Most young users put disposable e-cigarettes in trash, creating huge streams of toxic and hazardous waste, as companies fail to take responsibility

Disposable e-cigarettes – now the most popular type of e-cigarettes among young people – are not only attracting young people to nicotine use with candy, dessert, and fruit flavors. The single-use plastic devices, which contain lithium batteries and heavy metals, are also creating large streams of toxic and hazardous waste.

A new Truth Initiative survey of 15-24-year-olds finds that two-thirds (68%) of disposable e-cigarette users threw their empty disposable e-cigarettes in the trash, 13% dropped them in regular recycling bins, 9% littered them on the ground, and 8% sent them to electronic recycling facilities. With 19% of current vapers tossing five or more vapes in the trash every month, empty disposable e-cigarettes are piling up and contributing to a growing global e-waste problem.

Truth Initiative first highlighted the environmental dangers of e-cigarettes in the 2021 report “A toxic, plastic problem: E-cigarette waste and the environment,” which found that more than half (51%) of young e-cigarette users threw used e-cigarette pods or empty disposables in the trash. Now, new data reveal the situation has gotten worse as the popularity of disposables has grown. Meanwhile, safe disposal guidance for vapes and their components is virtually non-existent from manufacturers.

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