WHO Says Tobacco Causes Major Harm to the Environment

The UN agency has called for the tobacco industry to compensate for its products that are harmful.

A new World Health Organization statement calls on the tobacco industry to compensate for its products that contribute to greenhouse gases; it says the industry causes "massive harm" to the environment. WHO says the life cycle of tobacco is to blame, not just the act of smoking.

"Tobacco growing, the manufacture of tobacco products, and their delivery to retailers all have severe environmental consequences, including deforestation, the use of fossil fuels, and the dumping or leaking of waste products into the natural environment," Oleg Chestnov, WHO's assistant director-general, said in the report to mark World No Tobacco Day on Wednesday.

The report mentions that some of the chemicals used to maintain the plants are harmful to the environment, as well as the health of the farmers. "Tobacco threatens us all," said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. "Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air. But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries' futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes."

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