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Poisoning our Planet #TobaccoExposed

31 May 2022

Do you smoke or vape? This World No Tobacco Day, quit to protect the planet AND yourself

A 2021 global survey of advanced economies shows that most people – particularly younger people and students – are very concerned about the effects of climate change. But as we mark World No Tobacco Day, have you ever stopped to think about the environmental impact of smoking and vaping?

These habits are extremely damaging – even before someone lights up and inhales the poisonous chemicals. If you smoke or vape, you may be shocked to learn how much the tobacco industry contributes to global pollution and environmental destruction.

Ditching the smoke and mirrors: hard facts about tobacco

Did you know that it takes 3.7 litres of water to make just one cigarette (that’s 22 million litres used per year)? Or that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts pollute the environment annually? Or that tobacco production emits 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year – which is equivalent to 280,000 rocket launches to outer space?

Those are some extreme statistics – but they highlight the extent to which the tobacco industry is poisoning the planet. On top of this, 90 percent of tobacco is grown in developing countries, harming land that should be used for valuable resources and food production.

Vaping is also an environmental problem – single-use plastics end up in landfill and our oceans, while the heavy metals and nicotine being breathed out affect air quality.

One more reason to quit

Perhaps these environmental impacts will give you one more reason to quit – in addition to the known health effects of smoking. While the long-term effects of vaping aren’t as established, vapes have been linked to poisoning, seizures, lung injury and burns.

COVID also remains a factor and flu cases are surging this winter, so it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re protecting your respiratory health as much as possible.

That’s why we’re encouraging anyone in the Deakin community who lights up – either regularly or occasionally – to quit for good, both for the health of the planet and your own wellbeing.

What happens when you stop smoking

Amazingly, your body actually reverses some of the damage caused by smoking as soon as you stop. This happens as soon as 20 minutes after your last cigarette, when your blood pressure and pulse start to return to more normal levels. 

Tick iconWithin three days of quitting, you’ll often find yourself breathing more easily; a month later you’ll have more energy, while fibres that help keep your lungs healthy will have started to grow back.

Tick iconSix months later, you’ll be coughing up much less mucus and phlegm, and after a year the capacity and functioning of your lungs will have improved dramatically.

Tick iconFast-forward three years: your risk of a heart attack has decreased to that of a non-smoker, and five years after quitting your risk of death from lung cancer has dropped by half. Wow!

Ready to quit? We can help!

Deakin Wellbeing Ambassador holding sign that says: '#WorldNoTobaccoDay2022. We're here to help you quit! Free Quit counselling at the Deakin Medical Centre.'We know that quitting isn’t an easy process – but the Deakin community (including our wonderful Wellbeing Ambassadors, pictured), is with you every step of the way. 

To start your smoke-free journey, contact the Deakin Medical Centre. We provide free Quit counselling support, so book an appointment now. According to WHO, your chance of quitting successfully increases by a whopping 84% if you receive professional medical advice.

You can also visit the Quit website for amazing resources, including Quit Plan, QuitCoach and QuitTxt, which provide personalised support for your quitting journey.

If you feel like giving up smoking or vaping just isn’t possible right now, try setting yourself a timeline that may be more achievable. This might be as we head out of winter and the days get brighter, or once you’ve met a study or other personal milestone. 

Remember: there’s no smoking or vaping at Deakin

Deakin Wellbeing Ambassador holding sign that says: '#WorldNoTobaccoDay2022. All Deakin campuses are proudly smoke-free (that means no smoking or vaping).Deakin says ‘no’ to smoking – this includes our grounds, buildings and carparks, and extends to electronic cigarettes. This is to keep our community healthy and ensure a clean and enjoyable campus experience.

It’s not just Deakin taking this stance – all Victorian universities have similar policies. So if you see someone smoking on campus, politely ask them to butt out!

Find out more about Deakin’s Smoke-Free Campuses Policy.

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