Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Environment Need to Know

Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Environment Need to Know

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Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Environment Need to Know

February 5, 2024

Tobacco kills 8.7 million people every year, including up to half its users in addition to non-users exposed to deadly second-hand smoke. The burden of tobacco reaches far beyond health, weakening the economy, disrupting social systems and damaging the environment. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear a greater portion of the global burden, with over 80% of tobacco users living in LMICs. 

Without adequate investment in tobacco control it is estimated that up to 1 billion people could die from tobacco-related diseases during this century alone.

Urgent and whole-of government action is needed to tackle the tobacco burden, calling for a response from all government sectors. This brief is part of a set of 13 provided by UNDP that map out roles and first steps different parts of government can take to help achieve the SDGs by reducing tobacco use.

Ministries of environment can take key steps to advance tobacco control and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. This includes ensuring the participation of the ministry in tobacco control multisectoral action plans and coordinating mechanisms, strengthening independent data collection on the impacts of growing tobacco, and promoting policy coherence. Ministries of environment also stand to benefit from tobacco control – tobacco control measures encourage countries and individual farmers to shift from tobacco production toward activities that are friendlier to people and planet; calls for responsible use and disposal that does not harm others or the environment; protects people from the health impacts of secondhand smoke; and supports tobacco users to quit and non-users to never start, reducing the overall environmental toll of tobacco.