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Why You Shouldn't Smoke Alongside a Green Beauty Routine—and What to Do Instead

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Woman putting on moisturiser

Green beauty means ensuring your skincare and makeup routines (plus your overall lifestyle) are geared toward eco-friendliness. If you're a smoker, that means rethinking your habit. In our previous 'What is the difference between vegan and cruelty-free beauty products?' article, we defined our ideal product usage as tending toward commodities that don't involve animals in their ingredients or testing. Cigarettes don't meet this standard. Furthermore, they often have detrimental effects on your beauty and skin health. To better inform you, here's an overview of why you shouldn't smoke alongside a green beauty routine— and what to do instead.

How smoking impacts green beauty routines - The environmental impact of cigarettes If you're aiming for green beauty, you have to know that the impact of a cigarette isn't limited to just its smoker. According to a 2022 article from the World Health Organization, the cultivation of tobacco—a key ingredient in cigarettes—costs the world 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water, 84 million tonnes of CO2, and eight million human lives annually. Even worse, tobacco is often grown in areas where water and farmland are scarce, depriving locals of the resources to produce food and other crops. However, because of the continued demand, tobacco companies can justify taking up these assets. That's not even mentioning the damage cigarettes can cause after they've been smoked. Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette filters circulate oceans, rivers, sidewalks, and parks annually. These filters contain microplastics that can harm the health of fauna and wildlife—and because of how widespread cigarette filters are, they make up the second-highest form of plastic pollution in the globe. Environmental cleanup also costs countries billions, and the burden of paying for it rests on taxpayers rather than the industry. In short, cigarettes have a clear negative impact on the environment.

How cigarettes can damage the skin

You might have heard about how smoking cigarettes can harm your health. What you might not have heard is that cigarettes can also hurt your skin and its appearance. A Medical News Today article describes some of these effects, including how tobacco smoke causes stress on your skin fibroblasts. It impairs the production of collagen—the protein responsible for maintaining elasticity in your body. This eventually results in your skin wrinkling and sagging. Smoking also encourages melanocyte formation, which can discolor your skin and cause age spots. Lastly, smoking can also worsen acne outbreaks. Overall, cigarette usage isn't good for skin health.

What you should do instead Switch to sustainable smoking alternatives

Given how smoking detracts from your green beauty routine, it's ultimately best to ditch cigarettes in favour of more sustainable smoking habits. Smokeless and tobacco-free products like nicotine pouches and lozenges are great if you wish to quit smoking in the long run and prevent the habit from further damaging the environment and your skin. Nicotine pouches are used by fitting it between your upper lip and gums and then letting the nicotine disseminate. You can start with On!'s nicotine pouches, which you can get for as little as $3.49 per can. They're sustainable, too—the pouch material is made of biodegradable plant fibers, their flavorings are derived from natural sources, and they come in a can for easy disposal. You could also opt for nicotine lozenges, candy-like tablets infused with nicotine. Using them is as simple as letting one sit in your mouth until it dissolves. Try Nicorette lozenges—its ingredients are also sourced from natural products, and you can get 72 pieces for $50. Moreover, their soluble quality ensures you have nothing to discard but their cardboard container.

Revamp your green beauty routine to reverse the damage While cigarette usage can harm your looks, you can reverse that damage with time and a well-designed green beauty routine. You'll want to aim for the aspects of your skin that smoking deteriorates and find green products to help counteract it. Aloe vera, for example, supports collagen production—you can get a cleanser from an ethical brand like Hanalei that uses it as a main ingredient. You can also find easy, all-natural fixes. Applying apple cider vinegar, for instance, is also an excellent way to correct uneven skin tone, no manufactured product is required. Smoking is incompatible with a green beauty routine—both in terms of sprucing up your appearance and taking care of the environment. Overall, it's best to switch to more sustainable beauty habits.

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