May 31 is World No Tobacco Day
In 1987, the Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.
Smoking and smokeless tobacco products are known to cause cancer in humans. They lead to disease and disability and harm nearly every organ of the body. And while the tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year marketing these dangerous products, health care costs in the United States related to tobacco use are in the hundreds of billions.
Environmental impacts of the tobacco lifecycle are some of the lesser-known effects of the global addiction to tobacco products, but they are significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Growing tobacco degrades soil, threatens biodiversity, and exposes farm workers to harmful pesticides and fertilizers.
- Tobacco curing results in global deforestation for farmland and wood burning.
- Tobacco manufacturing produces uses tremendous amounts of water and energy and produces significant hazardous waste and greenhouse gases.
- Transporting tobacco leaf products globally yields significant air pollution.
- Tobacco smoke from cigarettes contributes thousands of metric tons of cancer-causing chemicals, other toxins and greenhouse gasses globally.
- Disposing tobacco and cigarette waste contributes to substantial amounts of litter and leach toxic chemicals into the environment. Additionally, tobacco product packaging creates 2 million tons of waste per year.
To learn more about the impacts of global tobacco production and consumption, check out the resources below: