Canadian Lung Association Blog

Save Your Lungs and the Planet this Earth Day!


To mark Earth Day on April 22nd, the BC Lung Association invites you to take a big, deep breath for a smoke-free world and kick the smoking habit for good.

If you’re wondering what reducing tobacco use has to do with saving the planet? Check out this World Health Organization report. It spells out some of the most glaring effects the tobacco industry has on our planet, “Although the global share of agricultural land used for tobacco growing is less than 1 percent, its impact on global deforestation is 2–4 percent. Research suggests that tobacco growing may be up to 10 times more aggressive than the sum of all other factors in regard to deforestation.”

The report also points evidence from internal industry documents indicating the tobacco industry internationally has fought hard to retain the right to use certain pesticides and has sought to influence regulatory processes in some countries.

Here’s a few other things you may not know:

  • The conditions that most tobacco farmers work in are by no means safe. The majority of them will likely develop a disease called “green tobacco sickness” over the course of their career from handling too much tobacco unsafely.
  • Until the 80s, much of the world’s tobacco was grown in the US. Today 85 percent comes from the global south, where tobacco child labor is a major problem.
  • Also, tobacco is a very delicate plant. It requires more nutrients and water than most other crops, and has a tendency to make growing more useful plants (like food) on the same land impossible after the tobacco has been farmed.

“We all know cigarettes don’t just magically appear by themselves. Tobacco is farmed and cultivated, and often very dangerously,” say BC Lung Association Tobacco Education Coordinator Veda Peters. “But you have the power to help stop this abuse, to help stop cigarette companies from taking advantage of their customers and the planet.”

“You have the power to quit,” adds Peters

Speak out against tobacco companies this Earth Day (April 22) by taking your first step towards a healthier you and a healthier world.

Looking for some quit smoking tips or advice?

If live in BC, check out all the FREE tools and resources available through the BC Lung Association’s program.


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Posted in Lung Health, Smoking & Tobacco

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