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Governments must protect the environment and the health of persons in relation to the environment in respect of tobacco cultivation and manufacture (WHO FCTC Article 18).
Governments should make tobacco companies accountable for the damage that they cause to the environment. This can be an additional tax built into the retail price of tobacco products, or a surcharge to cover the environmental costs of tobacco production, consumption, and the clean-up costs of tobacco waste products.
Cigarette butts are made of single-use plastic (cellulose acetate) and contain thousands of toxic chemicals that poison the environment and human health.
It is estimated that around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered every year globally, generating up to 680 million kilograms of toxic rubbish each year, making cigarette butts the most littered item in the world.
Tobacco pesticides and fertilizers in the soil and waterways wind up in the food of animals and people. Contaminated soil and waterways harm humans and destroy our ecosystem.
Tobacco plants require large quantities of chemicals (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fumigants) and growth regulators (growth inhibitors and ripening agents) to control pest or disease outbreaks.
Farmers use organic pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and 11 other persistent organic pollutants that are banned in high-income countries.
Health effects from chronic exposure to certain pesticides include birth defects, benign and malignant tumors, genetic changes, blood disorders, neurological disorders and endocrine disruption.