Cigarette filters may look like harmless cotton bound up in a tight little roll surrounded by yellow paper, but filters are specifically designed and manufactured with a plastic called cellulose acetate, used to accumulate smoke components and toxic chemicals. First of all, nicotine cannot be delivered in its pure form to the smoker, since it is among the deadliest of all insecticides, so this insidious plastic is used to absorb some of the lethal vapors and also to prevent tobacco from entering the smoker’s mouth. Nobody would smoke if their teeth turned brown after one pack. Lastly, the filter serves as a mouthpiece that won’t collapse. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the vapors from the plastic are more detrimental to the body than all of the other 3,999 chemicals in a cigarette. Other materials have been tried, tested, surveyed and manipulated, but all are rejected in favor of the “roasty toasty” flavor acetate produces. In fact, some research shows that the MAIN REASON for cigarette manufacturers continued use of cellulose acetate IS THE TASTE. Tobacco companies spend millions, even billions, researching the best filters.
On top of all that bad news, a polyvinyl acetate emulsion is used as the glue that seams the wrapper. Add to the equation carpet glue from the new “fire safe” cigarettes and you’re guaranteed to be inhaling fumes from burning plastic with every puff. And now, thanks to indoor smoking bans, millions more cigarette butts are accumulating outside of buildings and thus polluting the environment even more. Cigarette butts accumulate because they do not disintegrate for up to 15 years. If one person smokes a pack and a half a day, he/she will consume more than 10,000 cigarettes in just one year. This number of filters would fill five liters. Worldwide annual consumption of cigarettes leaves enough filters around the earth to fill nearly three billion liters. In Australia, cigarette butts account for 50 percent of all litter.