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Dangers of Tobacco Farming


Tobacco is a plant that is grown for its leaves. The leaves are dried, fermented or cured to be used in different products such as cigarettes, cigars, chew and many more tobacco products. The leaves of the tobacco plant are very high in nicotine and this can lead to addiction. Nicotine addiction is known to be challenging to overcome, however quitting is possible with good support and education of the risks of nicotine and tobacco use. There are many chemicals in tobacco that are harmful to the body, and many more are created when it is burned, and these chemicals are also harmful for the body.

The environmental lifecycle of tobacco in 4 stages:

  • Tobacco growing and curing
  • Product manufacturing and distribution
  • Product consumption
  • Post consumption waste

It is crucial to note these concerns at each stage so that better policies can be brought to policy makers for alternatives and recommendations.

Tobacco Growing and Curing

In 2011 4 200 000 hectares of land were solely devoted to tobacco farming. This represented less than 1% of arable land globally, however in some low and middle income countries the land devoted to tobacco farming has increased. One major negative impact related to tobacco farming is the increase in deforestation. The environmental consequences of deforestation can be quite severe and they include loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, degradation, water pollution, and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Unfair labor practices in tobacco farming have also been of widespread concern. Tobacco control agents have been working with tobacco farmers to make sure that they are getting fair wages for living. More attention should be given to children who are involved in tobacco farming given agricultural farming practices in low income, middle income, and more developed countries. Farmers, child laborers, minorities and migrant workers are at high risk of nicotine toxicity due to handling the tobacco without protection during harvesting and processing.


The health of the environment, the public and the farmers exposed to high levels of nicotine should be considered and policies need to be made for alternatives and better living. More policies should be made on tobacco control, sales, and its use, to ensure a healthy and safe environment for everyone. Environmental regulations regarding tobacco waste should be reviewed and improved.



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