Environmental experts in Tajikistan are calling on the authorities to ban cigarette filters in the country, saying it would fight pollution and discourage people from smoking.

It turns out that cigarette filters have a significant environmental impact, and not in a good way. 95% of cigarette filters are made of plastic material (cellulose acetate) that may appear like cotton. It is non-biodegradable and may remain toxic for up to ten years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last year called on governments worldwide to consider cigarette filters as single-use plastics and ban them as they damage the environment and have no proven health benefits.

In a statement released on May 31, 2022, WHO says every year the tobacco industry costs the world more than 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200 000 hectares of land, 22 billion tons of water and 84 million tons of CO2.

Roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year.

Cigarette filters contain microplastics and make up the second-highest form of plastic pollution worldwide.

Despite tobacco industry marketing, there is no evidence that filters have any proven health benefits. WHO calls on policy-makers to treat cigarette filters, as what they are, single use plastics, and consider banning cigarette filters to protect public health and the environment.