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Philip Morris International

Climate warning

WHO raises alarm on tobacco industry environmental impact

Extensive work has been done to communicate the health risks of tobacco use, what has been less discussed or documented are the environmental health risks of tobacco cultivation, production, distribution, consumption and waste. WHO has today revealed new information on the extent to which tobacco damages both the environment and human health, calling for steps to make the industry more accountable for the destruction it is causing. The report “Tobacco: Poisoning our planet” highlights that the industry’s carbon footprint from production, processing and transporting tobacco is equivalent to one-fifth of the CO2 produced (84 million tonnes) by the commercial airline industry each year, further contributing to global warming . The majority of tobacco is grown in low-and-middle-income countries, where water and farmland are often desperately needed to produce food for the region and are being used to grow deadly tobacco plants. An estimated of 600 million trees, 200 000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water are lost for tobacco growing every year. Furthermore according to Dr Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO, “Tobacco products are the most littered item on the planet, containing over 7000 toxic chemicals, which leech into our environment when discarded. Roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year.” Products like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes also add to the build-up of plastic pollution. Cigarette filters contain micro-plastics and make up the second-highest form of plastic pollution worldwide. Read more

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  • Peter Kamau

    86 w

    If tobacco isn't good for humans and for the environment too,what then is it good for?This reality qualifies the banning of tobacco in a bid to salvage man and his one and only home (the planet).

    • Marine Stephan

      91 w

      I knew it was contaminating water, but I haven't thought about all these other negative impacts...

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