A hate for tobacco

An article from Phys.org discusses the findings of a new report from scientists at Imperial College London that shows six trillion cigarettes, produced annually, can influence climate change, water and land use, and toxicity.

It goes on to detail how the process of farming tobacco leads to significant land use, water consumption, use of pesticides and labour, and states that these blatantly obvious elements of any sort of commodity farming are “all finite resources that might be put to better use.”

Pardon my French, but no shit, Sherlock.

The article explains how the process of curing tobacco in a kiln is energy intensive, “using coal or wood burning that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.”


My family’s tobacco farm uses kilns to dry, or cure the leaves, which use natural gas and electricity to function. Definitely not coal or wood.

The article says “the transport and manufacture of cigarettes, as well as their final use and disposal, also use more resources and leave further waste.”

Cigarette butts are a problematic source of waste, however, the transportation and manufacturing of cigarettes fail to use more resources than, say, a vehicle manufacturing plant, as an example.

It claims “… the impact of tobacco against other crops that typically require fewer inputs. Moreover, the yield of these crops is in many cases considerably higher than that of tobacco. For example, in Zimbabwe a hectare of land could produce 19 times more potatoes than the 1–1.2 tonnes of tobacco currently cultivated.”

Perhaps in Zimbabwe this is the case, but soil composition is not equal across the globe. Clay, for example, may produce lower yields of any sort of crop because of its tendency to hold onto water and its poor drainage, whereas sand has better drainage and is easier to work with. Tobacco is not to blame for the soil conditions in Zimbabwe.

I realize that the article and the author are simply referencing findings from the report, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. I am not trying to attack the author, but I am, however, targeting the researchers who conducted this study.

Why does tobacco receive so much hatred? Yes, tobacco is used in cigarettes which can lead to a multitude of health and environmental consequences. But why doesn’t barely get the same amount of hate for being used to produce alcohol, a substance with similar consequences to tobacco when used in excess? Or potatoes for their involvement in vodka production?

Do you get my point?

Image from Photo on <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/7714a3″>VisualHunt</a&gt;


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