Carbon footprint of the cigarette industry - an analysis from India
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International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A395
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Background and challenges to implementation:
When accounted for the entire lifecycle for its production, cigarettes are devastating for global and local environment - from clearing of forests (reduces carbon capture potential of soils, food security, erosion of biodiversity and soils, impact of water table etc..), cultivation (use of pesticides, soil erosion), curing (high use of wood and emissions), storage (use of fumigants like methyl bromide), packaging (using virgin pulp and paper) and disposal of packaging and cigarette.

Intervention or response:
This study uses "the whole of the lifecycle" approach to measure carbon emissions of an average cigarette (from energy used for farming to energy consumed to make raw materials and manufacturing of the product, right through to its use, reuse and disposal or recycling) and compare this with other commonly used products. We using the open source software developed by UNFCC. Data was procured from open accessed data from the 2009 sustainability report of India´s leading cigarette manufacturer (Indian Tobacco Company, ITC).

Results and lessons learnt:
Deriving the carbon produced to make and dispose one cigarette, this study conservatively estimates that in 2010, India which produced 100,000 million cigarettes would have emitted nearly 67500 tCO2e to produce these (limited lifecycle, no historical emission and mitigation ability is considered, leaf for export not considered).

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Given that manufacturing cigarette has a deep and significant environmental footprint makes for a strong case on environmental grounds to cease production of tobacco and production of tobacco products. To do this, tobacco control advocates need to reach out to environmental organisations, many of whom receive financial support from tobacco companies, which is an inherent conflict of interest. Environmental organisations are oblivious of this paradox.

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