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.
Check out this edition of News of the Bay for breaking news affecting San Francisco Bay
National Wildlife 1/27/14 Harbor Porpoises’ Remarkable Return
On a blustery California August day, researchers are studying some of San Francisco’s least-known residents from an unlikely laboratory: the Golden Gate Bridge. Below in the bay glides a parade of boats—fishing vessels, a tall ship, a slow container barge packed with colorful boxes like giant Legos. Behind the scientists, tourists pause to snap pictures, unaware of the ongoing hunt. Through binoculars, Bill Keener suddenly spots his quarry: a harbor porpoise, its dark gray dorsal fin appearing briefly before resubmerging. Keener predicts the porpoise’s course and, just as it surfaces again, photographs the animal before it disappears. “Got it,” he declares triumphantly. Read more>>
Daily Camera 3/8/14 Boulder: Disposable bag use down 68 percent in wake of 10-cent fee
Six months after Boulder instituted a 10-cent fee on disposable grocery bags, use of plastic and paper bags has fallen 68 percent, city officials said.
That figure is based on a comparison of estimated bag use before the fee was implemented in July and the number of bags paid for by shoppers in the last six months, said Jamie Harkins, business sustainability specialist for the city. Read more>>
Sacramento Bee 3/10/14 E-cigarettes face restrictions as cities update smoking ordinances
The electronic cigarettes flooding the U.S. market don’t technically emit smoke, but many cities have decided they’re not much different from ordinary cigarettes.
Last week, Rancho Cordova became the latest local government to pursue restrictions on e-cigarettes; the City Council directed staff members to treat them like regular smokes when they draft amendments to city code sections governing smoking. The Los Angeles City Council also voted last week to restrict e-cigarette use where tobacco smoking is restricted, including restaurants, parks, bars, nightclubs, beaches and workplaces. Similar measures have been approved in a number of Bay Area cities, along with New York and Chicago. Read more>>
Reuters 3/13/14 In drought-stricken California court rules smelt fish get water
A California appeals court sided with environmentalists over growers on Thursday and upheld federal guidelines that limit water diversions to protect Delta smelt, in a battle over how the state will cope with its worst drought in a century.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court should not have overturned recommendations that the state reduce exports of water from north to south California. The plan leaves more water in the Sacramento Delta for the finger-sized fish and have been blamed for exacerbating the effects of drought for humans. Read more>>