Friday, 24 February 2012

The true costs of cigarettes

Cigarettes carry with them some serious health warnings, often plastered on the boxes in which they are held. But is it just our health we should be concerned about, or are there additional aspects we should consider when thinking of lighting up? Even though a pack of cigarettes may cost a couple of Pounds, the true cost of these tobacco products is much higher when you include the environmental price tag.

The major environmental concerns come down to the following impacts:

Monoculture - Forests and other indigenous vegetation types are cleared to make room for high-intensity tobacco plantations

Fertilising - Potassium used to feed the tobacco crops messes with the soil, and causes algal blooms in neighbouring water sources.

Pesticides - As many as 16 applications of pesticides are needed in a three-month period to keep diseases and pests at bay.

Chemicals - Toxic substances released from cigarettes leads to smog and acid rain.

Petroleum - Large amounts of fossil fuels are used in the production of cigarettes, ranging from farming machinery, to plastic production.

Mining - The aluminium foil used to line the inside of a cigarette box is often strip mined, which is a highly destructive process.

Trees - Millions of trees are chopped down every year to create enough paper to roll the tobacco in.

So, the next time you light up, think past the health concerns and start being cognisant of how the environment is being impacted too. Because even though a pack of 20 will not break the bank, it may well cost humanity a heck of a lot more!

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