‘Quit Smoking For Your Health,
And For The Health Of The Planet’


Marking World No Tobacco Day 2022, Irish environmental organisation Global Action Plan has said that new research shows that the production and use of tobacco is not only bad for people’s health but also has detrimental effects on our natural environment. 

“In recent years, we have all become aware of the dangers of smoking. What is less well known is that growing, manufacturing and using tobacco means that we are also polluting our water, soil, beaches and streets with chemicals and micro-plastics,” said Hans Zomer, CEO of Global Action Plan.

World No Tobacco Day is observed on 31 May each year, to raise awareness about the damage caused by consuming tobacco. The United Nations estimate that worldwide more than eight million people die every year due to tobacco use and that, on present trends, this figure is expected to rise significantly by 2030. 

“In Ireland in recent years, we have seen a big decline in the number of people who smoke regularly. This change is hugely positive and is due to changes in regulation and better understanding of the health risks associated with smoking. Today, on World No Tobacco Day we want to further boost the downward trend, by alerting people to the detrimental impact tobacco producers and tobacco users are having on the environment,” continued Zomer.

“No tobacco means healthier people, and a healthier planet,” said Hans Zomer.  

Cigarette smoking releases 84,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but figures from the UN show that the tobacco industry also causes environmental damage: 

  • Across the globe around 3.5 million hectares of land are cleared to grow tobacco each year. Growing tobacco also contributes to soil degradation and the deforestation of 200,000 hectares a year.
  • 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are not disposed of properly every year across the globe.
  • Cigarette filters, made of cellulose acetate, a man-made plastic material, can take up to 10 years to completely degrade, and the chemicals they release can remain in the environment for many more years, poisoning freshwater and marine organisms.

“The story of tobacco is one of how behaviours are changing. In recent years people in Ireland have learned how we can help people to quit smoking, and we have seen how important behaviour change techniques can be, and how crucial external support is in this context.”

“Today, on World No Tobacco Day, we want to give people an extra reason to stop smoking, by highlighting that their habits are funding an industry that not only harms people’s health but also does enormous damage to our natural world” 

“We are encouraging people to do their part, by reminding others of the dangers of smoking, by reading up on the issue, and by ensuring that cigarette butts find their way to the waste bins, not our environment,” concluded Global Action Plan CEO Hans Zomer. 

Smoking causes deforestation
Smoking causes CO2 emissions
No Tobacco equals a healthier planet
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