Although they are marketed as “eco-friendly” products, e-cigarettes are being increasingly scrutinized because their production, usage, and disposal pose significant threats to the environment.
One of the biggest concerns is the effect that e-cigarettes can have on indoor air quality. Recent studies examining the effects of e-cig vapors on surrounding air quality conclude that there is a significant increase of harmful particles in the air. The vapor also releases carcinogens into the surrounding area. As e-cigarettes gain popularity, the effects of “secondhand vaping” on the environment are becoming harder to ignore.
Yet another concern regarding e-cigarettes is their disposal. E-cigarettes are battery-operated products that contain plastic cartridges which are filled with liquid nicotine. Even after they have been disposed, high concentrations of metals (such as lead) continue to leach out of the devices. Furthermore, residual nicotine left in the cartridge can be toxic to the environment and anyone who comes into contact with it.
Even though more research needs to be done to understand the full impact of e-cigarettes on the environment, initial studies have already proven that these devices are not as environmentally-friendly as vendors may claim.
– Krishna Bommakanti, Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Program
Krishna coordinates the Tobacco Prevention Program’s Berkeley Youth Tobacco Educators Program, which hosts weekly meetings with Berkeley middle and high school students to discuss a wide range of tobacco-related topics. Krishna develops the curriculum for BYTE meetings and works with BYTE interns to create community outreach events geared toward Berkeley’s youth.