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Scientific research suggests smoking is not only harmful to an individual’s health, but to the environment, as well, according to phys.org.

In a bit of a twist to most studies centered on the effects of smoking traditional cigarettes, researchers from Imperial College London released their findings at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) in Geneva, following publication in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. The conclusion? smoking’s impact on the environment is terrible.

The associates of Imperial College London produced scientific analysis suggesting the six trillion cigarettes produced annually adversely effects the health of our planet.

Vaping, anyone?

The sheer number of combustible cigarettes produced adds toxicity and promotes climate change. Water and land use are also negatively impacted. The study indicated the production of tobacco-laced cigarettes contributes to energy and fuel depletion and pollution of the soil and water, according to phys.org.

“The environmental impacts of cigarette smoking, from cradle to grave, add significant pressures to the planet’s increasingly scarce resources and fragile ecosystems,” Imperial College London Professor Nick Voulvoulis said. “Tobacco reduces our quality of life as it competes for resources with commodities valuable to livelihoods and development across the world.”

Voulvoulis is associated with the Centre for Environmental Policy at the college.
The study went on to say the resources used to aid the tobacco industry, such as land dedicated to growing tobacco, could be better served by growing another cash crop, like food.

The situation may be worse than most realize. The study claimed the world’s farmers will not be able to meet the rising demand for food by 2050.

Take China, for example.

A global leader in cultivating tobacco, China dedicates over 1.5 million hectares of arable land to grow tobacco leaves. Just think of all the fresh water and resources needed for full harvest.

Yet 134 million citizens are classified as undernourished, according to phys.org.

“Smokers in the developed world are literally and metaphorically burning the resources of poorer countries,” Imperial College London’s Dr. Nicholas Hopkinson said. Hopkinson is associated with the college’s National Heart and Lung Institute.

See? Switching to an electronic cigarette is not just better for you — it’s better for the planet too.

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