• Cigarette butts or filters are the most common form of litter in westernised countries. It is estimated 4.5 trillion end up as litter on our streets not including discarded packs and their cellophane wrappers.

    Smoked it bin it

    Keep your butt of the street.

    Cigarette filters are not biodegradable as cellulose acetate, a form of plastic is one of the components that make up the butt and never breaks down. A high number of these filters which contain hundreds of harmful chemicals are swept into the water system were the poisons leak out. Carelessly discarded cigarette butts are also the main cause of house and forest fires the world over. We only have to look at the huge forest fires outside Los Angeles in May 2007 to show the needless destruction of natural parkland around the famous Hollywood sign due to a single discarded cigarette butt.

    Fish, birds, animals and even children have been known to eat these filters inadvertently causing blocked digestive and excretory systems, poisoning and even death, all are which are preventable if the filters were deposited responsibly in ashtrays by the smoker, instead of discarded on the ground.

    The tobacco industry could also implement steps to minimise the effects of discarded filters on the environment from printing ‘Do not litter’ slogans on packs or even on the cigarette itself. This can be done in words or pictures as on most confectionary items.

    The tobacco industry could also invest some of their huge cash profits into a program of supplying ‘personal ashtrays’ with every pack of cigarettes or sell them as they do lighters or even build into the design of a lighter a holder for cigarette filters.

    Unfortunately the tobacco industry seems to think the best course of action is to maintain a low profile while working to exempt cigarettes from coverage of pending litter control legislation. It believes the courtesy should be limited to the smoking of, rather than the disposal of tobacco products and by backing any fees or taxes to help clean up cigarette litter, they would be buying into the social cost argument against smoking.

    cigarette street litter

    Although a ‘no-litter’ campaign might be useful to tobacco companies, they would never be implemented before comprehensive cost/benefit analysis had taken place. It is obvious the tobacco industry cares little for the environment against their bottom line. However, governments and public opinion could open the eyes of these corporations and hit them were it hurts if anti- littering laws were upheld and the tobacco industry were to foot the bill for cleaning up our streets and water supply.

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-LewTyGEeY

    The medical and scientific evidence of tobacco smoking is widely known as a major cause of cancer and premature death. However what is not publicized is the effect the tobacco industry has on the earth’s protective ozone layer.

    In the farming of tobacco, Methyl Bromide is used to fumigate soil. This gas is odourless, highly toxic and kills all living organisms. Over 5.5 million pounds of the substance is applied annually to tobacco crops. The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as one of the most lethal of acutely toxic pesticides. Those who come into contact with it can suffer poisoning, neurological damage and reproductive harm.  It also destroys the ozone layer. The depletion of the ozone layer leads to more global warning, increased skin cancer and eye cataracts from UV-B radiation. Couple this with the amount of chemical laden smoke released daily into the air and forest fires caused by carelessly deposited cigarette filters and vicious cycle starts to appear.

    Over 450 pesticide products are registered in the USA alone for the use on tobacco crops. Approximately 90% of American-style tobacco is now grown by farmers in 78 countries outside of the USA and the US are now the largest importer of tobacco. This has had a huge effect on small farming, family communities throughout the US. The majority of these small farms have long gone after being sold to large companies. Some 500,000 existed in the 1950’s, today around 85,000 struggle for survival. The tobacco companies blame the reduction of domestic tobacco demands on the decline of cigarette sales. However this 4-5% reduction does not compare to the 35% reduction in purchasing home grown tobacco.

    Developing countries now produce the majority of American style tobacco. The crops are grown on small independent farms, under strict contracts with the corporations, which provide all inputs through a carefully controlled system of loans and credits. The tobacco companies provide credit for the farmers to build drying sheds to cure the tobacco leaf after harvest. This debt can take many years to repay and during this period farmers are also buying seeds, fertilizers and pesticides from the company increasing the debt burden.

    Farmers are paid for the crop according to the quality of the harvest. In years of drought and other extreme weather conditions that seem to be more prevalent every year, crops can be destroyed forcing the farmers into selling the farm to pay back debts to the corporation and moving to the cities and favelas.

