The Smoking Bushfire

The estimated annual burning of the millions of tiny leaves on lips of like number amounts to something of a bushfire with similar environmental impact.

In perspective, let’s say 10 million cigarettes get smoked, burned, in, say, China, daily.  That would in a year be 3.65 billion cigarette sticks, hence, many stubs for the streets.
That’s a lot. How would it stack up?

We could make a conical hill of stubs that is about 20 meters high with a base radius of 18 meters (approx. 1000 square meters). The Smoking Landfill.

How big a bonfire would those cigarettes make on aggregate?

Imagine about three times that for the hill, thus a volume of 22000 square meters would get burned. That’s going to bushfire dimensions, with the associated environmental impact spread in time and space.

22000 square meters is the size of a rectangular tank measuring 100 meters long (think Olympics 100 meter dash), 100 meters wide, and 2.2 metres high (picture Michael Jordan’s height plus about 20 centimeters).

That’s just China, and we think we underestimated the number of cigarettes smoked there per year. We also get a sense of the size of the business; from the farms, through the producers, to the mouths of users. It’s quite some momentum to go against in order to eliminate the consumption—if that is an ideal to seek. There are noted health reasons for this ideal.

Taxation is a noted means to discourage/reduce consumption while lining up the governments pockets to at least support medical remediation for the effects of smoking on citizens. Environmental remediation for the effects of cigarette smoke, or any smoke for that matter, is currently hypothetical.

If the EU is as serious about the climate and environment as they appear to be, should they do something about cigarettes also. Should it still be managed/endured, or eliminated. How can consumption be effectively significantly consistently reduced?
Charge environment tax on cigarettes? What could this achieve?

(Stub/Cigarette diameter assumed to be one centimeter. Stub length assumed to be one inch, i.e., 2.54 centimeters and burned length estimated as three times the stub length.
I think that ten million is a reasonable minimum estimate for the number of cigarettes smoked per day in China; assuming that number, less than one percent of the a publicised 1.3 billion population, smoke one cigarette a day.)


Is this utilitarian business?

… listening to the news with one ear, one report spoke of the record revenues from excise duties in a particular region paid largely by three companies. Two were in the alcohol business (brewery/distillery) and the third was BAT (with the last ‘T’ for tobacco). This report was, on the surface, okay until the next one which spoke of the need to enlighten the people, smokers in particular, about the downsides of smoking, and the need to stop (or never start).

First you keep them in production, mass production, with near unlimited distribution (convenience stores everywhere), and then you try to restrict their market(ing) and limit product take up by teens especially. What other examples are there?

It’s the manufacturing value chain that needed digital terrestrial TV first.
The government is always happy to do spectrum allocation and licensing.
Broadcasters and customers spend on new equipment.
We want more options.
We want more convenience.

Has it been more hype than substance?
What other examples are there?

In addition to the widely reseached health effects of smoking which acknowledges it as very contrary to the physical man, smoker and inhaler alike, it has severally been said to increase the governments’ healthcare burdens significantly. We choose to let them live. They/we/you keep them, and bear with them, at least for the tax that they pay, first. Second, for the fear of a fight against the ‘powerful’—and very rich— companies involved. (Don’t play with a man’s livelihood where he’s got clout that includes an addicted crowd and a happy supply chain.)

Economics sways emotion.
Emotion sways economics.
Who arbitrates?

Maintain the programs to deal with withdrawal symptoms and end addictions.
Control via legalization. Get some money on top of it.
You don’t want to have to find people new jobs for the ones that would be lost if the industry is shut down.

How powerful is the money motive?
But, they who are determined to be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful covetings, the which, sink men into ruin and destruction,— For, a root of all the vices, is the love of money, which, some, being eager for, have been seduced from the faith, and have pierced, themselves, about with many pangs (Rotherhams Bible, 1 Tim. 6). Thinking motivations and contexts.

Who doesn’t like to look good.

You want to belong to a group and still maintain your independence and freedom to break the rules of the group.
One of the dilemmas of governments. And to think of it, some married folks too.
Is there necessarily a dilemma?

Finally, in the extreme (limit, in mathematics), if everyone were smokers then the problems we see with smoking would be amplified. If no one smoked, then what could be the loss or gain to individuals, communities and nations in the long run.