Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra

Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Brad Witt, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.

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Is Resistance Futile? Cigarette Butts Still Dominate Coastal ...

Cigarettes not only kill humans, they kill our oceans.


Deadly Smokes


We all understand that smoking cigarettes is harmful to our health and other people’s health. Cigarette companies then put filters on the smokes to try and influence people’s habitat by saying that the filters were safer because they filtered out the bad stuff in the cigarettes. But we soon found out that the filters were actually worse for smokers because of the materials that were used to manufacture the filters.  But did we know--- that cigarette filters are harmful to our water systems.


A study of burned and unburned cigarettes found that water chemistry and microbes living in Mediterranean beach sediments changed after 4 days of exposure to a cigarette filter.


We see cigarette butts everywhere, on the streets, in the parks, on the sandy beaches, and even poked into driftwood. People constantly toss them out their car windows without a thought or care.

Scientists studied cigarettes thrown about--- cigarette butts are made of a type of plastic called cellulose acetate, and that they are the most common form of plastic on marine coasts. One cigarette butt is estimated to have the potential to contaminate up to 1000 liters of water.


Researchers wanted to first know if smoked or unsmoked cigarette butts could change the amount of metals in the nearby beach sediment. They then wanted to know if the cigarette butts (smoked or unsmoked) could actually change the native microbes living in the beach sediments. Just like we could not live underwater without some type of support, some microbes cannot live under certain conditions like high levels of metals.


scientists immediately burned 12 fresh cigarettes for their filters. Another 12 filters were collected from unsmoked filters. They then placed one cigarette butt into a clear microbe-free tube and added beach sediment (which included beach microbes) and filtered seawater. Each tube sat outside for 4 days to mimic beach conditions. For comparison, a set of tubes with sediment and seawater, but without a cigarette, was also placed outside. After 4 days, they removed the cigarette filters, filtered the seawater, and measured the amount of metals in it using a version of a technique called inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry. DNA was then extracted from all the microbes living in the sediment to see which groups were there. 


The scientists found that seawater in the tubes with smoked filters had higher levels of metals than the unsmoked filters. Regardless of burning, both filters did release iron, manganese, and zinc. 

Both filter types, cadmium, molybdenum, and vanadium decreased in concentration. The scientists proposed it was likely these metals were chemically attracted to the filters. It turns out that the microbes in the tubes with cigarette butts were very different from the microbes living without one. In the tubes with a smoked cigarette butt, the amount of microbe groups varied as there were less Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidetes, but more Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae. They also noted that the increased presence of Gammaproteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae were related to groups adapted to extreme conditions, like high metal concentrations and high temperature. 


Cigarettes introduce metals into an environment and change the local population of microbes, which are a key to a healthy ecosystem. Who would have thought, that cigarettes could do this much damage across the planet?


Smoking has impacted more than we once thought, we now know that smoking cigarettes is bad all the way around.








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