    Ironically the amount of land currently used to grow tobacco worldwide could instead be used to feed 10 to 20 million people. When good farmland is diverted to grow tobacco crops, governments may find themselves facing local food shortages and bearing the additional cost of importing food.

    To ensure the continues high profit margins tobacco companies ruthlessly pursue, millions of pounds of toxic chemicals are used on millions of acres of land worldwide, land that could be or was once used to grow food. The global epidemic of the tobacco industry not only endangers smokers, it also threatens tobacco farmers and their families, pollutes the air we breathe, destroys insects and micro organisms at the bottom of the food chain, depletes the ozone layer that protects us, contaminates soil and poisons the water supply. We all should question the sustainability and sanity of the tobacco industry.

    Click here For more information about cigarette litter and the environment.

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  • Amongst Brazilian tobacco farmers, suicide rates are seven times higher then the average suicide rate reported for the rest of the country. These deaths coincide with the seeding and harvesting of tobacco plants. Many of the suicides were suffering from acute neurological imbalances. Organophosphate pesticides can result in psychological depression. Tobacco farmers use this pestercide. Any connection?

    The Brazilian Ministry of Health made changes to the pesticide labelling. The new labels for highly dangerous chemicals now resemble those of less toxic products. These changes took place after the agrochemical industry applied pressure on the government. However, most farmers are illiterate and protective clothing and storage facilities are expensive. Chemicals are often stored in a house or dwelling exposing children, pregnant women and the elderly to pesticide poisoning.

    The tobacco industry have investigated and patented many technologies that reduce substances in cigarette smoke that cause cancer, heart disease and emphysema. These include ‘Eclipse’, ‘Premier’ – FDA regulated devise could be used to smoke crack, and ‘Accord’ – a specially constructed cigarette and lighter. Most of these devices have been withdrawn or never implemented.

    Using advanced biotechnology, tobacco crops have now been engineered and grown to contain higher levels of nicotine. These crops fit the legal definition of a drug. In 1968 Dr David Owen tried to introduce nicotine to the Medicines Act (Pharmaceutical regulations) and proposed that tobacco as such a substance the act should control cigarettes. However the plans were dropped after ministerial reshuffles within the UK government.

    This consequently sees cigarettes being exempt from regulations that apply to pharmaceutical nicotine products. There by, tobacco products have a nicotine maintenance monopoly for nicotine addiction.

    Death Rates

    The death rate to cigarette related diseases in the UK is 120,000 p.a. That is a town the size of Norwich or Chester. In the past 40 years over 5 million people have died from smoking related diseases. That is 12 times more than in World War II.

    Smoking related deaths are 6 times higher in the UK than road accidents, murder/manslaughter, poisoning, suicide, overdoses and HIV put together.

    To put it into context, cocaine is an illegal class ‘A’ drug and is attributed to 140 deaths in the UK per year. Meanwhile the use of mobile telephones while driving was made illegal in the UK in 2004, 20 deaths in the last 5 years are linked to this practise. You have to ask yourself why can anyone from sixteen year old legally buy cigarettes?

    China now has the largest death rate from smoking of any country overtaking the USA. A third of all men will die if current habits persist.

     1 million smoking related deaths in China in 2000

    2 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2025

    3 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2050 (8000 per day)

    Cigarette consumption in China has risen from 100 billion cigarettes in the early 50’s to over 1,800 billion today.

    Find more information about smoking in China here.

     

     Worldwide deaths from smoking –

    4 million in 2000 – 50/50 between developed and developing countries.

    10 million by 2030 – 70% in developing countries.

     

    As litigation and laws surrounding the tobacco industry tighten up in USA and the EU the tobacco industry are shifting production and sales to the new markets of Russia, Poland, Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, India, South America and South Africa. There are little or no laws governing the sale of tobacco in these countries. Pressure on these governments to legislate against tobacco consumption now could save millions of deaths in the future.

    If worldwide consumption of cigarettes decreased by half by 2020 25 million premature deaths in the first quarter of the century and 150 million in the second quarter of the century would be avoided.

