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GBHU marking World No Tobacco Day

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GBHU marking World No Tobacco Day

 

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is joining public health organizations worldwide on World No Tobacco Day, May 31, to shine a light on the harms the tobacco industry continues to cause to the environment and the health of people who use their products.

 

The theme of this year’s global campaign by the World Health Organization is “Tobacco: Threat to Our Environment.”

 

Tobacco destroys the environment and pollutes the planet throughout its lifecycle, from the growing and cultivation stages to the manufacturing, distribution and use of tobacco products and post-consumer waste. These environmental impacts further harm human health and contribute to climate change.

 

“We know many Grey-Bruce residents, including our youth, are deeply concerned about the impact of human activities on air, water and soil,” says Jason Weppler, program manager at the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

 

“Deciding to never smoke or vape or quitting vaping or smoking is an important action individuals and youth can take to help protect the planet and play a role in reducing the impacts of climate change.”

 

Nearly 84 per cent of youth who participated in a 2021 Ontario Student Drug Use and Mental Health Survey reported feeling some level of worry about climate change and nearly half of the respondents reported feeling depressed about the future due to climate change.

 

According to the WHO, about 3.5 million hectares of land are destroyed worldwide each year for growing tobacco, which also contributes to the deforestation of 200,000 hectares annually. Tobacco farming depletes soil and utilizes fertile land that could be used to grow nutritious crops, further contributing to food insecurity.

 

Growing tobacco depletes water tables, while producing tobacco contributes almost 84 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually.

 

The tobacco lifecycle generates about 25 million metric tons of waste each year worldwide, while about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded in the environment annually, releasing thousands of chemicals into the air, water and soil. E-cigarettes contain plastics, heavy metals and electronic waste that aren’t biodegradable.

 

The human impact of tobacco use is a serious concern to Public Health. The WHO says the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people annually, including 1.2 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

 

E-cigarettes produce an aerosol made up of toxic substances and fine particles that are known to have detrimental effects on respiratory and cardiovascular health. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.

 

The Grey Bruce Health Unit’s website contains information on supports available for youth and others to quit vaping and smoking.

 

For More Information:

To connect with the medical officer of health or the program manager, please contact:

Denis Langlois, Communications Co-ordinator,

Grey Bruce Health Unit,

519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1315,

Communications@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca

 

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