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Does vaping really pollute ?

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The production of vaping cartridges, cigarettes and vaping waste has environmental consequences.

You can reduce the environmental impact by :

  • Your choice of products
  • Discarding finished products in the proper places
  • Reducing your vaping habit or by not vaping

What are the annual impacts of the production of cartridges with nicotine and cigarettes around the world ?

The nicotine contained in a vaporizer comes from the tobacco plant. The tobacco industry uses this plant to produce cartridges and cigarettes.


84 million tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere contribute to rising temperatures on Earth. This is equal to sending 280,000 rockets into space.


  • 200,000 hectares of land (more than 200,000 soccer fields) are cultivated, which leads to the disappearance of insects, animals and plants.
  • Up to 150 chemical products are used to grow tobacco plants.
  • Between 1 and 5 million pesticide poisonings lead to the death of about 11,000 agricultural workers.


Around 22 billion square meters of water, equal to 8,8 million Olympic swimming pools, are used for the production of tobacco around the world.


  • 1 tree is cut down for every 1,5 cartridges produced.
  • 600 million trees are cut down to grow and dry tobacco.

What are the environmental issues caused by vaping waste ?

Increase in the use of single-use plastics

Plastic does not decompose and leaves damaging traces in the environment. Cartridges can contain nicotine and therefore cannot be recycled with other plastic waste in recycling plants.

Increase in electronic waste from their parts, including lithium-ion batteries

Vaporizers contain an electronic circuit board that can contain plastic and heavy metals as well as a lithium-ion battery. After use, the vaporizer is electronic waste. It must be taken apart, sorted and rinsed before the parts can be recycled.

Introduction of dangerous and toxic chemical products like nicotine into the environment

Cartridges thrown on the ground can spread nicotine and other toxic products in the environment or can be eaten by animals. Very small amounts of nicotine can be dangerous or even fatal for animals.

According to a study conducted by Truth Initiative, 51 % of young people who use vaping products threw their used cartridges in the garbage, 17 % put them in a recycling bin (not designed for this) and 10 % threw them on the ground.

No vaping waste management policy has been established in Canada, whether for single-use electronic cigarettes, the device’s battery or its cartridges.

How can you reduce the environmental impact of vaping ?

  • Do not throw vaping products on the ground
  • Return your old vaporizer to the vape store
  • Choose reusable models
  • Take your vaporizer to places that collect them such as an eco centre. To confirm collection points, visit this site : Call2Recycle
  • Reduce the number of pods you use or, more effective yet, don’t vape

Do you want to talk about it, reduce your use or stop altogether ?

Don’t hesitate to talk to a trusted counsellor at your school.

Many resources and services are available to help you.

For in-person help from a nurse, call 1-844-440-AIDE (2433).

Produced by the CISSS des Laurentides Public Health Department

References :

  • World Health Organization (2022)
    Q&A World No Tobacco Day 2022
  • World Health Organization (2017) Tobacco Threatens Us All https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/255561/WHO-NMH-PND-17.2-eng.pdf
  • Québec sans tabac (2022) Destruction de l’environnement dû au tabac – Québec sans tabac (quebecsanstabac.ca) (in French only)
  • Truth Initiative (2021, March 8). A toxic, plastic problem : E-cigarette waste and the environment https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/ harmful-effects-tobacco/toxic-plastic-problem-e-cigarette-waste-and-environment
  • World Health Organization (2017) Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/hand le/10665/255574/9789241512497-eng.pdf https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/255574/9789241512497-eng.pdf
  • Images : Freepik

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