Arguments levelled against electronic cigarettes are almost notorious for their sometimes tenuous grasp on the truth. The latest argument given against e cigs comes from the environmental group ‘I Love a Clean San Diego’ who, whilst presumably clutching at straws, claims that electronic cigarette batteries present a fresh new littering epidemic.
Despite being used in many cases as an alternative to the world’s largest cause of litter (cigarette butts), e cigs have enraged the executive director of ‘I Love a Clean San Diego’ Pauline Martinson who claims that “electronic cigarettes pose a different risk for the environment.”
In a report in the International Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Martinson even acknowledged that many electronic cigarettes were reusable – surely something that an environmental group should advocate.
“E-cigarettes are reusable and the cartridge is at a higher price point [than traditional cigarettes] so people are less likely to throw them away," she said. "But the batteries are even more hazardous for the environment. You need to properly dispose the battery—you can't just throw it away.”
It is arguably the most bizarre argument yet against electronic cigarettes, picking up on a component of the electronic cigarette that is prevalent in millions of other products that are used daily and in far great numbers than the electronic cigarette. It is more than 200 years since the first electrical battery entered the marketplace, so they’ve hardly crept up on the environment.
Despite admitting that there was currently no evidence to back up her fears and stating that they had not seen anything drastic as of yet, Martinson ended her report with a somewhat foreboding (if unsubstantiated warning):
“We’ll see the change, if any, as e-cigarettes become more popular. We haven't reached a complete solution—batteries are an even more serious threat.”
There are many battery recycling centres that are free to use in the UK. Furthermore, organisations such as the European Recycling Platform run schemes where used batteries can be collected from UK addresses to make recycling even more convenient.
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