This year the theme ‘Poisoning our Planet’ #TobaccoExposed focuses on the environmental impact of cigarettes. Cigarettes are a source of toxic microplastics, cigarette butts account for 66% of all litter in London. This is in addition to the wider financial, social care and health costs to London, London Boroughs and the smokers who live here.
The harmful impact of the tobacco industry on the environment is vast and growing adding unnecessary pressure to our planet’s already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems.
Tobacco kills over 8 million people every year and destroys our environment, further harming human health, through the cultivation, production, distribution, consumption, and post-consumer waste.
What can I do?
1. Tobacco harms the environment
Tobacco growing, manufacturing and use poison our water, soil, beaches and city streets with chemicals, toxic waste, cigarette butts, including microplastics, and e-cigarette waste. Don’t fall for the tobacco industry’s attempt to try and distract from its environmental harms by greenwashing their products through donations to sustainability initiatives and reporting on environmental “standards” they often set themselves.
2. Make the tobacco industry clean up their mess
The tobacco industry is making profit by destroying the environment and needs to be held accountable for the environmental destruction and made to pay for the waste and damages, including to recover the cost of collecting these wastes.
3. Quit tobacco to save our planet
Every cigarette smoked or tobacco product used wastes precious resources that our existence depends on. Quit tobacco for your health and the health of our planet. Tobacco smoke contributes to higher air pollution levels and contains three kinds of greenhouse gases.
4. Help tobacco farmers switch to sustainable crops
Governments and policy makers should support tobacco farmers to switch to alternative, more sustainable livelihoods to reduce the environmental impact of tobacco growing, curing and manufacturing while continue to implement tobacco control measures.
Learn more about #TobaccoExposed or #WorldNoTobaccoDay at who.int/campaigns/world-no-tobacco-day/2022