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11 Ways You Didn't Realize Smoking Damages The Earth

You're hurting way more than yourself. Visit THE FACTS NOW to learn the truth about tobacco.

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1. Cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable...

Not only does tobacco include many unnatural additives, but the acetate filter of a cigarette takes as long as 10 years to decompose because it's a plastic.

Not only does tobacco include many unnatural additives, but the acetate filter of a cigarette takes as long as 10 years to decompose because it's a plastic.

2. ...and it's estimated the world litters 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts per year.

And those butts contain up to 845,000 tons of non-biodegradable acetate.

And those butts contain up to 845,000 tons of non-biodegradable acetate.

3. Cigarette butts endanger wildlife.

Butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles, and other forms of marine life. They leach toxic chemical and create choking hazards.

Butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles, and other forms of marine life. They leach toxic chemical and create choking hazards.

4. And they're the number-one polluter of beaches.

They wash up on beaches after moving through the water cycle — from sidewalk, to gutter, to sewer, to ocean, to beach. Cigarette butts alone account for 19% of beach litter globally.

They wash up on beaches after moving through the water cycle — from sidewalk, to gutter, to sewer, to ocean, to beach. Cigarette butts alone account for 19% of beach litter globally.

5. Cleaning up cigarette litter costs taxpayers millions.

Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually in California alone — a state that contains only a tiny percentage of the world's cigarette litter. This money could be spent beautifying public parks, beaches, and other spaces.

Tens of millions of dollars are spent annually in California alone — a state that contains only a tiny percentage of the world's cigarette litter. This money could be spent beautifying public parks, beaches, and other spaces.

6. Discarded cigarettes start fires. Lots of fires.

An estimated 90,000 smoking-related fires occurred in the U.S. in 2011, resulting in approximately 540 deaths, 1,640 injuries, and $621 million in damages. And these numbers tend to be similar EACH YEAR.

An estimated 90,000 smoking-related fires occurred in the U.S. in 2011, resulting in approximately 540 deaths, 1,640 injuries, and $621 million in damages. And these numbers tend to be similar EACH YEAR.

7. Cigarette production creates millions of tons of waste each year.

Nearly 2.5 million tons of manufacturing waste, including 230,000 tons of chemical waste, to be exact.

8. Cigarette smoking produces carbon emissions equal to that of roughly 4 million cars annually.

FOUR MILLION CARS. If we ended cigarette smoking, it would take about 16 million metric tons of pollutants out of the air each year.*

FOUR MILLION CARS. If we ended cigarette smoking, it would take about 16 million metric tons of pollutants out of the air each year.*

9. Every year, 200,000 hectares of land — which could include as many as six hundred million trees — are cleared to support tobacco production.

That would be up to 1.5 million dead trees per day. And that doesn't even account for the paper costs of marketing and packaging.

That would be up to 1.5 million dead trees per day. And that doesn't even account for the paper costs of marketing and packaging.

10. And this contributes to deforestation, a major global environmental problem.

The deforestation, at a rate of 200 million acres per year, is occurring in some of the world's poorest countries — countries that need the land to grow food.

The deforestation, at a rate of 200 million acres per year, is occurring in some of the world's poorest countries — countries that need the land to grow food.

11. The growth of tobacco is contributing to world hunger.

Tobacco damages land, requires more pesticide, more trees, and more labor to grow and cure. And when land is used for tobacco instead of food in the world's poorest counrties, people go hungry.†

Tobacco damages land, requires more pesticide, more trees, and more labor to grow and cure. And when land is used for tobacco instead of food in the world's poorest counrties, people go hungry.†

Visit THE FACTS NOW to learn more about how tobacco hurts you and the environment.

All images via Thinkstock.

*Proctor, RN. (2011) Golden holocaust: Origins of the cigarette catastrophe and the case for abolition,
Los Angeles and Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, page 492

†Madeley, John. (1999) Big Business Poor Peoples; The Impact of Transnational Corporations on the World's Poor, Zed Books, pages 53, 57