When one thinks about the environmental effects of cigarettes versus the E-Cig, it is not hard to envision the "gifts" that the cigarettes give. The butts are strewn along the sidewalks, floating down the streams behind fisherman and riding the best of waves along the coast. The ashes are discarded in just the same manner - but what do they matter? The Earth eats them up in moments, the water cascades through them and melts away their very existence. All this happens within moments, or does it? Have you ever sat transfixed on a thought and just studied the results beyond the realm of the very sight of its mere existence?
The filters have been found in the stomachs of our wildlife who often think that the cigarettes are the food that they have searched for. Animals that ingest nicotine into their stomachs can die from malnutrition and starvation. The filters are not biodegradable and, therefore, and can remain in our waters and on our lands for vast period of time. While this may seem trivial to the average smoker, it is in fact a large scale problem when you look at the picture as a whole. There are trillions and trillions of filters discarded every year. Every one of these filters end up back into our environment where they never were before.
If one never thought about the effects of one filter on wildlife, take the tour. The filter is ingested by a turtle that is now forever full because its small stomach cannot digest the filter. He dies of starvation. As his body begins decaying, a vulture comes along and takes in the filter believing it to be food. The cycle starts again because as with the turtle, the filter becomes lodged. This process is repeated over and over for 10 years with the first prey leaching all 4,800 cancer causing chemicals back into our environment to pollute whatever area and species that may come in contact with that. The initial damage is not enough in the human form; it needs to replicate itself for the next 10-15 years before the filter will finally decay.
The filters that enter into the Earth through the dirt, will also affect our ecosystem by contaminating our soils, plants, the groundwater and the wells that produce clean drinking water for our children, elderly, pregnant women etc. They are especially damaging to those who are less than a year old, the "pick up and try anything" stage. According the KCET in California, cigarette butts are the number one discarded item in that state, with the San Francisco Bay Area being the Country's highest collection area with approximately 845,000 tons. Cigarette butts produce the most damaging effects on the environment. One cigarette butt (filter) continues its killing spree for 10-15 years before succumbing to its own natural death.
In contrast, the E-Cigarette does none of this. It does not enter the environment.