As I walked past a supermarket today, I saw a youn man stood outside smoking. I could smell the acrid stench from quite some distance away. It always amazes me why some people are stupid enough to want to subject themselves to an addictive and dangerous concoction of drugs which makes them, their clothing, and everything around them smell like an old ashtray.
What really annoys me about these stinky smokers though, is the way they just just dump their tab ends on the street after they’ve done with them. Isn’t littering supposed to be an offence? And if so.. why are these people not fined on the spot for their anti-social behaviour?
Apart from the huge amount of unsightly litter created by this habit, what really alarms me is that all the toxins which remain behind in discarded cigarette butts end up being washed into the drains and into our water system. Here is a list of the main toxins, all of which are cancer causing chemicals which are commonly found in cigarettes (sourced from Cancer Research UK):
- Tar – a mixture of dangerous chemicals
- Arsenic – used in wood preservatives
- Benzene – an industrial solvent, refined from crude oil
- Cadmium – used in batteries
- Formaldehyde – used in mortuaries and paint manufacturing
- Polonium-210 – a highly radioactive element
- Chromium – used to manufacture dye, paints and alloys
- 1,3-Butadiene – used in rubber manufacturing
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – a group of dangerous DNA-damaging chemicals
- Nitrosamines – another group of DNA-damaging chemicals
- Acrolein – formerly used as a chemical weapon
So if you’re a smoker, the next you have some litter to discard, please think again about where you put it!