If you haven’t heard someone mention the word vaporize yet, you’re probably out of date. Or worse, if you’re a smoker, you may not care about your health or the environment.
It may sound alarming, but it is. Smoking and all that smoking entails has such negative consequences that even agencies such as the WHO (World Health Organization) strive to clarify the consumer and public opinion in general.
While it is true that tobacco consumption is a threat to global health is a generally recognized truth, could not speak so clearly instead of the impact, and awareness in the population, the irreparable damage that the tobacco industry causes on the health of the planet and the economic development of countries.
The reality is that cigarette consumption is on the rise and so is cigar production. In case you didn’t know, smoking kills more than 7 million people a year and is currently the biggest cause of preventable death.
Most of the data that we know, or that are publicly acknowledged, are those directly related to tobacco consumption and what it entails but not so much the impact that residual smoking, cultivation, production, transport and waste of tobacco cause on human development.
And why does tobacco affect the environment so much?
Until the consumer lights a cigarette, the following processes have had to take place: tobacco cultivation, production and manufacture, distribution, consumption and finally waste. A chain that we explain below how and why it threatens our planet.
Many of the countries that grow and produce tobacco are least developed and low-income countries. The most common cultivation of the plant is monoculture; considered, apparently, as a short-term economic opportunity but which nevertheless ends up becoming a long-term problem and threat.
Cultivating a single species for long periods of time encourages the loss of nutrients from the soil and makes the plant more vulnerable to disease and pests.
This means that, because of this cultivation, the tobacco plant needs insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fumigants in large quantities.
The use of these chemicals is as harmful to humans as it is to the environment.
In addition, tobacco cultivation has become the main cause of deforestation in countries such as Malawi (Africa) for example. In other countries such as Jordan, India, Cuba and Brazil, tobacco cultivation has caused desertification.
Deforestation and changes in agricultural techniques have a direct impact on gas emissions and consequently an increase in the greenhouse effect.
In general, although it can generate some benefit to farmers and communities, tobacco cultivation and curing are part of one of the most destructive agricultural practices in these countries. As a consequence, the loss of precious resources such as forests, plants and diversity of animal species is generated.
Now let’s see how, in addition to the environmental impact of the plant’s cultivation, the mere fact of generating combustion when smoking also produces polluting effects for the smoker, for those around him and for the planet.
Wait a minute, first of all, would you be able to think about what other processes, before you smoke a cigarette, might be polluting the environment? Be careful because until a cigarette reaches the mouth of a user has had to go through its own manufacture, with its corresponding emission of carbon dioxide gases, energy use, transport, water consumption and so on.
Tobacco smoke pollutes the user, outdoor environments, indoor spaces and is also a ubiquitous and persistent source of toxins long after the cigarette has been put out. A process that takes minutes but whose consequences last a lifetime.
When a user smokes, combustion occurs (burning or scorching action and effect) as a result of which the user inhales smoke at a temperature of approximately 600-800°C. This is where the main characteristic of vaporizers lies and the main difference and disadvantage of smoking versus vaporizing. Because when a user vaporizes no combustion takes place.
Except for the filter, the rest of a cigarette is basically composed of fuel for the production of smoke (carbon monoxide) that we appreciate when we observe someone smoking. This includes the tobacco leaf itself, paper, substances added intentionally to modify its appearance, taste, smell, color, and others such as nicotine, tar, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide gas, acetone, ammonia and a long list of other carcinogenic substances.
Considering that, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), there are almost 1 billion smokers in the world who consume 6.25 trillion cigars, the smoke produced is more than significant for the health of the planet.
The number of cigars consumed in the world, which are often socially accepted if they end up on the ground, is also a source of garbage that is difficult to manage. In fact, tobacco is considered to be the largest component of waste around the world.
Approximately 340 to 680 million kilos of tobacco waste litter our streets every year. And it is not just this huge amount that poses the greatest threat, but rather the chemical pollutants contained in tobacco that accumulate in the environment.
