Cigarette Butts Stay Toxic to the Environment Even After they are ExtinguishedVijayan Sankar (Author) Published Date : Feb 05, 2020 12:35 IST
Cigarettes are not only dangerous for smokers but also to mother earth: More than five trillion cigarette butts are produced worldwide annually. And all of them are not fully extinguished or disposed of properly. Since they are biodegradable, it causes ground pollution. It is apart from the 14 % of nicotine still emitting for more than 5 hours of them being extinguished. All these findings of smoking are not only killing smokers but also others, and mother earth is found by researchers in their study published in the International of Indoor Environment and Health and Science of the Total Environment journals.
Cigarette smoking so far has found to have effects on smokers and that of second-hand smoking or also known as passive smoking. The effects include
- Half the smokers are getting killed by it
- More than 8 million people die every year due to smoking
But due to second-hand smoking, 1.2 million innocent non-smokers, including children, die every year. They are exposed to more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, of which 70 can cause cancer.
Now, this new study has listed the ill-effects of third-hand smoking to smokers, non-smokers, and mother earth. The researchers found that in the first 24 hours after the smoker extinguishes the cigarette, the butt will produce 14 % of nicotine that a smoking cigarette will emit. The airborne emissions continue for many days, with only half of it gets reduced after five days. It is confirmed by the analysis of the FDA or the Food and Drug Administration of the US.
Dustin Poppendieck is an environmental engineer at the NIST or the National Insititute of Standards and Technology in the US. Dustin says that it was surprising that even the extinguished cigarette butt in the car emits chemicals and exposure is happening to the inmates, including children, and it applies to closed rooms also.
Dustin and the research team placed 2,100 recently extinguished cigarettes inside a walk-in chamber. All these 2,100 cigarettes were smoked by robots similarly to that of humans. The team measured for some common chemicals that are emitted by cigarettes from the sealed room of the 2,100 extinguished cigarette butts.
They concluded that five days of emission of nicotine mass of the extinguished cigarettes is equal to that of smoking a cigarette. In other words, some non-smoker who is exposed to extinguished cigarette butt for five days will have the ill effects of smoking one cigarette.
Cigarette Butts Stay Toxic to the Environment Even After they are Extinguished