The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that the tobacco industry costs the world more than 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water and 84 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
WHO made the revelation in a statement issued on May 31, 2022.
The global health body said majority of tobacco is grown in low-and-middle-income countries, where water and farmland are often desperately needed to produce food for the region. Instead, they are being used to grow deadly tobacco plants, while more and more land is being cleared of forests.
Speaking further on the extent to which tobacco damages both the environment and human health, the Organisation said:
“Every year the tobacco industry costs the world more than 8 million human lives, 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, 22 billion tonnes of water and 84 million tonnes of CO2”.
The WHO report “Tobacco: Poisoning our planet” highlighted that the industry’s carbon footprint from production, processing and transporting tobacco was equivalent to one-fifth of the CO2 produced by the commercial airline industry each year, further contributing to global warming.
“Tobacco products are the most littered item on the planet, containing over 7,000 toxic chemicals, which leech into our environment when discarded. Roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year,” said Dr. Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO.