Quit smoking, also an eco-friendly choice

Quitting smoking , also an eco-friendly choice

Smoking kills, smoking is expensive, smoking causes cancer. We know it, and that's usually what finally convinces us to stop. But giving up smoking is also a way to reduce its impact on the planet. The proof in numbers.    

From the tobacco plantation to the cigarette butt that often ends up on the sidewalk, cigarettes pollute at all phases of their life (in addition to rotting you health). At the end of the Week for a Tobacco-Free Quebec and with the approach of the J’Quit, I’Win! Challenge, we are looking at the harmful effects of tobacco on the planet, just to finish convincing you! &nbsp ; 

“To measure the impact [of cigarettes] on the environment, you have to analyze its entire life cycle. […] We can immediately note the impacts from an agricultural point of view, during the cultivation of tobacco itself. Next comes production, which also pollutes and requires water and energy resources. Finally, there is also all the pollution at the end of the life of the cigarette: that of cigarette butts”, summarizes Amélie Côté, source reduction analyst at Équiterre. 

The tobacco industry  

  • 32,400 km2: in 2020, 32,400 km2 of arable land (land that can to be plowed and cultivated) were devoted to the cultivation of tobacco. An area larger than that of Gaspésie.  
  • 600 million: it is estimated that tobacco growing is responsible for the disappearance of 600 million trees per year in the world. Pesticides and other chemical inputs used to grow tobacco quickly damage the soil, so deforestation makes it possible to make new plots of land cultivable. The wood is also used for drying tobacco leaves.  
  • The plant that produces tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) being particularly fragile, it requires a lot of water and the use of pesticides which harm biodiversity.  

The cigarette and its butts < /h2>

  • 4.5 billion: 4.5 billion cigarette butts are thrown away every year in the world.  
  • 12< /strong>: a cigarette butt takes an average of 12 years to decompose. Each contains residue of toxic products contained in cigarettes and can contaminate up to 500 liters of water on its own.   
  • 4000: a cigarette contains over 4000 different chemicals. A hundred of them, including nicotine and several heavy metals (lead, mercury, chromium, etc.), are harmful to the environment. 
  • 10% : about 10% of forest fires are caused by cigarette butts; 40 million hectares of forest would thus be destroyed each year. 

Sources: Quebec without tobacco, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UN CC Learn, Center Canada's International Development Research Fund. 

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