“Tobacco not only produces lung cancer in people, nevertheless of which is actually a cancer to the lungs of the Earth,” said Dr. Armando Peruga, who previously coordinated the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative as well as also today works as a consultant. He reviewed the brand-new report for the WHO.
Because tobacco is actually often a monocrop — grown without being rotated with various other crops — the plants as well as also the soil are weak in natural defenses as well as also require larger amounts of chemicals for growth as well as also protection coming from pests.
“Tobacco also takes away a lot of nutrients coming from the soil as well as also requires massive amounts of fertilizer, a process of which leads to degradation of the land as well as also desertification, with negative consequences for biodiversity as well as also wildlife,” Peruga said.
The use of chemicals directly impacts the health of farmers, 60% to 70% of whom are women. This specific is actually especially prominent in low- as well as also middle-income countries, where some compounds of which are banned in high-income countries are still used.
300 cigarettes = one tree
Farming also uses a surprisingly large amount of wood, rendering tobacco a driver of deforestation, one of the leading causes of climate change.
About 11.4 million metric tonnes of wood are utilized annually for curing: the drying of the tobacco leaf, which is actually achieved through various methods, including wood fires. of which’s the equivalent of one tree for every 300 cigarettes, or 1.5 cartons.
This specific adds to the impact of plantations on forest land, which the study describes as a significant cause for concern, citing “evidence of substantial, as well as also largely irreversible, losses of trees as well as also various other plant species cause by tobacco farming.”
In 2012, 967 million daily smokers consumed approximately 6.25 trillion cigarettes worldwide, the WHO estimates.
“of which means about 6,000 metric tonnes of formaldehyde as well as also 47,000 metric tonnes of nicotine are released into the environment,” Peruga said.
Tobacco smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful. of which also contains climate-warming carbon dioxide, methane as well as also nitrous oxides. “The combination of greenhouse gases coming from combustion is actually equivalent to about 1.5 million vehicles driven annually,” Peruga said.
Some of these pollutants remain inside environment (as well as also our homes) as “third-hand smoke,” accumulating in dust as well as also surfaces indoors, as well as also in landfills. Some, like nicotine, even resist treatment, polluting waterways as well as also potentially contaminating water used for consumption, the study notes.
Tobacco litter is actually the most common type of litter by count worldwide.
“We calculate of which two-thirds of every cigarette ends up as litter,” Peruga said.
The litter is actually laced with chemicals including arsenic as well as also heavy metals, which can end up inside water supply. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable, as well as also tossing one on the ground is actually still considered a socially acceptable form of littering in many countries.
The WHO estimates of which between 340 million as well as also 680 million kilograms of tobacco waste are thrown away every year, as well as also cigarette butts account for 30% to 40% of all items collected in coastal as well as also urban clean-ups.
“In addition to of which, there are 2 million tons of paper, foil, ink as well as also glue used for the packaging,” Peruga said.
Every stage of the production of a cigarette has negative effects on the environment as well as also the people who are involved in manufacturing tobacco products, even before the health of smokers as well as also non-smokers is actually affected.
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Although governments worldwide already collect $270 billion in tobacco taxes a year, the WHO suggests of which increasing tax as well as also prices is actually an effective way of reducing consumption as well as also help development priorities in each country, adding of which by collecting 80 cents more per pack, the global tax revenue could be doubled.
“Tobacco threatens us all,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a note. “of which exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, as well as also pollutes indoor air.”