Health statistics show tobacco smoking causes 3 million deaths each year worldwide. China and India lead tobacco cultivation in the world. In India, there are around 96,865 registered tobacco farmers who enjoy good profits with only a small area of land.
Tobacco has detrimental effects on micro and macro environments. Tobacco leaves and smoke generated when they are burnt contain around 4,000 chemicals, the best known among them is nicotine. This chemical leads to addiction.
Nicotine increases heart rate and blood pressure, causing harm to the brain and nervous system. It thickens the blood resulting in circulatory impairment as a long-term ill effect. Labourers who harvest the fresh leaves also suffer from the effects of tobacco and experience nausea, vomiting and dizziness. On an emotional level, though one may feel elated after smoking, the person may suffer from anxiety and impaired intellect as a result of long-term smoking.
In the macro-environment, the heavy pesticides used in tobacco farming not only harm the farmers but also have degrading effects on the environment. Tobacco production requires the use of a variety of pesticides in large quantities. These pesticides used to protect and promote the yield of tobacco, impact the soil with their harmful effects, which in turn affect the ecosystem.
Tobacco is a threat to human and environmental health. Let us say no to tobacco and save our Earth and thereby humanity.
By Dr Karthiyayini Mahadevan, Head, Wellness and Wellbeing, Columbia Pacific Communities