Is Vaping a Greener Option than Traditional Smoking?
It’s no secret that the cigarette industry has a significant carbon footprint. The production of a single cigarette using 3.7 litres of water and 3.5g of oil; cigarette production causes 0.2% of global carbon emissions. While 0.2% may not sound like much, that’s more than what the entire country of Greece produces.
In recent years, vaping has grown in popularity as a successful smoking cessation method and even as a hobby. But is vaping any better for the environment than smoking? Here’s a closer look at some of the ways both smoking and vaping impact the planet.
Environmental Impact of Smoking
Smoking traditional cigarettes has a substantial negative impact on the environment. The production of tobacco involves deforestation, as vast areas of land are cleared for cultivating tobacco plants. Additionally, the manufacturing process requires large quantities of water and energy, contributing to pollution and resource depletion.
One of the most significant environmental concerns associated with smoking is air pollution. Cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals and particulate matter that not only harm the smoker but also pose a threat to those in the vicinity. In fact, secondhand smoke makes nearby non-smokers more likely to suffer from lung cancer, heart disease, and other health issues associated with smoking.
Furthermore, cigarette butts, which are often discarded irresponsibly, are a significant source of litter. These non-biodegradable filters contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the soil and water, posing risks to wildlife and ecosystems. The cleanup and disposal of cigarette waste incur additional costs and contribute to environmental degradation.
Environmental Impact of Vaping
Vaping, as a relatively new technology, has been marketed as a greener alternative to smoking. While it certainly has the potential to be more environmentally sustainable than cigarette smoking, vaping’s eco credentials rely on the decisions that manufacturers and consumers make.
One of the ways in which vaping is superior to smoking for the environment is its lower impact on air quality. Vaping devices produce vapour rather than smoke, which reduces the emission of harmful gases and particulate matter. Moreover, the production of vaping products uses far less water than cultivating tobacco and manufacturing cigarettes.
However, at present, vaping generates significant amounts of waste in the form of disposable e-cigarette cartridges or pods, batteries, packaging, and other accessories. These components require proper disposal to avoid environmental harm and therefore should be taken to dedicated vape recycling centres or collected at your vape shop. Unfortunately, many disposable vape users throw their used e-cigarettes in the regular bin or leave them as litter. This causes damage to the natural world due to the hazardous chemicals in the batteries and due to non-biodegradable plastic.
As an industry, vaping still has a large carbon footprint resulting from the manufacturing and transport of vape products. In terms of sustainability there’s still a way to go, although it’s good to see that some vape manufacturers are already taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their products by using biodegradable materials and reducing the use of plastic packaging.
Vaping With The Planet In Mind
It’s clear that even though vaping tends to boast greener credentials than traditional cigarettes, there’s still more to be done in terms of making vaping environmentally sustainable. For this reason, it’s important for vaping consumers, retailers, and manufacturers to do what they can to be more eco-friendly.
Vaping consumers can:
- Choose more eco-friendly vape products by brands that are taking steps to go green
- Choose to purchase vape products from UK retailers like Vaping 101 and buy in bulk to reduce carbon emissions from transport
- Switch from disposable vapes to reusable vape kits to cut down on waste
- Collect old vape products and take them to a vape shop or recycling centre
Vape retailers can:
- Stock eco-friendly and carbon neutral products
- Reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging that products are shipped to customers in
- Use electric vehicles for transport and use renewable energy sources to run their stores
Vape manufacturers can:
- Prioritise environmentally sustainable materials and manufacturing practices
- Use recycled materials in their products and packaging
- Use clean energy sources and energy-efficient practices throughout production of their products
- Design products that can be easily disassembled for safe disposal
By working together, vapers, retailers, and manufacturers can all promote a greener, better future for the planet.