TAKE ACTION: Tell Tobacco Companies to End Child Labor on Tobacco Farms

It's dangerous for children to work 12 hours a day in the sun and high heat while absorbing nicotine and pesticides. Yet in several US states, children are spending their summer vacations and weekends working in these conditions. Under US law, children under the age of 18 can't buy tobacco products, but children as young as 12 can legally be hired to work on tobacco farms, risking acute nicotine poisoning, serious injuries, and other dangers to their health.

Today, thousands of child farmworkers spend summers working in tobacco, often to earn money needed for books, school supplies, and backpacks, or to help their parents pay the bills. Many experience symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. Public health studies have shown that tobacco farmworkers have nicotine levels in their bodies equal to smokers in the general population.

Working in tobacco can be perilous for adults, but it is especially harmful to children whose bodies and brains are still developing.

Sign the Petition to:

Martin J. Barrington - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Altria Group
J. Pieter Sikkel - President and Chief Executive Officer, Alliance One International
Nicandro Durante - Chief Executive, British American Tobacco
Ling Chengxing - President and General Manager, China National Tobacco
Alison Cooper - Chief Executive, Imperial Tobacco Group
Pierre de Labouchere - President and Chief Executive Officer, Japan Tobacco
Murray S. Kessler - Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Lorillard
André Calantzopoulos - Chief Executive Officer, Philip Morris International
Susan M. Cameron - President and Chief Executive Officer, Reynolds American
George C. Freeman III - Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Corporation

I urge you and other tobacco companies to protect the health of children by preventing hazardous child labor on tobacco farms.

Specifically, I urge your company to require that growers in your supply chain hire only workers who are 18 years or older to work in hazardous jobs on tobacco farms, including any tasks where they have direct contact with tobacco plants or cured tobacco, and to develop an effective monitoring mechanism that ensures these rules are understood and respected.

Take concrete action to end child labor in tobacco farming today.

Your actions will help protect the health and future of our children.


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*Photo Caption: A 15-year-old girl works on a tobacco farm in North Carolina. © 2013 Human Rights Watch.