Smoking is unhealthy – that in itself is nothing new. But also for the planet: Every year, the production and consumption of tobacco releases around 84 million tons of CO2.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is not only bad for your health, but also for the environment.
Every year, the production and consumption of tobacco costs more than eight million lives, 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land and 22 billion tons of water and releases around 84 million tons of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2), the WHO calculates in a new report entitled ” Tobacco: Poisoning Our Planet”. The amount of CO2 corresponds to the emissions of around 17 million petrol-powered cars annually.
Tobacco products contained more than 7,000 toxic chemicals that were released into the environment when discarded, said Rüdiger Krech, WHO director for health promotion, on World No Tobacco Day today. Around 4.5 trillion cigarette filters end up in oceans and rivers, on sidewalks and floors and on beaches every year.
The cost of cleaning up discarded tobacco products is almost always borne by taxpayers, not industry. This costs China about $2.6 billion annually and India about $766 million. According to WHO estimates, the costs for Germany amount to more than 200 million dollars (186 million euros).
For WHO, countries and cities called on the industry to take responsibility for the disposal of tobacco residues. In addition, politicians should consider a ban on cigarette filters. These contained microplastics and are a major contributor to plastic pollution. According to the WHO, however, their health benefits have not been proven.