Cigarette smoking: the new report by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
An assessment of tobacco’s global environmental footprint across its entire supply chain, and policy strategies to reduce it
The production and consumption of cigarettes have seen a dramatic increase in the last decades, despite the harmful effects of tobacco smoke on health and the environment are now widely recognized. From the cultivation of tobacco to the production, distribution and consumption of cigarettes, each step in the tobacco supply chain involves a considerable consumption of resources and results in production of waste and emissions. This puts pressure on the already compromised natural resources of the planet and its fragile ecosystems, threatening the livelihoods and future development of communities around the world. The total environmental footprint of tobacco is comparable to that of whole countries and its production is often more harmful to the environment than essential goods such as food crops. Globally, the tobacco supply chain contributes to CO2 emissions and climate change, as well as to the depletion of natural resources such as water and fossil fuels. As tobacco production has shifted from the richest to the poorest countries, the resulting environmental impact is not equally distributed globally. Therefore, developing countries are those in which the most vulnerable communities reside. Reducing and eventually abolishing the production and consumption of cigarettes should be an integral part of the strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).