The smoke from billions of burning cigarettes could soon be counted in Hong Kong’s official air pollution statistics, as the city’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) pledged to consider including cigarette smoke in its next annual emissions inventory. “EPD will review and update the emission inventory based on the best available information and methodologies. We will consider including cigarette smoke emission under the category of “Other Combustion” in the next update,” a spokesperson for the agency told Blue Skies China. The next update would be published around April 2018, compiling 2016 figures.
The EPD says the annual VOC emissions from cigarette smoking are estimated to be around 19 tonnes, while the annual RSP [respirable suspended particulate] emissions from cigarettes are estimated at 72 tonnes, accounting for 1.3% of Hong Kong’s total RSP emissions in 2015 (5,430 tonnes).
These figures place cigarettes as a small yet significant pollution source: total annual cigarette smoke RSP is 144% that of the 2015 reported figures for civil aviation (50 tonnes), 15% of road transport (490 tonnes) and 12% of power generation (580 tonnes).