The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

June 5, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quit using tobacco, clean up the earth

Since the Surgeon General’s first report on the detrimental hazards of smoking in 1964, great strides have been taken in the realm of public health to end the epidemic cigarettes hold on our society. Still, an unnecessary 20.8 million premature deaths have occurred in the 50 years since due to direct smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Though the health concern is evident, another challenge is added: how cigarettes effect the environment.

Today is World Environment Day, a day established and celebrated by the United Nations to ensure a lasting, healthy environment for future generations. The endeavor is known for its passion in creating widespread changes in the way in which people live, work, and play — all in a keen effort to increase the health of our environment.

Cigarettes are the epitomical nemesis. And, here’s why …

  • An estimated one in three cigarette butts is disposed of improperly, littered.
  • 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts pollute our planet’s forests, streams and oceans.
  • Within an hour upon contact with water, cigarette butts leach threatening chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead.
  • For every 300 cigarettes produced, a tree is wasted to produce the paper for the rolled cigarettes and its accompanying packaging.
  • Cigarettes butts are detrimental to wildlife — having been found in the digestive systems of fish, birds and other animals — often causing death.
  • Lit cigarettes cause over 90,000 fires every year in the United States.
  • And, despite popular belief, cigarettes are not biodegradable, taking up to 12 years to break down.

The problem is immense. But, the solution is easy. Quit using tobacco.

For more information and free resources to help quit using tobacco, contact the Southern Coalfields Tobacco Prevention Network (SCTPN) at 304-913-4956 or e-mail travis@strongcommunities. org.

Travis Helmondollar

SCTPN director


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Our Readers Speak