You may already know that quitting smoking can be great for your health. This write-up from Smokefree.gov lists the many benefits you stand to gain from smoking cessation, including better vision, a stronger immune system, and decreased heart risks. However, you may not know that smoking negatively impacts the environment. That means kicking the habit can contribute to its preservation.
The following is an overview of how that works—and, if you smoke, how you can quit to better follow an eco-living lifestyle.
How quitting smoking helps the environment
Cigarettes are inherently harmful to your health. One of their key ingredients is tobacco, a highly addictive substance that can irritate your lungs and throat. However, cigarette production is also bad for the environment. According to a 2022 news release from the World Health Organization, the tobacco industry costs 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, and 22 billion tons of water annually—and in the process, emits over 84 million tons of carbon dioxide. That’s not even counting the environmental risks of the carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxic ingredients embedded into a single cigarette.
The destruction doesn’t stop there. Cigarette butts are small, poisonous, and take up to 10 years to decompose. Their harmful chemicals can leech into the environment when they’re discarded inappropriately. Here, their presence can slow plant growth, kill wildlife, and sicken humans.
That’s why quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and help the environment. Smoking cessation means you lower your carbon footprint, reduce your plastic waste, and, in your small way, reduce the demand for toxic cigarettes and discourage their production—all steps we note in our previous post will help you reap the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle.
How to quit smoking
Use alternate nicotine products
Quitting smoking without using aids can result in withdrawal symptoms, like headaches and tremors, that might tempt relapse. Instead, look into alternative eco-friendly nicotine products that will help you reduce cigarette cravings gradually, like nicotine pouches and lozenges. Nicotine pouches are made from biodegradable plant-based fibers, food-grade flavorings, and tobacco-derived nicotine. They’re thus easy to dispose of responsibly after being placed between the gum and upper lip for nicotine release. This blog post from Prilla adds that nicotine pouches don’t have an expiry date, which means you don’t need to worry about them going bad and buying more than usual—all you need to do is store them somewhere cool and dry to keep them fresh. Meanwhile, this web page from WebMD notes that nicotine lozenges are a candy-like medication you suck on so they dissolve in your mouth. As such, you don’t need to worry about generating and disposing of waste.
Eat fruits and vegetables
Another great way to prevent smoking is to use nature’s offerings: fruits and vegetables. A 2019 article from The Health City claims that the crunchiness of vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and peppers can delay your cigarette cravings because of their texture. Meanwhile, fruits like apples, oranges, and mangoes can give you the nutrients you need for smoking cessation, like Vitamin C, to repair the damage cigarettes cause to the immune system. With plant-based food production using fewer resources, this step is even more ready-made to suit your improved eco-friendly lifestyle.
Go out for nature walks
When you do face some inevitable urges to smoke—for example, during the time you’d usually take a smoke break—you can instead go outside and take a walk. Moving around will help ground your mind to the present. This article from Quit and Stay Quit Monday adds that this can be further accentuated if you walk in a park, garden, or anywhere else abundant in plant life. Being outdoors can be soothing and may help you manage your triggers. Plus, the vibrant greenery may remind you why you decided to quit in the first place.
Quitting cigarettes is a great way to help the environment. For some ideas on how to start, try the tips above.