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Home > Cigarette smoking: an assessment of tobacco’s global environmental footprint across its entire supply chain, and policy strategies to reduce it.

Zafeiridou, Maria and Hopkinson, Nicholas and Voulvoulis, Nikolaos (2018) Cigarette smoking: an assessment of tobacco’s global environmental footprint across its entire supply chain, and policy strategies to reduce it. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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Cigarette production and consumption have seen dramatic growth in recent decades and although the health effects of smoking are widely recognized, its impacts on the environment are largely overlooked. From tobacco cultivation and curing, to cigarette manufacturing, distribution, consumption and discarding, every stage in the global tobacco supply chain involves considerable resource inputs, and results in the production of wastes and emissions. Consequently, tobacco puts pressure on the planet’s already stressed natural resources and its fragile ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods and future development of communities around the world.

Tobacco’s total environmental footprint is comparable to that of entire countries and its production is often more environmentally damaging than that of essential commodities such as food crops. For the six trillion cigarettes manufactured annually, 32.4 Mt of green tobacco are cultivated on 4 million ha of arable land and are then processed into 6.48 Mt of dry tobacco worldwide. Globally, the tobacco supply chain contributes almost 84 Mt CO2 eq emissions to climate change, 490,000 tonne 1,4-DB eq to ecosystem ecotoxicity levels, over 22 billion m3 to water and 21 Mt oil eq to fossil fuel depletion annually.

As a result of the shift of tobacco production from richer to poorer regions, these environmental impacts are not felt equally around the world. Developing countries and the most vulnerable communities bear most of the burden. The environmental damage that tobacco causes, on top of its negative health, social and economic impacts, makes it incompatible with the global development agenda. Reducing and ultimately eliminating cigarette production and consumption should be an integral part of strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (including goals 12, 13, 14, and 15).


Item Type
Report
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Tobacco / Nicotine
Intervention Type
General / Comprehensive, Harm reduction, Policy
Source
Date
October 2018
Pages
48 p.
Publisher
World Health Organization
Place of Publication
Geneva
EndNote

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