Butting Out is Better for you and for the Environment
January 1st, 2009:
Canada's Annual 'Smokeprint' Equates to 5,000 Tonnes of Pollutants
- Butting out is better for you and for the environment - TORONTO, April 29 /CNW/ - Awareness of the health risks associated with cigarette smoking are well known among Canadians but the serious ecological and toxic effects of smoking on the environment often go unnoticed. Each year, the 52 billion cigarettes smoked by five million Canadian smokers contribute almost 5,000 tonnes of pollutants into the atmosphere(1). One in five littered items is a cigarette, making cigarette butts the most littered item worldwide(2). Globally, approximately 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year(3). While it can take an estimated 25 years for a cigarette to biodegrade, there are debates over whether or not a cigarette filter can ever break down(2). "The harmful environmental effects caused by smoking are often overlooked when compared to the physical effects smoking has on human health," says Dr. Ted Boadway, health policy consultant and former policy director for the Ontario Medical Association. "Reducing or quitting smoking will help diminish the amount of cigarette butts that pollute our lakes and soil and threaten the quality of our air, water and food supply." The chemical emissions from cigarettes have been found comparable to pollutants released from industrial sources. Emissions from numerous chemicals found in cigarettes are higher than those from industries normally considered to be major polluters(1). Cigarette smoking also contaminates indoor air quality, with tobacco smoke being the most harmful and widespread pollutant of indoor air(4). Both the smoke inhaled by a smoker and second-hand smoke contain over 4,000 chemicals, including at least 50 that are known to cause cancer(5). Carbon monoxide, ammonia and arsenic, found in second-hand smoke, can also be found in a vehicle's exhaust system, window cleaning solution and rat poison(5). In addition to the smoke that is inhaled by a smoker, 90 per cent of the smoke from a cigarette is released into the air and creates second-hand smoke(2). Second-hand smoke contains at least twice the amount of nicotine and tar as the smoke inhaled by the smoker(6). More than 1,000 non-smokers will die this year in Canada alone as a result of second-hand smoke(7). "With over five million cigarette smokers in Canada, it's frightening to imagine the millions more affected that do not smoke. There are a multitude of resources available to smokers, including stop smoking aids, of which nicotine replacement therapies continue to be the cornerstone," adds Dr. Ted Boadway. "Quitting or reducing cigarette consumption can increase individual health and wellness as well as the health of others and the environment as a whole." Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as NICORETTE(R) gum, lozenges or the NICODERM(R) patch can be used as an aid to successfully quit smoking. For more information or helpful tips, visit www.nicorette.ca or www.nicoderm.ca. For McNeil Consumer Healthcare products: ---------------------------------------- NICORETTE(R) and NICODERM(R) are owned and marketed by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. McNeil Consumer Healthcare markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter (OTC) products around the globe. McNeil Consumer Healthcare Canada markets products in the adult and pediatric pain relief, allergy, gastro-intestinal and nicotine-replacement categories. << (1) Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. Available at http://www.smoke-free.ca. (2) Smoke-Free Calgary. Available at http://www.smokefreecalgary.com. (3) ButtsOut. Available at http://www.buttsout.net/litter_stats. (4) Clean Air Online. Available at http://www.ec.gc.ca/cleanair-airpur/. (5) Canadian Cancer Society. Available at http://www.cancer.ca. (6) Lung Association. Available at http://www.lung.ca. (7) Health Canada. Available at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca. >>
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