    People who stop smoking live longer, contribute to society for longer, experience improved health, lower the demand on the NHS, reduce the cost to employers in days lost to smoking related illnesses, have more money to spend and create more jobs.

    Cigarettes are exempt from most forms of consumer protection because products were already in the market before consumer laws were developed. The extent of harm to consumers by cigarettes cannot reach safety standard requirements as imposed on other products.

    Image if you will if you just invented a cigarette and took it onto the popular television show ‘Dragon Den’ How would you present it to the Dragons and what sort of reaction would you think you would get? Watch Dragons Den – Duncan Bannatyne in this Quit video.

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELtfKpYCGB8

    Although there have been moves to restrict advertising cigarette brands, introducing health warnings and lowering tar rates in cigarettes, nicotine regulations serve the tobacco industry over public health. Tobacco companies make voluntary concessions rather than legislate. This gives an air of perceived respectability to the industry, although agreements are difficult to monitor, controls are easily evaded and there are no penalties for violations. Health warnings also work in favor of manufacturers in litigation defense cases.

    Tobacco companies make a big noise of how most of their litigation cases are overthrown at appeal. The tobacco companies are at a distinct advantage over individuals, companies or evens States, because of their huge cash reserves they can tie the courts up for decades.

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  • Before exploring health issues synonymous with tobacco smoking, it is useful to look back and define what is a cigarette? 

    A cigarette is a Nicotine Delivery System, a highly refined and carefully engineered product. Cigarettes are designed pacifically to deliver naturally occurring alkaloids like nicotine fast and efficiently to the body avoiding or masking them from the bodies natural defence mechanisms.

    Nicotine is the cause of addiction but cigarettes are laced with up to 600 compounds commonly referred to as additives or flavourings, which mask the serious effects some of these compounds have on the body.

    These ingredients are approved additives in food, however, were not tested by burning them. It is the burning of these substances that changes their properties. When burnt 4000 chemical compounds are made and these do most of the damage to the body, as many of them are toxic and/or carcinogenic. These include over 40 know carcinogenic including Hydrogen cyanide, Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxides.

    If a person takes on average 10 hits from a cigarette and smokes between 20 and 30 cigarettes a day they are sending 1mg of nicotine to the brain. That’s 300 hits of cancer causing agents per day while the nicotine addiction leaves you craving for yet another hit.

    To increase the amount of nicotine to the body household cleaners like ammonia are added to tobacco. Up to 40% more nicotine can be delivered faster to the smoker by using ammonia in the manufacture of cigarettes.

    Levulinic acids are added to cigarettes to mask the harsh taste of nicotine. These acids also bind nicotine to the brains receptors and increase the kick felt by the nicotine. The more nicotine that is bound on the receptors the bigger the kick the smoker experiences.

    Glycyrrhizin, liquorice and cocoa are compounds added to cigarettes to make the act of smoking a more enjoyable experience by masking the bitter taste of the nicotine. They are also added because in fact these compounds are bronchodilators, that is they dilate or open up the lungs membranes which allow more nicotine to enter the body.

     what is a cigarette

    Other common additives found in the manufacture of cigarettes are Arsenic (Rat Poison), Formaldehyde (Body Preservative), Acetone (Nail Polish Remover) Hexamine (BBQ Lighter), Cadmium (Rechargeable Batteries), Toluene (Industrial Solvent), DDT (Insecticide), Methanol (Rocket Fuel) and Lead (Petrol Fumes).

    In 1995 Philip Morris recalled 8 billion cigarettes after traces of the chemical methyl isothiocyanate (Pesticide) were found in its filters. Internal documents from the Liggett Group revealed arsenic, DDT and taxophene were found in their products. Tobacco is now grown in developing countries were high, often unregulated use of pesticides are used. In the three months from seedbed to transplanting Kenyan farmers are recommended there should be 16 separate applications of pesticides on their crops.

    1000 people give up smoking everyday – they die! View images of the Silent Killer.

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  • Here’s is an interesting pop quiz you can do to test your knowledge on smoking and the tobacco industry.

    Scroll down to the end for the answers.

