Could Hummus Put an End to Smoking?

The tiny chickpea can help bring down tobacco giants, according to a new campaign.

A new campaign launched by the anti-smoking organization The Truth is urging people to dip into hummus instead of puffing on cigarettes.

Regarded as healthy, in addition to being fashionable and trendy, hummus, which is made primarily of chickpeas, has taken off in America in recent years. No less than 26% of American say they have it in their refrigerators and 70% are familiar with the product. Consumer spending on hummus has reached $1 billion a year, after growing some 18% a year over the past five years - six times faster than the overall growth of the American food market.

The U.S. chickpea harvest in 2013 totaled a record 332 million pounds, up 51% from the previous year, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited the USDA. The value of the U.S. chickpea crop hit a record $115.5 million last year, the report said. 

The rising popularity of hummus, combined with plunging cigarette sales, are driving some farmers in the U.S. to forgo their tobacco crops in favor of chickpeas. According to a video released by The Truth, the number of tobacco farms in the U.S. was down from 415,315 in 1959 to 10,014 in 2012. 

And this trend could help bring tobacco companies down, the group argues.

The rationale is simple: The more hummus is bought, the more incentive farmers will have to ditch tobacco to grow chickpeas.

"Let's put an end to big tobacco by eating more hummus," the campaign says.