A fact for which tobacco growers, until now, have assumed no responsibility (there are already some programs that force large growers to be responsible for the waste from smoking)
Having said all this, it is clear that the environmental consequences of tobacco consumption are moving from being an individual problem to being a problem for humanity. It is not only a question of how harmful it is to the lives of smokers, those around them and even those involved in production, but also of the fate of this planet.
Only global action could bring about a change or a solution to this problem.
Perhaps thinking about stopping world tobacco production is a very distant idea, but one can consider vaporizing instead of smoking.
To begin with, because in this way the harmful toxins and the generally harmful process of combustion are eliminated. Because when you vaporize, you are turning a liquid into a vapor, by the very action of heat, and therefore there is no combustion.
In addition, the emission of harmful gases into the environment is stopped and the waste generated from tobacco consumption is also significantly reduced.
In order to illustrate in a simple way the benefits of vaporization versus smoking, we have highlighted the following arguments:
It eliminates harmful toxins.
The smoke created as a result of burning any substance contains countless toxins that damage our internal organs.
The operation of vaporizers is based on heating herbs or liquids to a temperature not so high as to evaporate their active ingredients but low enough to prevent combustion.
As a result, the user who vaporizes is not exposed to the harmful substances generated by tobacco smoking.
In this article we do not try to compare the benefits or harms of smoking marijuana versus tobacco but rather the fact of smoking versus vaporizing.
Vaporizing is healthier for your lungs.
There are currently no long-term studies on people who vaporize, so it is impossible to say that vaporizing is good for the lungs. However, many experts say that misting is healthier for the lungs than smoking. As there is no combustion, the air inhaled is at a much lower temperature and no carbon dioxide is produced either.
In countries like the USA, marijuana is widely used for medical purposes.
To treat certain diseases, medicine recommends the use of cannabis as a therapy.
Some patients prefer to ingest it than to smoke it, but with the introduction of vaporizers the habits have changed.
Marijuana is absorbed more slowly in the stomach than in the lungs. In addition, absorption from the stomach tends to be uneven, as cannabinoids are first metabolized by the liver before entering the bloodstream.
On the other hand, the lungs absorb cannabinoids within seconds, providing almost instantaneous relief when cannabis vapour is inhaled. In addition, vaporizers give patients better control over dosage, as it is easy to stop inhaling once the desired effect is achieved.
For these reasons, doctors often recommend the use of a vaporizer over oral cannab preparations.
Interestingly, patients also rated vaporization as the most efficient method of marijuana intake. On average, patients said that lower doses of cannabis were required while vaporizing compared to other common methods, including groceries, tea etc.
Of course, how everyone reacts to marijuana differs widely from person to person, so vaporizers cannot be ideal for everyone.
Consultation with a health professional is the best way to find out which method of intake is best for everyone.
Other benefits include the discretion of the vaporizers, which go unnoticed in any social context, saving money; since vaporizing is more efficient than smoking and, above all, eliminating fumes and odors. Something that will be appreciated by the consumer and anyone in his or her environment.
Vaporizing is relatively new compared to smoking. It still has a long way to go and to prove whether the apparent health benefits are indeed demonstrated in the long term.
The purpose of this article is not to compare tobacco consumption with marijuana consumption but to raise awareness and bring to the public’s attention the harmful effects that smoking brings with it and how, through vaporizers, it is possible to find a more sustainable and healthy solution for humans.
If you are a regular tobacco smoker, and you want to reduce your consumption, in addition to the dry herb vaporizers we mentioned earlier, whose main use is to vaporize cannabis or other plants for aromatherapy purposes, there are electronic cigarettes, whose use is more widespread to be a substitute for traditional cigarettes. They are filled with a liquid called e-liquid, in which we can usually control the amount of nicotine contained and thus be able to reduce the dose in a controlled manner. With the use of these electronic cigarettes there is no combustion either, we inhale the vapor produced by heating the e-liquid.