“Tobacco Threatens the Environment” - CBCGDF Released a Public Welfare Promotional Film on Tobacco Control
2022/12/28 16:04:00 本站

Recently, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) released a public welfare promotional film on tobacco control, to enhance the understanding and raise more awareness of tobacco and its environmental impact among the public.

 

The content of this promotional film is as follows:

Just a rise of 2°C in global average temperature will cause permanent damage to the environment. That such words as “once-in-a-century” and “crossing extreme values” appear more and more frequently in weather forecasts means that the distance between mankind and climate disasters has taken another step forward. While fossil fuels have played a huge role in this process, the impact from another industry cannot be underestimated. That is tobacco.

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When we look at tobacco from the perspective of the environment, you will find that tobacco, this hugely profitable industrial empire, is eroding, depleting our soil and forests, and trapping the earth in the rubbish it brings.

 

More and more farmlands are being repurposed for tobacco. Compared with other major grain and cash crops, tobacco plants need to absorb more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which will deplete soil fertility faster and accelerate soil erosion. Once the soil is completely depleted, the tobacco can no longer grow there, and neither can most other plants. Tobacco farmers are also victims of its cultivation.

 

Tobacco farmers face risks of nicotine poisoning, pesticide poisoning, and skin cancer, Dr Gauden Galeathe said, the WHO Representative in China.

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Forests are also under threat from tobacco cultivation. In developing countries, up to 1.7 percent of forest area is lost for tobacco. Without forests, numerous wildlife could have lost its survival basis.

 

Since the 1970s, the world has lost about 1.5 billion hectares of forest, causing greenhouse gases to increase by up to 20 percent a year. In contrast, the production of each cigarette needs to consume about 3.7 liters of water and 3.5 grams of oil, and release about 14 grams of carbon dioxide. The annual greenhouse gas emissions from tobacco industry are equivalent to 84 million tons of carbon dioxide. The resources are fewer and fewer, and the world is warmer and warmer.

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China is one of the largest tobacco growing countries, and also suffers from environmental hazards caused by tobacco. As of the 1990s, the fast-growing tobacco industry caused China to lose about 16,000 hectares of forest and woodland each year due to tobacco cultivation, accounting for 18% of its forest felling.

 

The issue of tobacco waste is equally serious. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true that tobacco waste accounts for the highest proportion of the world’s total waste, which can be 40%. Up to 38% of the trash in ocean cleanups is cigarette butts.

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Every year, about 4.5 trillion cigarette filters, which carry non-biodegradable fibrous materials and toxic substances, are scattered in oceans, rivers, sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches, and are also eaten by mistake by more and more wild animals.

 

Tobacco growing destroys forests, damages soil and depletes water supplies. No matter how much more efficient the tobacco industry becomes, and how much better regulated, the industry will never be environmentally benign, Dr Gauden Galea said.

 

To raise more awareness, World No Tobacco Day 2022 is themed “Tobacco: Threat to our environment” for the first time, directly touching on the environmental impacts of tobacco.

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Before that, the public health community has paid close attention to tobacco control and health issues, and taken action. In 2003, the first international public health treaty, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), was adopted. As one of the signatories, China has begun to implement this tobacco control treaty.Ms. JIANG Yuan, Deputy Chairman of Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said China has won praise from WHO in two areas. The first is supervision and the second is publicity.”

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In 2011, China’s 12th Five-Year Plan clearly put forward the “full implementation of smoking ban in indoor public places”. In 2016, the “Healthy China 2030” blueprint again proposed to “comprehensively promote tobacco control treaty compliance, increase tobacco control efforts, and use price, tax, legal and other means to achieve tobacco control outcomes.

 

Ms. JIANG Yuan said Healthy China 2030 has a very clear goal of reducing our adult smoking rate to less than 20 percent. It is 25.8%.

 

In 2018, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China took the lead in undertaking the implementation of tobacco control treaty. In 2019, the State Council’s Opinions on Implementing the Healthy China Program was released, where the tobacco control action is listed as one of the 15 major special actions of the Healthy China Program (2019-2030). In June of 2022, China has seen 22 smoke-free cities that meet the requirements of the Convention.

 

There are now 57 countries in the world with tobacco control legislation, with a total population of 1.8 billion.Therefore, we still need to make greater efforts on speeding up tobacco control, to ultimately achieve the goal of a smoke-free China, Ms. JIANG Yuan added. China, which has a tobacco production capacity of 3.2 million tons and ranks among the top three in the world, needs a comprehensive tobacco control legislation at the national level, to reduce the demand for tobacco, reduce the prevalence of tobacco, save lives, and protect our planet. China’s judicial system has demonstrated decisive actions in this regard. Since 2019, it has successively given judicial support to such environmental public interest litigation cases as prohibiting the setup of smoking areas adjacent to baby care rooms in shopping malls and in normal train carriages, on the grounds of damaging the indoor public environment and affecting public health. This has achieved significant breakthrough in coordinating environmental protection with tobacco control. These two cases instituted from the perspective of smoking damaging the indoor public environment have also attracted widespread attention and reports from the Chinese media. They are considered to be conducive to promoting the progress of China’s tobacco control legislation, and are of great significance to the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

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Ms. GAO Lihong, Professor of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said Tobacco control is the protection of the people’s right to health. The country should actively take measures to amend the laws on tobacco monopolyconsumption tax,etc., formulate laws and regulations on smoking prevention and control, and promote tobacco control through public interest litigation.

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The Goal 3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, that is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, proposes to reduce premature mortality rate from chronic non-communicable diseases by one-third by 2030, and requires countries around the world to actively promote the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

 

In China, more and more people are gradually realizing that tobacco not only harms their health, but also affects and damages the global environmental health more profoundly. More and more people begin to realize that tobacco control plays a positive role in ensuring soil security, food security, climate security, and biological security. China is also increasing its efforts to control tobacco through various measures. We believe that a leading national-level tobacco control legislation will also be born in China in the near future. China’s influence will continue to play an active role in the global tobacco control field.

 

Data source of this film:
1. Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241512497
2. WHO raises alarm on tobacco industry environmental impact

https://www.who.int/news/item/31-05-2022-who-raises-alarm-on-tobacco-industry-environmental-impact

 

Original Chinese Article: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/6oA4uXJcjIm_ZI3SE3uyxA

Translator: Maggie

Editor: Maggie

Checked by: Sherry      

Contact: V10@cbcgdf.org; +8617319454776

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