‘Cost of cigarettes must rise to reflect environmental damage from tobacco industry’ – WHO
“Although the health effects of smoking are widely recognized, its impacts on the
environment are largely overlooked. From tobacco cultivation and curing, to cigarette
manufacturing, distribution, consumption and discarding, every stage in the global tobacco
supply chain involves considerable resource inputs, and results in the production of wastes
and emissions. Consequently, tobacco puts pressure on the planet’s already stressed natural
resources and its fragile ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods and future development of
communities around the world.”
So says the introduction to a new report from WHO.
Tobacco’s total environmental footprint is comparable to that of entire countries and its production is often more environmentally damaging than that of essential commodities such as food crops.
As a result of the shift of tobacco production from richer to poorer regions, these environmental impacts are not felt equally around the world. Developing countries and the most vulnerable communities bear most of the burden.
The environmental damage that tobacco causes, on top of its negative health, social and economic impacts, makes it incompatible with the global development agenda. Reducing and ultimately eliminating cigarette production and consumption should be an integral part of strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Using the ‘polluter pays’ argument would mean a rise in tobacco prices to offset the environmental damage. Yet another reason to quit in ‘Stoptober‘!
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