It is well known that Tobacco is not good for your health, but few realize the impact it has on the environment.
Cigarette stubs are a major cause of human waste and since they take at least 2 years to decompose, they contaminate the environment for long periods of time. The nicotine in one cigarette can contaminate up to 50 liters of water, moreover, the tobacco industry destroys approximately 494,208 wood hectares each year. In Venezuela, it’s pretty common to visit one of numerous beaches and find hundreds of cigarette stubs in the sand, among the other garbage that the tourists leave behind.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in their Tobacco Atlas, Venezuela is the first country in Latin America and the fifteenth in the entire world in tobacco consumption; 40.5 percent of Venezuelans surveyed currently smoke. Authorities consider tobacco as the most dangerous drug; while cocaine and heroin are responsible for 300 deaths a year, cigarettes are responsible for 25,000. The irony is that there are no public policies or legislation aimed at solving this health and environmental issue. In fact, Venezuela is one of the countries with the lowest quit rates according to the WHO.
In addition to the few policies aimed to lower our smoker’s rate, there are no programs designed to protect passive smokers and the environment. Smoking is still permitted in closed areas such as bars, restaurants and other entertainment centers; in universities and other educational centers; as well as national parks and natural protected areas, where discarded lit cigarette stubs are a massive fire waiting to happen.
Tobacco increases the risk of cancer, lung and heart diseases and speeds ups the aging process. It’s causes bad breath, as well as other health and aesthetic issues. It also contaminates the environment, contributes to deforestation, and it’s responsible for the death of thousands of animals that drink contaminated waters or confuse cigarette stubs with food… Do you need more reasons to quit?
Quit smoking, the planet and the rest of us will appreciate it.