Cigarettes have been commercially marketed and sold in the United States for over 100 years. The negative health effects of tobacco have been public knowledge for at least the last 50 years. The death and disease caused by tobacco has long been an epidemic that has plagued the United States and the world. So what would happen if tobacco products simply disappeared tomorrow?
A healthier environment
If tobacco vanished tomorrow, there would be many positive impacts on the environment. There would be a 5% reduction in global deforestation, because almost 500,000 acres a year are destroyed due to tobacco farming. There would be fewer pesticides and chemicals causing soil and water pollution, and fewer forest fires. Perhaps most impressively, if tobacco vanished, so would the 845,000 tons of new toxic trash produced by cigarette butts each year.
Fewer financial costs to society
In the United States, more than $156 billion a year of productivity is lost due to deaths from tobacco and diseases caused by second hand smoke. Another $170 billion goes to direct medical costs for smokers. If tobacco vanished, so would those costs to society.
But most importantly, more lives saved
Researchers estimate that the 1964 Surgeon General’s report and the tobacco control efforts that followed it have saved approximately 8 million lives in the U.S. While this figure is staggering, what would happen if the world became completely tobacco free? Worldwide, tobacco causes nearly 6 million deaths per year now, and is anticipated to cause more than 8 million deaths a year by 2030 if current trends continue. In the next 20 years, we could lose 132 million lives worldwide to tobacco related deaths. If tobacco use vanished tomorrow all those lives could be saved.
At ASH, we are working towards a world free from tobacco and a world where all of the above is possible. Watch our video and help us make tobacco vanish by making a donation today!
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