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May 13, 2014

MADE IN THE USA: Child Labor & Tobacco

Child labor is common on tobacco farms in the United States, where children are exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers. Child tobacco workers often get sick with vomiting, nausea, headaches, and dizziness while working, all symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning. Many work 50 to 60 hours a week without overtime pay, often in extreme heat. They may be exposed to pesticides that are known neurotoxins. Many also use dangerous tools and machinery, lift heavy loads, and climb to perilous heights to hang tobacco for drying. The largest tobacco companies in the world purchase tobacco grown in the US to make popular cigarette brands like Marlboro, Newport, Camel, Pall Mall and others. These companies can’t legally sell cigarettes to children, but they are profiting from child labor. US law also fails these children, by allowing them to work at much younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions than children working in all other sectors. Children as young as 12 can work legally on tobacco farms and at even younger ages on small farms.
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Sign the petition urging tobacco companies to stop using child labor:

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Tobacco companies shouldn’t benefit from hazardous child labor. They have a responsibility to adopt clear, comprehensive policies that get children out of dangerous work on tobacco farms, and make sure the farms follow the rules.

Margaret Wurth, children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch

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Big tobacco profits from child labor on US farms. Take action now: #ChildFreeTobacco

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Tobacco companies are profiting from hazardous child labor on tobacco farms in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia. Child labor should not be made in the USA.

Stop it at

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Photographs by Marcus Bleasdale/VII for Human Rights Watch

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The hardest of all the crops we’ve worked in is tobacco. You get tired. It takes the energy out of you. You get sick, but then you have to go right back to tobacco the next day.

Dario A., 16-year-old tobacco worker in Kentucky

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American Federation of Teachers:

Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs:

Child Labor Coalition:

Farmworker Action Network:

Farm Labor Organizing Committee:

First Focus Campaign for Children:


Farmworker Justice:

NC Field:

Student Action for Farmworkers:

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May 13, 2014
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