Tobacco leaves more than 8,000 tonne waste trail in Tamil Nadu: Study

Released ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the survey was conducted in 33 districts of 17 States and UTs across the country.

Published: 30th May 2022 04:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2022 09:31 AM   |  A+A-

Smoking, Cigarette, Smoke ban

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The annual waste of all tobacco products in Tamil Nadu is nearly 8,238 tonnes, found a study by Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT) India and The Union organisation on Sunday. The 2022 factsheet found that, of this, cigarettes generated 4,039 tonne annual waste, bidis accounted for 606 tonnes and smokeless tobacco released 3,592 tonnes waste.

The yet-to-be peer-reviewed study establishes that tobacco use not only poses health concerns but is also an environmental burden due to product waste. The cross-sectional survey (an observational study that analyses data from a population at a point in time) was carried out to assess the environmental burden, in terms of plastic, paper, foil and filter waste, posed by smoked and smokeless tobacco products at the National and State levels.

Released ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the survey was conducted in 33 districts of 17 States and UTs across the country. After exclusion of duplicates, the research procured 200 unique tobacco products - 70 cigarette, 94 bidis and 58 smokeless tobacco brands - from across the country to ensure representation and generalisability.

It cited the results of the 'Global Adult Tobacco Survey: India 2016-2017 Report' that pointed out, 20.0 per cent of Tamil Nadu residents were tobacco users. Around 6.3 per cent were cigarette smokers, 5.4 per cent were bidi smokers and 10.6 per cent were tobacco users. The total waste produced from tobacco use in the country is equal to the weight of 100 statues of unity.

MACT founder S Cyril Alexander said, "Our recommendations to the government is that the use of plastic in packaging tobacco products should be banned. Manufacturing companies should be responsible for removing waste products or the government should collect money from them for clearing the waste."

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters the Health Minister Ma Subramanian said, the ban for tobacco products in Tamil Nadu was extended by the government by one more year. A Government Order was released in this regard recently. The ban for gutka and other tobacco products in the State came into force on May 23, 2013. From the ban till May 23, 2021, 799.81 tonnes of gutka and other items were seized in Tamil Nadu.

Since the government took charge last year, around 102 tonnes of gutka and other banned tobacco products were seized, which is estimated to be worth Rs 6.80 crore. Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, the Health Minister kicked off an awareness walk on ill-effects of tobacco use organised by Rela Hospital and Brahma Kumaris Samaj on Sunday.

Tobacco product: Waste generated by Tamil Nadu annually

  • Cigarettes: 4,039 tonne

  • Beedi: 606 tonnes

  • Smokeless tobacco: 3,592 tonnes

  • Total: 8,238 tonnes


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