In the current debate about vaping being a viable and safe method of consuming nicotine, we often let other issues go by the wayside. Recently, the Biden administration promised a focus on science and the environment, appointing former Democratic senator and 2004 presidential nominee John Kerry to the post of U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. This raises a question for the vaping industry: what is the impact of the vaping industry on the environment? The eJuices.co team investigates how vapers can be more environmentally friendly.
Cigarettes Are Harmful To The Environment
This is no secret to any current or former smoker—cigarettes have been proven to be harmful to the environment. Think twice before you toss a cigarette butt out of your car window about how much plastic and other toxic materials are being released back into the environment. While rates of cigarette smoking have gone down over the years, it is still very common to find cigarettes littered all over the place. It can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 yearsfor a cigarette butt to decompose, according to National Geographic.
We all know the theoretical story of a single lit cigarette butt sparking a massive wildfire—those events still do happen, although there is debate over whether or not tossing one lit cigarette is the ultimate cause of a wildfire or if the hazards were already there. All things considered, cigarettes will eventually find their way back into the environment which can affect a multitude of things such as the quality of soil and even the very water you drink.
Vaping Is In A Gray Area
Most electronic devices can be recycled for e-waste. If you’ve been keeping around old mobile phones or laptops, you can easily send them in to be recycled for future use. Vaping products? The situation is not so clear. Yogi Hendlin, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says, “E-cigarettes are viewed both as hazardous waste and e-waste. From the regulatory side, we haven't been able to find a way to deal with this.”
Hendlin cites seeing hundreds of Juul pods in the parking lots of high schools as an example of vaping products adding to the amount of waste that is produced globally. These plastics ultimately end up back in the environment, adding the large patches of garbage we see in our oceans, as well as contribute to landfills. Several cities, states, and even countries have banned single-use plastic bags or charge for them, and the focus could go towards e-waste as well in the future. It will be interesting to see how vaping manufacturers react to making their products better for the environment.
What Should We Do?
While using less or no plastic is most desirable to making vaping environmentally friendly, this approach also comes at a cost: higher prices for vaping products. Today, many eco-friendly products cost more than their less eco-friendly counterparts. From an economic standpoint, vaping can ultimately be cheaper than smoking cigarettes, despite being
considered a tobacco product alongside traditional cigarettes. This could be another question going forward: how do we keep the price of vaping products low while also staying environmentally friendly?
In Canada,there have been efforts to recycle vaping hardware. Vape shops could potentially benefit from having this solution and could potentially recycle other types of e-waste, creating an additional revenue stream. Recycling old mods, pods, and batteries instead of chucking them in the trash could reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in the environment. Manufacturers should also consider ways and means of creating environmentally friendly vape hardware.
By encouraging environmentally friendly practices, it may be beneficial to the vape industry as many industries seek to go green. What are you doing to ensure that your shop is environmentally friendly? What do you think about the issue going forward? If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your eJuices.co account manager or sales representative.