Tobacco is Harmful at Every Step in Production

August 1st, 2022


The health impacts of tobacco reach far beyond individual users. From production to consumption, industrial tobacco is harmful to health and the environment every step of the way.

Many products are illegal to produce and still share tobacco’s status as harmful from start to finish, with no positive impacts.

Despite this, the tobacco industry spends billions on “greenwashing” — convincing people that tobacco companies don’t have such a bad environmental impact.

Around the world, 3.5 million hectares of land — roughly 10 million football fields — are used only to grow tobacco. Fertilizers and pesticides are used to help keep it growing. Many of those chemicals are harmful to the people applying them as well as to the surrounding environment.

Not only are tobacco growers exposed to pesticides, but they are also at risk of suffering from a type of nicotine poisoning called “green tobacco sickness,” which can happen after coming into contact with wet, fresh tobacco leaves.

Tobacco is typically dried out with low heat from a fire. Forests are cleared to open land for growing and to provide wood for the curing process. That doubly contributes to rising CO2 levels by clearing trees and burning wood.

The process of actually creating tobacco products is the most energy-intensive step in the process. The tobacco industry’s combined emissions during the manufacturing and distribution phases are equal to flying jets on nearly 3 million transatlantic flights.