- Land is diverted away from food production for tobacco farming. This land could produce enough food to feed up to 20 million people.
- 200 million cigarette butts are thrown away every day in the UK. The plastics they contain will take up to 12 years to decompose.
- Globally, 6 million trees are cut down every year to make way for tobacco production.
- In Hull, approximately £900,000 a year is spent on cleaning the city centre which includes collecting 1000 tones of litter – an estimated 400 tonnes (40%) of this debris is smoking related.
The life-cycle of a cigarette has a big impact on the environment.
As global production of tobacco increases, particularly in the developing world, land is being cleared to make way for tobacco farming, and now accounts for an estimated 200,000 hectares of woodland being removed each year.
Climate change (global warming) is caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide and other gases polluting the atmosphere. The tobacco curing process uses heat to dry the tobacco leaves. In many developing countries this heat is produced by felling and then burning trees, whilst others use gas to fuel burners. Both processes produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Clearing vegetation removes a natural filter for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, compounding the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.