Article, Young cancer survivors

The effects of tobacco on health and the environment

The effects of tobacco on health and the environment
The effects of tobacco on health are well known. However, the environmental impact of tobacco is often overlooked. 

Does the use of tobacco cause cancer?

Tobacco is the world's leading cause of preventable disease and death. Tobacco use is also a major cause of cancer and cancer-related death. People who use tobacco products or are regularly exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (also called second-hand smoke) have an increased risk of cancer because tobacco products and second-hand smoke contain many chemicals that damage DNA.

There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, can expect to live longer than those who continue to smoke.

In addition to these direct effect of tobacco in health, smoking also has a negative impact on the environment and nature. [1] 

Environmental’ Impact of the Tobacco Lifecycle

Tobacco production destroys forests, damages soil, and depletes water supplies, while manufacturing contributes to the production of toxic waste. The environmental impact of tobacco occurs at several stages, including growing, manufacturing, distributing, using, and disposing of tobacco products. Each of these stages has a negative impact on the environment, including the use of valuable resources such as water and trees, and the production of pollutants during the manufacturing process. Tobacco production and consumption also contribute to global warming. [1,2]

Concerns about the environmental costs associated with tobacco production and consumption are growing with the increasing use of electronic smoking devices. These devices contain metals, plastics and batteries that are classified as hazardous toxic waste. [2]

Stop smoking, we all win

It is up to everyone to contribute to a healthier environment free from tobacco waste. If you smoke, the decision to quit is not only good for your health, but also for the health of the planet.

 
 
Authors: 
Liga Portuguesa Contra o Cancro: Cidália Gonçalves, Sónia Silva, Nádia Moura
Region Västerbotten: Peter Hägglöf
 
References:
1-     Zafeiridou M, Hopkinson NS, Voulvoulis N. Cigarette Smoking: An Assessment of Tobacco’s Global Environmental Footprint Across Its Entire Supply Chain. Environ Sci Technol. 2018; 52(15):8087–94
2-     World Health Organization. (‎2022)‎. Tobacco: poisoning our planet. World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240051287

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.