It’s not every day that a large media outlet like National Geographic chooses to cover a controversial topic like the use of electronic cigarettes versus that of tobacco cigs. They focused more on their impact on the environment, but I guess every mention that doesn’t focus solely on the dangers of using e-cigarettes can be considered a win these days.
NatGeo’s article doesn’t really say if e-cigarettes are safer for the environment than traditional cigs, but the points it makes lead readers towards that conclusion. Although the number of American smokers has been on a steady decline for a few years now, thanks to decades of public health campaigns, the cigarette butts people throw away still pose a big threat to nature. Most smokers throw the butts out the windows of their cars, or simply drop them on the streets while walking, and that poses a major environmental risk.
Believe it or not, the core of a cigarette butt takes between 18 months and 10 years to completely decompose, and while that isn’t nearly as long as a common plastic bag, it’s enough to cause serious damage. During this period, the nicotine and toxin-filled trash butts affect even the earth they fall on, not to mention those that get washed up into drains and end up in our oceans, where they get eaten by fish and release their chemicals in the water. A cigarette butt may not seem like much of a threat, but when millions of them are being thrown away every day, the situation becomes pretty dire.
While e-cigarettes are also being referred to as “controversial products”, the guys at National Geographic do acknowledge their potential to “reduce this toxic burden”. Being reusable, they don’t produce mountains of junk every day, and they are easily refilled with e-juice that simply evaporates instead of creating organic trash, like tobacco cigarettes. Of course, there are those who argue that the bottles of e-juice and the components of electronic cigarettes could also be considered trash once they are discarded. That is entirely true, only this is recyclable junk, that can simply be reused to create new things, instead of poisoning our world.
Despite the fact that the article chose to mention the potential dangers of electronic cigarettes and the position of the FDA as far as their concerned, I was happy to see that the vast majority of comments praised e-cigarettes and their positive effects on ex-smokers’ health. Hopefully this kind of reaction will have some effect on the way e-cigarettes are perceived by media and the general public.