trash which washes up on beaches worldwide.
4.5 Trillion Cigarette Butts Littered Each Year
Of course there is no upside to this information. With about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts littered around the world each year, it is no surprise that cities started raising taxes on cigarettes to cover the costs for the mess. San Francisco is just one city which has raised cigarette taxes 33 cents per pack in 2009 to cover the $11 million spent on cleaning up cigarette litter annually. Not only are we paying out of pocket for this pollution, but every living creature as well as the environment is also suffering.
Smoking alone causes 5 million deaths per year, and the sad part is that everyone is being affected – not just the smoker. The 7,000+ individual compounds in cigarettes, 70 of which being known cancer-causing substances, are being puffed into the air at alarming rates, causing massive health problems that affect the entire populations. The chemicals are also causing complications by being present in the water, with one study finding that a single cigarette butt in a quarter-gallon of water can kill a fish in just four days. In addition, the invisible gases and particles left behind from tobacco smoke, which is known as third-hand smoke, are also fueling sickness while receiving very little recognition.
And yet all of this is only a portion of the true cost of smoking. What many smokers may not realize is that they could be spending nearly $2190/year if smoking one pack a day. This cost does not include the 55 days given up each year, or the extra money paid out to various insurances.
By quitting smoking, you will be saving more lives and more of our planet than you know.