Countries around the world are curbing cigarette use, particularly in public areas. Lately, Europe has been stopping cigarette usage to protect the environment. As reported on Euronews, there are many calls to ban cigarette filters, one of the most common items littered on European beaches. Amidst rising issues with climate change, this proposed ban aims to move Europe towards more sustainable practices.
Given how this proposed plan will help curb pollution in the natural environment, sustainable tourism is well-within reach. However, individuals and countries must adapt and re-focus their efforts to end tobacco use for long-term change. In this article, we’ll explore the dangerous effects of tobacco, its impact on the tourism industry, and how smokers can quit for good.
How does tobacco harm the environment?
As mentioned earlier, cigarette filters are one of the most significant environmental pollutants. These parts release over 7,000 toxic chemicals and microplastics that are tough to decay and are found almost everywhere — oceans, rivers, soil, beaches, and footpaths. In some cases, animals mistake cigarette butts for food and consume them, accidentally poisoning themselves.
In addition to environmental pollution, the scientific journal MDPI notes how combustible cigarettes can also contribute to air pollution. Other people are negatively affected by second-hand smoking, and the environment is also polluted by third-hand smoking — leaving carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines on indoor surfaces, including carpets, mattresses, blankets, clothes, and much more.
Will banning cigarettes harm the tourism industry?
Given how harmful cigarettes are, many countries have begun banning cigarettes outright or imposing stricter regulations on their use. In Mexico, the government is enforcing a total ban on smoking in public places, including beaches, parks, and hotels. New Zealand has also recently passed a law banning people born in 2009 or after purchasing cigarettes, raising the minimum legal age significantly. Furthermore, the number of tobacco stores countrywide is limited to 600.
With increasing bans, a common misconception is that smoke-free laws harm the tourism industry as tourists would want to smoke. However, no single study has found an overall negative impact on tourism and hospitality— with most effects being neutral or positive. Despite strict laws in Mexico that almost entirely prohibit tourists from smoking, for instance, data from their Secretary of Tourism forecasts that the country will see 11.3% more revenue by the end of 2023 compared to 2022. This aligns with the rise of sustainable tourism, where more people favour smoke-free laws.
How can smokers quit?
If you’re a smoker, it’s well worth quitting cigarettes permanently. Not only do you significantly improve your health by staying smoke-free, but you also work towards a better environment. Nicotine withdrawal is often the biggest hurdle with quitting, which is why many doctors recommend their patients undergo nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
There are several NRTs on the market now that are smokeless and tobacco-free. ZYN nicotine pouches contain small amounts of nicotine that are carefully extracted and purified using high-tech distillation procedures. This is unlike regular snus, which is usually made from finely ground tobacco. Furthermore, ZYN pouches were developed for users who want to cut down on their tobacco intake or are avoiding tobacco for health reasons, so the pouches were formulated to avoid nicotine-related side effects as well. Another NRT option is NICOGUM, which serves as a smoking cessation and nicotine de-addiction tool. These products have become more accessible to users as online pharmacies and drug stores offer them worldwide.
In addition to NRT, smokers must use other ways to avoid smoking. Staying away from other smokers and distracting yourself when cravings hit is essential to remain consistent with your smoke-free lifestyle. Writing in a journal may also help you express your feelings and remind yourself of your other quit reasons.
If you’re a traveller who smokes, it’s best to eliminate the habit. Not only do you benefit your health, but you also reduce your negative impact on the environment. In turn, you support the ever-growing movement of tobacco-free tourism for sustainable tourism. For more ways to be an eco-conscious traveller, we recommend visiting our post “3 ways to embrace eco-friendly travel” to read more tips and tricks on how you can protect the planet.