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The World Health Organization warns that smoking is not only harmful to health, but also to the environment

This content was published on May 30, 2022 – 22:06

Geneva, May 31 (EFE). In addition to its harmful effect on human health by causing about 8 million deaths annually, tobacco generates tons of waste, destroys forests and contributes to global warming, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warns this year on World No Tobacco Day.

On this year’s Awareness Day, which carried the slogan “Tobacco poisons our planet”, the organization demonstrated the negative environmental impact of an industry that annually costs 600 million trees, 200 thousand hectares of land, 22 thousand tons of water, and emits 84 thousand million tons. from carbon dioxide.

Its emissions are equivalent to one-fifth of those of civil aviation, so tobacco is also an important contributor to climate change, the World Health Organization notes in a day highlighting the particular damage to the industry in developing countries, where most crops are located.

In these economies, the organization lamented, “Water and land are badly needed to produce food, but instead are used for deadly tobacco plants, while forests are being destroyed to get more land.”

To this must be added the negative impact of waste derived from tobacco: butt filters, which contain plastic particles, are the second major source of plastic pollution on the planet.

The director warned that “tobacco residue, one of the most common types of waste on the planet, contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals that destroy our environment. About 4.5 billion filters pollute our oceans, rivers, sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year.” From the World Health Organization for Health Promotion, Rüdiger Kretsch.

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In this sense, the WHO has highlighted the heavy price that taxpayers generally pay for cleaning up tobacco waste for many governments: it costs China about $2,600 million annually, India $766 million, and Brazil and Germany over .200 million each. .

In this regard, the Geneva-based body commends the initiatives of countries such as Spain or France, as well as cities such as San Francisco (USA), which have put in place legislation so that the tobacco industry pays for the cost of cleaning up their waste.

“We urge other countries and cities to follow suit and also ask them to support farmers in substituting tobacco crops, imposing higher taxes on these products and providing services to help people quit smoking,” he said.

The organization calls for “treating cigarette filters for what they are, single-use plastics” and for this reason should consider banning them to protect health and the environment, as the World Health Organization asserts, in addition, that there is no evidence that these filters have some benefits for human health. EFE

abc / fpa

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