World no Tobacco Day is observed on 31st May every year, The theme is “Protect the environment”, highlighting that, throughout its lifecycle, tobacco pollutes the planet and damages the health of all people. Tobacco is not only harmful to humans but also to our environment. Did we know that one cigarette butt in one litre of water is toxic enough to kill a fish or that maximum litter in the world is caused by the cigarette butts, which are non-biodegradable. There are many facts which are not known to the common people.
Talking on the World No Tobacco Day, Dr Vijay Anand Reddy Director Apollo Cancer Hospital and Patron of the Voice of Tobacco Victims Campaign said, “Tobacco not only kills its best customers but also destroys our environment. This is a product that kills 13.5 lac Indians every year. The distress caused to these 13.5 lac is estimated ten times. 600 million trees are literally burnt to cure tobacco. The only option India left with currently is to reduce the demand and demand reduction can be done through the interventions such as the Tobacco Free Educational Institutions (ToFEI). If we are able to stop the initiation, it will reduce the demand thereby controlling the damage to the environment.”
If we all are under an impression that tobacco industry is an environment-friendly or environment-neutral industry, it is a sham. Especially, when we know that tobacco is killing more than 7 million people every year globally and 13.5 lakh Indians. This is currently the world’s single-most reversible cause of death. In case we are not aware, about 560 cigarette manufacturing facilities in the world produce more than 6 trillion cigarettes every year. It has consequences on the environment such as deforestation, the use of fossil fuels and the dumping or leaking of waste products.
Dr Reddy said, “India has very good tobacco control laws and programs which focus on prevention. However, implementation is a great challenge. Tobacco maybe a health issue, but one of the best solutions is working with the youth to prevent the initiation.”