    Q1. Marlboro cigarettes global annual sales exceed…

    A. $15 Billion                                                 B. $5 Million

    C. $ 10Million                                                 D. $10 Billion

     

    Q2. How many cigarette related deaths are there in the UK per year?

    A. 12,000                                                        B. 20,000

    C. 100,000                                                      D. 120,000

     

    Q3. How many compounds or additives are there in a cigarette?

    A. 600                                                             B. 160

    C. 60                                                               D. 600

     

    Q4. When a cigarette is burnt, how many toxic and/or chemical compounds are made?

    A. 1000                                                           B. 2000

    C. 4000                                                           D. 10,000

     

    Q5. Which country is the largest importer of American style tobacco?

    A. UK                                                             B. USA

    B. Brazil                                                         D. China

     

    Q6. How many cigarette filters are estimated to be found as litter in the westernised world?

    A. 4.5 Thousand                                             B. 4.5 Million

    C. 4.5 Billion                                                   D. 4.5 Trillion 

     

    Q7. Predicted deaths from smoking for the year 2030 are…

    A. 4 Million                                                     B. 6 Million

    C. 8 Million                                                     D. 10 Million

     

    Q8. Brazilian tobacco farmers have a higher than average suicide rate from the rest of the country. Is the rate…

    A. 3 x Higher                                                  B. 5 x Higher

    B. 7 x Higher                                                  D. 10 x Higher 

     

    Q9. The first country in the world to ban the sale of tobacco and smoking in public places is…

    A. Australia                                                     B. Bhutan

    C. Ireland                                                       D. Canada

     

    Q10. Bidis are…

    A. Old people                                                 B. A healthy cigarette

    C. An unfiltered cigarette                                 D. A sweet 

     

    Q11. Philip Morris’s Youth Smoking Prevention Program advertisement on MTV Europe was called…

    A. You don’t have to smoke to be cool          B. Don’t do it!

    C. Cool it… a smoke?                                   D. I’m cool, I just can’t help it.

     

    Q12. Since the ban on tobacco advertising in the UK in 2003 how many new brands have Philip Morris launched?

    A. 0                                                                 B. 1

    C. 2                                                                 D. 3 

    your basic cigarette message

    Answers

    Q1 (A) Philip Morris manufactures, markets, sells and distributes in more than 160 countries.

    Q2 (D) 120,000 deaths a year is equivalent to the population of a town the size of Norwich or Chester.

    Q3 (A) Arsenic (Rat Poison), Formaldehyde (Body Preservative), Acetone (Nail Polish Remover), Hexamine ( BBQ Lighter), Cadmium ( Rechargeable Batteries), Lead (Petrol Fumes) Methanol (Rocket Fuel) and Ammonia (Household Cleaner) are all found in cigarettes.

    Q4 (C) The additives used in the manufacture of cigarettes are government approved for food. However, they were not tested by burning them. It is the burning of the substances that changes their properties. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic. i.e. cause cancer.

    Q5 (B) Tobacco companies now grow and manufacture cigarettes in developing countries where overheads are less, markets are larger and anti tobacco legislation is almost non-existent.

    Q6 (D) Cigarette filters are not biodegradable as cellulose acetate; a form of plastic, is one of the components that make up the butt and never breaks down.

    Q7 (D) 70% of these deaths will be in developing countries.

    Q8 (B) A link was found between organophosphate pesticides and skyrocketing suicides which coincided with the seeding and harvesting of tobacco crops in Venancio Aires.

    Q9 (B) The Himalayan kingdom of 900,000 people banned tobacco use in early 2005 as part of its continuing tobacco-free initiative programme.

    Q10 (C) Imported from India, these cigarettes contain tobacco but are wrapped in nonporous leaves and sold in a variety of flavours such as strawberry, mango and vanilla. Bidis are referred to as cigarettes with training wheels by health authorities.

    Q11 (A) This initiative is dwarfed by corporate sponsorship, marketing and point of sale activity at rock concerts, formula 1 and sporting events.

    Q12 (C) Basic and Marlboro Blend 28 have both been successfully launched in the dark market post advertising ban.

     

     Have you got what it takes to be a tobacco executive?

    >> Take this cool interactive quiz  at www.thetruth.com Now <<

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