Did you know that modern tobacco farms in America rely on child labor? Child laborers between the ages of 7 and 18 grow, cultivate, cure, and transport tobacco leaves. They commonly face 10-12 hour workdays with little time for breaks and meals, and make minimum wage or less for their efforts.
Children face several health risks when working in tobacco fields. They are too young to buy cigarettes, but a shocking report from Human Rights Watch found that majority of tobacco child laborers have reported nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite, all symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning. Child laborers are absorbing nicotine through the skin in the absence of gloves and other safety equipment.
Currently, U.S. law is the least restrictive on child labor in agribusiness than virtually all other sectors, despite exposure to dangerous equipment and chemicals like pesticides. But the Children Don’t Belong on Tobacco Farms Act was recently introduced to end child labor in tobacco fields.
Read more. Learn why the Children Don’t Belong on Tobacco Farms Act is critical for child tobacco workers.
Please join the First Focus Campaign for Children in urging your Member of Congress to take action to end tobacco child labor and keep our children safe from harm. Click here to send your letter.
You can also help by joining or donating to First Focus Campaign for Children to keeping up the pressure on Capitol Hill so that the health and well-being of children are no longer treated as an afterthought in the halls of Congress.