The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

The student led, student read news organization at Georgia Southern University

The George-Anne Media Group

Vaping Affects More Than Just Our Health

Vanessa Countryman

Over 49% of young people don’t know how to properly dispose of used e-cigarette pods and disposable devices, according to a 2021 cigarette waste report from Truth Initiative, America’s largest nonprofit public health organization.

What’s happening: “More than half of respondents said that they throw away empty pods or empty disposable vapes in the regular trash,” according to the report.

  • 17% young people disposed of empty pods and disposable vapes by putting them in regular recycling not designed for e-cigarette waste and 10% disposed of used pods or disposable vapes by littering on the ground, according to the report.

The GS Environmental Health and Safety Department could not comment on this topic. However, Environmental and Sustainability Specialist Christoper Randle did say that students can view the campus tobacco policy on

“The most commonly used device among current users was disposables (55.3%), followed by prefilled/refillable pods or cartridges (25.2%),” according to the FDA 2022 Findings on Youth Tobacco Use.

What students think: “If vapes and their accessories are just treated as regular trash instead of an electric item like a battery, the chemicals could cause some serious harm to the earth in landfills and leech into the water,” said student Halle Green.

  • “Vape waste is especially bad for the environment because it is three forms of waste in one: plastic waste, hazardous waste, and electronic waste,” said student Laurie DeLoach.
  • “I can see that some people do not dispose of their vapes and pods correctly,” said student Harrison James. “Instead, they simply toss them onto the ground or into the bushes, which can harm the environment.”

Why it’s important: E-cigarettes affect the air, soil and water. As e-cigarette batteries degrade, the heavy metals can leach into soil or groundwater.  

  • “[These toxins] are really a contributor to a larger e-waste problem we have as a society,” said Environmental Health Researcher John Volckens in an interview with NPR.
  • Vapes littered on the streets can break down into microplastics and chemicals that flow into the storm drains to pollute waterways and wildlife.

What else: Safely disposing of e-cigarettes involves appropriate handling of the batteries. Contact local waste departments about their household hazardous waste (HHW) program to see if they accept e-cigarettes. According to the Truth Initiative Report, if HHW is not an option, remove the battery (if possible) and bring the battery to recycling. Then, bring the rest of the e-cigarette to DEA take-back days.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Vanessa Countryman
Vanessa Countryman, Editor-in-Chief, The George-Anne
Vanessa Countryman is the Editor-in-Chief of The George-Anne. She is a Junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and has been with the George-Anne since Fall 2021. You can send news tips to her email at

Comments (0)

All The George-Anne Media Group Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *