We already know that cigarettes are bad for health, but it appears that they have a negative impact on the environment as well. The tobacco industry is a real environmental threat and this was proven by a new report, written by scientists from Imperial College London. The report was launched at a World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meeting.
The tobacco industry is using our resources
Tobacco cultivation requires finite resources. For example, back in 2014 six trillion cigarettes were manufactured worldwide. For these, 6,48 Million tonnes of dry tobacco were used, and for their production 32,4 Million tonnes of green tobacco were used. All this lead to 84 Million tonnes CO2 emissions, a dramatic impact on climate change.
“The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems. Tobacco reduces our quality of life as it competes for resources with commodities valuable to livelihoods and development across the world,” explained Professor Nick Voulvoulis, from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial.
Production requires a lot of energy
The curing of tobacco is a process that consumes a lot of energy, and it uses wood burning and coal, contributing to deforestation, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to that, more than 22 billion tonnes of water are used for production.
In China for example, important freshwater resources are used for tobacco production, while the habitats have to deal with water scarcity. “Smokers in the developed world are literally and metaphorically burning the resources of poorer countries,” declared Dr. Nicholas Hopkinson, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial.
Researchers also estimated that a heavy smoker who smokes 20 cigarettes each day for 50 years, is the cause for 1.4 million liters of water depletion.
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