More About Tobacco Free
Tobacco Use Affects More People Than You Think.
Despite the health risks, we know some students will continue to use tobacco. It is your decision. If you’re on the fence, we hope Tobacco Free Purchase will give you a push in the direction of good health—for you, for the environment and for the community.
We have heard students ask, “Why does SUNY care about what I do?” To that fair point, we outlined below four legitimate reasons (outside of health risks) to care about the cessation of a smoking habit or to refrain from supporting tobacco companies with your purchasing behavior.
Reason #1: Social Justice and Human Rights
- Social justice dynamics and environmental issues associated with the Tobacco industry are inconsistent with our culture:
- The Tobacco industry depends on poor labor practices and unethical means to thrive worldwide.
- Tobacco farms can use children as sprayers and pickers because of their small size.
- Child labor exists in U.S. yet family farms are exempt from Child Labor laws when parental permission is involved.
- Labor rights abuses of Tobacco companies. Tobacco farmers abroad often take loans they can never repay which can lead to an endless cycle of poverty.
Reason #2: Environmental Impacts of farming Tobacco
- Pesticides poison ground water supplies, deplete soil fertility, and impact health of tobacco farmers (many of whom use child labor).
- Insecticides/pesticides not permitted in U.S are exported to other countries will less stringent regulations like Mexico, Africa, etc.
- Pesticide runoff fills irrigation ditches from which workers and villagers derive water and wash.
- Tobacco is delicate! Guidelines call for as many as 16 applications of pesticides during the first 3 months of growing season.
- Deforestation - Half a million acres of forest are lost to tobacco farming each year
- The Tobacco industry ranks 18th among all industries in the production of chemical waste
Reason #3: Environmental Impacts of Cigarette Filters
- Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste worldwide. It is estimated that 69 BILLION pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash each year, creating an enormous environmental, health, and economic burden.
- Filters are made of cellulose acetate (a plastic that is not biodegradable)
- Filters are specifically designed to accumulate particulate smoke components which leach out.
- Filters are least likely (10%) to make it to a receptacle.
Reason #4: Tobacco Industry Uses Aggressive Marketing Practices
- To Young Adults:
- The Tobacco industry needs to grow their market share and actively market to young adults through ad campaigns and Tobacco flavoring.
- The Tobacco blend in cigarettes was created in a laboratory and designed to be addictive to ensure a return customer.
- To LGBTQ and Minority Populations:
- The Tobacco industry has closely studied minority groups to help grow the amount of consumers who use their products. The industry has prioritized groups that are large, growing in size and represent lucrative marketing opportunities: Blacks, Hispanics, working women, elderly, LGBTQ, young adults and other “urban subcultures.”