“smoking by the numbers” or “it’s the little things that add up”

Our blogs usually look at the dangers of smoking, vaping and chewing tobacco from the standpoint of how it affects the user or how it affects those close to the user. This week I thought I’d just look at smoking from a slightly different angle.

According to www.tobaccoatlas.org, every year about 5,700,000,000,000 cigarettes are smoked (yes you read that right; five trillion, seven hundred billion). That’s about 15,616,438,356 smokes are consumed. That means every hour of every day 650,684,931 cigarettes are fired up. And since we’ve gone this far, we’ll go just a little farther, do the math, and realize that every second of every hour of every day, worldwide, 180,746 people take a puff off of a freshly lit cigarette.

About 82% of all cigarettes consumed are filtered. So every second of the day, about 148,212 cigarette filters are tossed in the trash…or the side of the road…or in a parking lot…or in the neighbor’s yard…or pretty much anywhere else you can imagine.

Each spent filter weighs just less than .12 ounces. About 8 butts equals 1 ounce, so a pound would be about 133.

That means that every second of every day, 1,114 pounds of spit covered, chemical laden non-biodegradable, spongy, little pieces of plastic are disposed of world wide. And every year that adds up to 35,131,104,000 pounds or 17,565,552 tons of cigarette butts finding their way into our environment.

And like I said above, they don’t biodegrade. The plastic left out in the elements just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it doesn’t disappear. Instead, it becomes a finer and finer dust that makes its way into the world supply of water and air. And yes, it becomes part of our food chain.

And I haven’t even discussed chew or vaping yet. We will look at what those do to the environment in future blogs. But for the moment, I guess the moral is, if we’d stop smoking, it would not only be good for the individuals who kick the habit, but it was be good for pretty much everyone and everything on our little planet.