On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report giving details of the environmental cost of tobacco which translates to a yearly loss of $1.4 trillion in health-care expenses and lost productivity. According to the report, smoking kills 7 million people a year, and it scars the planet through deforestation, pollution and littering.
“Tobacco not only produces lung cancer in people, but it is a cancer to the lungs of the Earth,” said Dr. Armando Peruga, who reviewed the new report for the WHO.
The report goes on to say, In 2012, 967 million daily smokers consumed approximately 6.25 trillion cigarettes worldwide which means that about 6,000 metric tonnes of formaldehyde and 47,000 metric tonnes of nicotine are released into the environment.
Tobacco smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful. It also contains climate-warming carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides. Secondhand smoke is particularly deadly: It contains twice as much nicotine and 147 times more ammonia than so-called mainstream smoke, leading to close to 1 million deaths annually, 28% of them children. Some of these pollutants remain in the environment as “third-hand smoke,” accumulating in dust and surfaces indoors, and in landfills.
Some, like nicotine, even resist treatment, polluting waterways and potentially contaminating water used for consumption, the study notes. The WHO estimates that between 340 million and 680 million kilograms of tobacco waste are thrown away every year, and cigarette butts account for 30% to 40% of all items collected in coastal and urban clean-ups.
source : lindaikeji.