Don’t be surprised if someday soon cigarette manufacturers are required to modify their warning labels.
At the online Handelsblatt (Germany’s version of the Financial Times), Michael Kuhndt of the Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production gGmbH replies to a reader’s inquiry on how smoking impacts climate change. Read here.
This is all part of a campaign by the Handelsblatt in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Yes – smoking is not only bad for your health, but also helps to kill the climate. According the World Health Organisation, about 1.1 billion people worldwide smoke, and this number is expected to triple over the next 25 years.
All that smoke and tobacco farming will surely have an impact on the climate. Smoking alone spews 2.6 million tons of CO2 and 5.2 million tons of methane into the atmosphere every year, says Kuhndt.
But that’s not the worst part, tobbacco farming and disposing of waste has impacts on the environment too. The widespread monoculture inherent in growing tobacco extracts six times more potassium from the soil than growing other plants does.
But now comes the big hammer: 150 kg of wood are needed for drying one kilogram of tobacco, which converts to 1.2 million hectares of forest. About 600 million trees are chopped down annually to make room for tobacco plants. These trees could remove 22 million tons of the climate-killing gas yearly.
Not only that, all those cigarette filters end up on the ground and contaminate the groundwater with nicotine, dioxin, formaldehyde and cadmium, so claims Kuhndt.
Great, now we can blame the next NYC snowstorm on smokers.
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