[Answered] Tobacco is not just a bane to human health, but also to the environment. Discuss and suggest remedial measures for reducing the usage of Tobacco.

Introduction: contextual introduction.
Body: Write in brief about how tobacco harms both human health and environment. Write some remedial measures for reducing the usage of Tobacco.
Conclusion: Give some suggestions.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey by WHO, estimated that 28.6% of all adults in India used tobacco in 2016-2017, second only to China. The survey reports 42.4% of men and 14.2% of women used tobacco. It also causes damage to environment by releasing toxic pollutants to the environment.

Harm to health and environment:

  • According to the WHO, 600 million trees are chopped down annually to make cigarettes. 84 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere, and 22 billion litres of water are used to make cigarettes.
  • In addition to the environmental costs of production, cigarette butts, packaging, plastic pouches of smokeless tobacco, and electronics and batteries associated with e-cigarettes pollute our environment.
  • According to WHO, although farming of tobacco only contributes to 1% of GDP, the direct health expenditure on treating tobacco-related diseases alone accounts for 5.3% of total health spending in India in a year.

Measures for reducing the usage of Tobacco:

  • Taxation:The use of pricing measures and taxation is known to be one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing demand for tobacco products.
  • Involving NGOs and Private sector:These efforts should be coupled with collaboration with the private sector, civil society organisations, academia, to spread awareness and also suggest policy measures.
  • Education:Harmful effects of tobacco use should be incorporated in school curriculum at various levels starting right from the primary school level.
  • Behavioural aspects: A combination of behavioural support and treatment approaches are most effective to help smokers to quit.
  • Harm reduction policies:As the majority of the steps to stop the usage of tobacco have failed, tobacco harm reduction (THR) policies should also be tried by the government. Under these policies, people are encouraged to use less harmful products.
  • Large pictorial or graphic health warnings, including plain packaging, with hard hitting messages can persuade more smokers to quit tobacco use.

Educating potential consumers to not consume tobacco, supporting consumers in their journey to quit, and incentivising industry to help consumers and the planet will protect not just our lungs, but also the air we breathe.

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