By Dr. Tejinder Kataria, Chairperson, Radiation oncology, Cancer center, Medanta – The Medicity
World No Tobacco Day is due on 31st May,2022. The theme of this years No Tobacco Day by WHO is “Tobacco is killing us and our planet”. Tobacco is harmful not only to the human health it has catastrophic consequences for the health of our planet, the only home human beings know of. The cultivation, production, distribution and toxic fumes of tobacco have damaging effects throughout the life cycle of tobacco.
- 5 million hectares of land are destroyed to grow tobacco, contributing to deforestation of 200 000 hectares per year leading to soil degradation.
- Tobacco production needs large quantities of water, fossil fuel and metal resources thereby depleting the earth of its resources.
- Tobacco supply chain and sales worldwide rely on resource-intensive modes of transport contributing to environmental pollution & carbon dioxide to atmosphere.
- Proximately 169 billion pounds of toxic waste is produced by the improperly disposed cigarette butts releasing thousands of chemicals into the air, water and soil.
About 8 million people succumb to tobacco related illnesses including lung diseases, cardiac events, cancer and vascular diseases. Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of illness and death. India has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which has contributed to saving lives since 2005. Tobacco smoking is prohibited across the country in public places, hospitals, airports and railways. However, larger awareness about the harmful effects of chewing tobacco in the form of betel leaf and mouth fresheners needs to be implemented across the country to prevent diseases related to “smokeless tobacco consumption”.
Let us pledge on the World No Tobacco Day 2022 to replace tobacco cultivation with other cash crops that do not deplete the earth’s resources and each one teach one on harmful effects of tobacco on human and planet earth’s health.