Are Electronic Cigarettes Harmful to Our Environment?
Cigarette makers have been pushed by environmentalists to cut down on artificial chemicals in their products for years now to aid in decreasing the potential harmful effects to both smokers and non-smokers. Over the years regulators have been agitated about second hand smoke, and bans have been passed for indoor smoking in several US states and other locations around the globe. People have the freedom to shop, work, eat out, among numerous other activities in many locations without having to worry about getting drowned with toxic second hand smoke because of the regulations. The US state of Oregon has even implemented a “10-foot” law where it is considered unlawful to smoke within 10-feet of entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes of workplaces or public places.
Despite efforts to replace conventional cigarettes and reduce exposure to toxic second hand smoke, conventional cigarettes still present a large problem. Cigarette filters, often referred to as “butts”, are often left behind by smokers. Estimates suggest that nearly 30% of all conventional cigarettes smoked will be discarded as litter covering our public and private spaces proving detrimental to our environment. The “butt” core of conventional cigarettes can take anywhere from 18 month to 10 years to decay. Some of the toxic chemicals that can be found within cigarette butt’s are cadmium, arsenic and lead which can slowly seep into the surrounding environment and consequently any organism which comes in contact with that environment. Furthermore, these cigarette butts if pushed into storm drains by rain can ride out to the ocean and release their harmful chemicals, and by eaten by birds, fish, or numerous other animals.
On the flip-side, e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes may aid in reducing the burden of toxic chemicals that could potentially come into contact with our environment. These gadgets utilize a very small amount of power to produce nicotine vapor, which is then inhaled by the user. Some of them come with different flavorings, while some are advertised as entirely free from nicotine.
The factors which make electronic cigarettes more eco-friendly when compared to conventional cigarettes is fairly obvious. They are reusable, they do not contain the same toxins, there is no left over filter, and toxic second hand smoke is not produced.
Although most electronic cigarettes do not produce smoke, there are some which do although it hasn’t been found whether there is a negative impact of this e-cigarette smoke to smokers. Presently the FDA found that there is not enough information on how much nicotine one may actually inhale during the use of an e-cigarette and thus has had a hard time measuring adverse effects. The same group has also expressed concern that these products may prove appealing to the younger crowd due to the different flavorings they offer users.
Many health professionals have reminded consumers to stay away from e-cigarettes, but some see there is also a good purpose to them beyond the environment. Many smokers attest that quitting smoking is pretty tough so there may be benefits to a product which can aid smokers in at least quitting the conventional cigarettes if not completely.
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