Plastic pollution from cigarettes costs $26 bn a year globally: Study

A significant study has revealed that plastic pollution from cigarettes costs $26 billion a year and China, where half of the world’s cigarettes are smoked contributes around 20 per cent of that global cost.

Update: 2023-12-04 06:58 GMT

New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Smokers who quit smoking before the age of 40 can expect to live almost as long as those who never smoked, a new report has said.

The study, published in the journal NEJM Evidence, showed that those who quit at any age return close to never-smoker survival 10 years after quitting, and about half that benefit occurs within just three years.

“Quitting smoking is ridiculously effective in reducing the risk of death, and people can reap those rewards remarkably quickly,” said Prabhat Jha, a professor at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

The study included 1.5 million adults in four countries (the US, the UK, Canada and Norway), followed over 15 years. Smokers between the ages of 40 and 79 had an almost three-fold risk of dying compared to those who never smoked, meaning on average they lost 12 to 13 years of life.

The researchers found that former smokers reduced their risk of death to 1.3-fold (or 30 per cent higher) compared to never smokers.

"Stopping smoking at any age was associated with longer survival, and even those who quit for less than three years gained up to six years in life expectancy," the study noted.

Many people think it’s too late to quit smoking, especially in middle age, according to Jha.

"But these results counter that line of thought. It’s never too late, the impact is fast and you can reduce risk across major diseases, meaning a longer and better quality of life," he added.

In addition, the researchers discovered that quitting smoking lowered the risk of dying from vascular disease and cancer, in particular. Former smokers also reduced their risk of death from respiratory disease, but slightly less so, likely due to residual lung damage.

Hong Kong, Dec 4: A significant study has revealed that plastic pollution from cigarettes costs $26 billion a year and China, where half of the world’s cigarettes are smoked contributes around 20 per cent of that global cost.

The study by Thailand-based Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, found that over a decade, the global cost is estimated to reach a whopping $186 billion, reports South China Morning Post.

“Efforts to reduce plastic pollution should address cigarette filters as toxic, widespread and preventable sources of marine pollution. Countries may develop specific estimates of waste management and ecosystem costs in order to assign tobacco industry accountability for this pollution,” the study noted.

"Countries are making progress in developing plastics policies, particularly banning single-use ones, but the costs of tobacco’s plastic pollution are overlooked,” said author Deborah Sy in the study published in the journal Tobacco Control.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already called on policymakers to treat cigarette filters as single-use plastics and consider banning them to protect public health and the environment.

“Cigarette butts aren’t just litter; they’re a toxic ticking time bomb for our environment,” said Sy.

China has more than 300 million smokers -- nearly one-third of the global total.

More than 1 million people in China die each year from diseases caused by tobacco use.

Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, including an estimated 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Around 80 per cent of the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low and middle-income countries, according to the WHO.

“The economic costs of tobacco use are substantial and include significant health care costs for treating the diseases caused by tobacco use as well as the lost human capital that results from tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality,” said the global health agency.

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