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Be tobacco-free and save our planet


Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, and stopping use is one of the best things to do to improve one’s health. The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2022 is ‘Tobacco - Threat to our Environment,’ starting from farming tobacco (cultivation) through to post-consumer waste.

A hazardous start: Growing and curing (drying) tobacco

Did you know approximately 90 per cent of tobacco farming occurs in low-income countries? The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated, “tobacco cultivation and curing are part of one of the most environmentally destructive agricultural practices in low-and middle-income countries.”

Unfortunately, people living in disadvantaged communities are impacted the most by the environmental and health harms from growing and curing tobacco. Forests are cleared to make room to grow tobacco plants, and trees are burned as fuel to dry or ‘cure’ tobacco leaves. In order to cure tobacco for 15 packs of cigarettes, it is estimated a whole tree is burned as fuel.

A toxic end: Post-consumer waste

Cigarette butts are the most common litter found in urban and shoreline cleanups worldwide. It is estimated that an astounding 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded globally every year. They contain filters made of many tiny, plastic fibres. The plastic filters can take years to break down, and chemicals, including nicotine, in the butts leach into the environment and poison animals and plants. In addition, improperly discarded cigarette butts start forest fires in Canada every year.

The tobacco industry puts filters into cigarettes, which misleads users to believe they have a filtering benefit when they do not. Industry-developed vapour products are also adding to this hazardous environmental waste.

It is never too late to stop using tobacco products. A person’s body begins to heal within 20 minutes of not smoking. This year, learning about tobacco’s threat to our environmental health might be a reason to stop or reduce tobacco use.

Supports and resources to stop or reduce tobacco use




VGH Smoking Cessation Clinic

Free counselling, support and educationCall 604-875-4800 (select option 2) or email
BC Smoking Cessation ProgramFree nicotine patches, gum or lozenges at your local pharmacyAsk your local pharmacist
QuitNowFree online, phone or text supportGo to, call 1-877-455-2233 or text QUITNOW to 654321
Respecting Tobacco (First Nations Health Authority)Free resources and informationGo to the Respecting Tobacco website
Talk Tobacco (First Nations Health Authority)Free culturally appropriate support and information for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous communitiesGo to the Talk Tobacco website, call 1-833-998-TALK (8255) or text CHANGE to 123456
Free health and wellness supports for people ages 12-24

Go to, download the Foundry BC App or visit a location in person


Learn more about WHO's World No Tobacco Day 2022.


Contact the VCH Tobacco & Vapour Reduction Program at or visit

SOURCE: Be tobacco-free and save our planet ( )
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