5 Jun, 2022 @ 16:15
1 min read

A BUTT TIME: Cigarettes don’t just poison smokers – they poison the environment too

Smoking Cigarrets Pixabay

I’VE never understood smoking. My father died when I was 14 of throat cancer caused by smoking. I could not see what was big, clever, or attractive about poisoning yourself.

I accept the freedom of choice argument. If you want to adversely affect your health, all well and good.

However, polluting the environment is not acceptable. 

Some 4.5 trillion cigarettes are discarded every year worldwide. That’s 4,500,000,000,000. That’s a lot of noughts!

They are the most littered item on Earth.

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco waste contains up to 7,000 toxic chemicals. The plastic in the filters takes up to 10 years to biodegrade. Commonly found in the bodies of dead fish and seabirds, they can also be lethal to freshwater and marine species.


In a bid to reduce pollution, smoking will be banned on all of Barcelona’s beaches from next month. The Spanish government is also planning to make it illegal to smoke on the outside terraces of bars and restaurants, and at open-air sports venues.

Their next initiative is pure genius.

Catalonia will introduce cigarette butt recycling as a source of income. The Catalan government is planning to pay €4 to people who hand over a pack’s worth of cigarette butts at nominated recycling points.

Catalunya Flag
Smoking will be banned on all of Barcelona’s beaches from next month. Photo: Pixabay


  • This initiative could become a source of income for homeless people 
  • Sreets and beaches will become cleaner

The stroke of genius is that all of this will be funded by raising the tax on every cigarette sold by 20 cents. The environment wins, and people are deterred from smoking as the cost of a packet of cigarettes will almost double.

This isn’t about revenue generation. It’s to reduce the environmental impact of these filthy fag ends.

Smoking Cigarrets Pixabay
The environment wins. Photo: Pixabay

The Spanish government is introducing a law that will prohibit the sale of plastic cotton buds, cutlery, and plastic straws. Cigarette butts are not yet covered by law, so this is a great initiative.

Why should the minority pollute the majority? (19.7% of Spaniards smoke on a daily basis).

Martin Tye is the owner of energy switch company Mariposa Energy. Contact him on +34 638145664 or email him at [email protected]

Eyeprint Logo
Previous Story

Personalised service for every client at Eyeprint in La Cala de Mijas

Sheep Snip
Next Story

Meet the last shepherds eeking out a living on Spain’s ancient pastoral routes

Latest from Columnists

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press