Commercial Tobacco Pollution


Commercial tobacco products have devastating impacts on the environment. Cigarette butts, which are made of a type of plastic called cellulose acetate, are the most-littered objects in the world, leaving 4.5 trillion butts to pollute sidewalks, parks, and eventually waterways and oceans. E-cigarettes contain toxic nicotine and batteries that can catch fire and explode, and the plastic in e-cigarettes is nearly always unrecyclable. Growing and manufacturing tobacco for commercial tobacco products causes significant deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem destruction, water pollution, and air pollution. Communities and policymakers do have options when drafting or implementing laws to control or eliminate this pollution, which can include sales restrictions, tobacco retailer density reduction, and the local regulation of e-cigarettes as hazardous materials.