According to Adriana Blanco Marquizo, director of the tobacco control department at WHO, tobacco is also very bad for the environment. Indeed, in addition to the fact that tobacco kills more than 8 million smokers each year in the world, that it has a strong impact on health spending and that it induces colossal losses in productivity, the latter also has strong environmental consequences deleterious. It is in fact responsible for 5% of deforestation on the globe and leads to the loss of 200,000 hectares of wooded biomass each year.
This deforestation is linked on the one hand to the cultivation of tobacco, which requires agricultural land, and on the other hand, to the wood used as fuel to dry the leaves. In addition, cultivation exposes farmers to significant health risks linked to the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides. Likewise, the picking of tobacco exposes the pickers to consequent burns of the hands.
In this context, WHO calls on governments to better regulate tobacco cultivation and to help growers switch to more environmentally friendly crops. According to Adriana Blanco, the tobacco industry is pushing around the world for policies that exonerate it from any environmental liability. In short, the fight against tobacco also involves protecting the environment.
Blog Tobacco Control. Planet earth: another victim of the tobacco epidemic. Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo. https://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2021/02/11/planet-earth-another-victim-of-the-tobacco-epidemic/
© Photo credit: Felix Mittermeier