Scientists find cigarette butts could be nearly as harmful as smoking

Dire new cigarette warning as it’s revealed week-old butts can be VERY dangerous to health

  • Scientists found ‘after smoke’ could be nearly as harmful as lit cigarettes
  • Researchers said butts could send off harmful nicotine levels even after a week
  • It was also found that cigarette butts are more harmful in warmer weather 

Australian experts have issued a dire warning after new research revealed cigarette butts can cause almost as much damage as smoking. 

Scientists found ‘after smoke’ could be affecting people’s health due to a shocking level of airborne nicotine coming from butts.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US found that every butt emits almost 15 per cent of the nicotine that a burning cigarette gives off.

Scientists found ‘after smoke’ could be affecting people’s health due to a shock level of airborne nicotine levels coming from butts

Despite most of the chemicals from an extinguished cigarette being emitted in the first 24 hours, scientists found they could send off harmful nicotine levels even a week after they were put out.  

Nicotine and triacetin concentrations were about half the normal level five days after being extinguished.

The findings have prompted the Cancer Council Queensland to warn Australians of the dangers of old cigarettes.

‘In Queensland there is a need for more smoke-free public spaces and the primary reason is to reduce exposure to harmful second-hand smoke,’ Cancer Council Queensland chief executive Chris McMillan told the Courier Mail.  

‘You might think that by never smoking in your car when kids are present, you are protecting the non smokers or children around you but if the ashtray in your hot car is full of butts that are emitting these chemicals, exposure is happening.’  

The researchers also found cigarette butts are more harmful in warmer weather. 

‘This means if you don’t empty an ashtray in your home for a week, the amount of nicotine exposure to non smokers could be double current estimates,’ researcher Dustin Poppendieck said.

Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Australia, and claims the lives of 15,500 Aussies every year from smoking-related illnesses. 

Despite most of the chemicals from an extinguished cigarette being emitted in the first 24 hours, scientists found they could send off harmful nicotine levels even after a week (stock image) 

 

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