The harmful effects of cigarettes on human health are numerous, but a new study has found that cigarettes also release harmful toxins into the environment.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have found that in addition to being one of the most common forms of litter, cigarette butts (or filters) also leak thousands of toxins and plastic fibers into the body. surrounding environment – and they are particularly toxic to aquatic larvae.
When researchers tested the impact of toxins in cigarette butts, before and after smoking, on aquatic mosquito larvae, they found that the presence of these chemicals resulted in a 20% higher mortality rate. Previous research also suggests that these toxins can harm the health of many other aquatic organisms.
“The filter is full of thousands of toxic chemicals and microplastic fibers, so it’s not just any piece of plastic that gets thrown into the environment. It is hazardous waste,” Bethanie Carney Almroth, a professor of ecotoxicology at the University of Gothenburg, said in a press release.
Mosquitoes play an important role in ecosystems as pollinators and food sources for other organisms. Mosquito larvae contribute to the aquatic food supply as food sources for aquatic animals, such as dragonfly larvae and fish.
The study also looked at the behavior of smokers in Gothenburg when it came to throwing away cigarette butts and found that many smokers threw them on the floor even though there were ashtrays nearby.
According to Study Finds, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts accumulate worldwide every year, but 65% of those butts never reach a trash can or ashtray. These butts can contain up to 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, and around 15,000 microplastic fibres.
Almroth is calling for a complete ban on cigarette butts as a solution to this problem, as she and other experts have posited that the filters are just a marketing plot that doesn’t actually protect smokers as they are led to. believe.
“That’s why they need to be taken off the market entirely,” Almroth said. “It’s not the right approach to focus on charging tobacco growers to clean the filters. The problem should be avoided in the first place, rather than cleaned up later.
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