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Around 267 Billion Cigarettes Are Smoked in the US Each Year Causing 3.3 Million Miles of Discarded Cigarette Filters

By Oliver Smith 9th November 2023 3 Mins


After a report found the damning figure of disposable waste in the US, alarm bells rang for many vaping advocates…with cigarette waste being completely overlooked.

The vaping industry is aware that they have a problem with single-use devices and are becoming increasingly concerned about correct disposal. 

Many brands are now trying to combat the issue with waste collection schemes for the devices or creating packaging that is fully recyclable

But even with the industry trying to change for the better, we are still hit with yet another bashing. 

A new report commissioned by the United States’ Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) detailed the alarming rate at which disposable e-cigarettes were being discarded. 

It estimates that each month in the US alone, vaping customers purchase and consume 11.9 million disposable e-cigarettes. 

Based on that figure in the new report by the US PIRG Education Fund, the waste from disposable vapes sold annually would stretch longer than 7,000 miles if lined up, more than twice the width of the country – a worrying statistic indeed. 

However, what the US PIRG forgot to mention was that the waste from discarded cigarette filters is undeniably more of a cause for concern.

Around 267 billion cigarettes are smoked in the US each year, a monumental difference to the millions of discarded e-cigarettes. 

The standard cigarette size is around 70 millimetres, with the discarded filter taking up 20 millimetres of its total length. 

So, with the amount of cigarettes consumed in the US alone each year, it would measure just over 3.3 million miles of discarded cigarette filters. 

To put that level of waste into perspective, that’s enough distance to travel to the moon and back seven times! 

With that damning figure, one can’t help but think of the glaring hypocrisy of policymakers and waste advocates completely overlooking the detrimental impact cigarettes are having. 

Of course, the vaping industry is currently facing many sustainability problems, however, in recent months brands and regulators have been exploring many techniques to help curb this problem.

 John Dunne, Director General of the UK Vaping Industry Association, said:

“The industry realises that much more must be done to safeguard against their impact on the environment. 

The fact is that disposables have been around for a while but have become hugely popular in the last couple of years, particularly with those on low incomes who are amongst the most prevalent smokers.”

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Oliver Smith