The new WHO report, entitled “Tobacco: Poisoning our planet”, calculates unpleasant figures. Smoking is said to have a greater impact on the environment than previously thought.

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Every year, the production and consumption of tobacco costs more than eight million lives, 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land and 22 billion tons of water and releases around 84 million tons of climate-damaging carbon dioxide (CO2). The amount of CO2 corresponds to the emissions of around 17 million petrol-powered cars annually.

Tobacco products contained over 7,000 toxic chemicals that were released into the environment when discarded, Ruediger Krech, WHO director for health promotion, said on World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday. Around 4.5 trillion cigarette filters end up in oceans and rivers, on sidewalks and floors and on beaches every year.

The cost of cleaning up discarded tobacco products is almost always borne by taxpayers, not industry. This costs China about $2.6 billion annually and India about $766 million. According to WHO estimates, the costs for Germany amount to more than 200 million dollars (186 million euros).