Environmental impact of tobacco

Monday 24 May 1999

ASH/ Press releases/


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Press comment
24th May 1999 Embargo: 00:01
Action on Smoking
and Health

Environmental impact of tobacco

Commenting on the articles in TobaccoControl [1,2] showing tobacco is a major cause of deforestation and pollution, CliveBates, Director of ASH said:

“So much damage is caused to health that it is easy to overlook themany environmental impacts which would be appalling by normal consumer product standards.  From growing the tobacco plant to disposal of butts and packaging, the wholecigarette life-cycle has braod and avoidable impacts.”

“Tobacco is about the worst cash crop imaginable — not only is there the usualland take and intensive pesticide use, but forests are also destroyed to provide wood forcuring.”

“The shift to growing tobacco in developing countries is only moving the problemto where the most endangered forests remain.”


[1] Global assessment of deforestation relatedto tobacco farming, by Helmut Geist 1999;8:18-28

[2] Consumption and production of waste:another externality of tobacco use, by Thomas Novotny and Feng Zhao, Tobacco Control1999;8 75-80

Tobacco Control is a BMJ Specialist Journal.



Contact Clive Bates, ASH Director (020) 7739 5902

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