Resources Environment

Cigarette Smoking: An Assessment of Tobacco’s Global Environmental Footprint Across Its Entire Supply Chain

July 3, 2018

This research published in Environmental Science and Technology examines the devastating impact of tobacco production across the entire supply chain. Important highlights include:

  • Tobacco farming, irrigation and fertilizer use drive more than 70% of the environmental damage
  • Burning wood and coal during the tobacco curing stage accounts for more carbon emission than all other stages combined
  • A person smoking a pack a day for 50 years has a carbon footprint that would require 132 tree seedlings grown for 10 years to offset
  • Cigarette filters, paper and packaging exacerbate tobacco’s environmental footprint
  • Tobacco production consumes land and fresh water resources that otherwise could help address food and water scarcity

These findings offer insight into the tremendous burden tobacco places on the global environment. The authors suggest that tobacco control would not only protect human health, it would also protect the environment and societies’ right to sustainable development.