My friend Joe, who suffers with severe leg injury, smokes regularly. For him everything about smoking is important. The way he takes his cigarette out of the box, or the way he rolls it up, the way he holds it, the way he inhales the smoke, the way he disposes of the cigarette, it all matters.

I gave up smoking naturally many years ago, so I do not smoke. Sometimes, however, (like once a year) I will try again, just to see how it goes.

This is what happened this time. Suddenly I wanted a cigarette. I picked one up and started to smoke it. As doing so I asked myself a question that never occurred in my head before, despite me being so concerned about the environment.

The question was: how much extra carbon dioxide goes into the air as the result of people smoking around the world?

I have made my research. There are many ways cigarette smoking harms the environment, but one of them is contributing more carbon dioxide in the air. It amounts to 2.6 billion kg into the air of CO2 (1) each year from smoking around the globe and about 5.2 billion of kg from methane (1), another greenhouse gas.

Every 300 cigarettes made use up 1 tree (1) while we can regrow in time only 1/3 of a tree to compensate for it.

There is a long list of harmful chemicals attached to each puff of a cigarette. There are 3900 of them in each cigarette; some of them are: nicotine, cyanide, ammonia, cadmium, acetone and arsenic.(1)

The polluted water with cigarettes ends causes damage to rivers, ponds and lakes life.

There is plenty of environmental pollution associated with growing non – organic tobacco for cigarettes as well as with eventually packing them.

By stopping smoking alone, we can spare so much carbon dioxide and other pollutants going in the air.

My dilemma is, for my friend Joe smoking is very important. The whole procedure and style required to go with it, it all matters. At least the way I see it.

I cannot help to notice, that despite me knowing about all the damaging effects of smoking on health of the smoker and those around, that at that smoking instance it appears to be helpful to the smoker. You can often see that person being content doing that. Calmed and engaged at the same time. Smoking often is done in place, where others would binge or eat.

For my friend Joe it is part of his daily life. It helps him to cope with the constant pain he experiences because of his leg injury and it helps him to forget about it while smoking.

I ask myself: shall I tell him how damaging smoking is, not only to health but also that smoking is a liability to the environment? Or shall I not spoil it for him, these momentary contentments and shall I just ask others to give it up?

Was it my last cigarette?










(1) Eluxe Magazine, ” 5 Ways Smoking Harms the Environment” by

Jody McCutcheon