Smoking cigarettes is already a bad news to us all, now there is more bad news heading your way if you’re a cigarette smoker.
Apparently, WHO is working its way to increase the price of cigarettes and raise the taxes even higher.
It’s a known fact that smoking is injurious to health because it’s what we’ve been hearing our entire lives everywhere.
But one thing no one talks about is how harmful tobacco and the production process of cigarettes is to the environment.
It doesn’t just damage our lungs and cause cancer, it also promotes water pollution, deforestation, and many other environmental issues.
According to a report from a study done by WHO, tobacco farms are accounted for a loss of around 5% of the whole forests in Africa and Asia.
In the last decade, the consumption and the production of cigarettes have grown dramatically.
The manufacturing number has reached six trillion for an estimated one billion smokers in a year.
China, which is the world’s most cigarette consuming country, produces 2.5 trillion cigarettes in a year using thousands of square miles of fertile land and millions of tonnes of water.
What it implies is that as harmful as smoking cigarettes is to a person’s health, producing it is equally harmful to the environment.
Environmental Issues caused by Cigarettes.
According to WHO, producing tobacco is actually more harmful to the environment than producing other essential commodities, for example, food crops.
All over the world, there are more than 22,000 square miles of lands used to farm tobacco. These farms use an estimated 22 billion tonnes of water.
This causes a massive depletion of water around the world.
Apart from water depletion, tobacco farming also causes issues like the use of a high level of pesticides, soil depletion, and child labor, in addition to a huge amount of carbon emission.
Annually, almost 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted into the environment causing climate change with the production of tobacco.
Even though it’s a global issue, more harm goes to the developed countries as more than 90% of the entire production and farming of tobacco is done there.
However, the profits that the tobacco industries make goes almost entirely to the developed countries.
So WHO deciding to raise the cigarette prices is a step they’re taking towards protecting the environment in the first place.
Prof. Nick Voulvoulis from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College said “The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.”
The measures WHO wants the government of all the countries to take in order to protect the environment, as well as the health of the general public, are:
- To increase taxes on cigarettes as well as the rolling papers.
- Impose fines on tobacco companies that contribute to water pollution, deforestation, or any other harm to the environment.
- Eliminate unnecessary packaging.
- Ban single-use filters used with rolling tobacco.