Tobacco’s Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in United States Tobacco Farming (2014)


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 the tobacco the next day. —Dario A., 16-year-old tobacco worker in Kentucky, September 2013

I would barely eat anything because I wouldn’t get hungry. …Sometimes I felt like I needed to throw up. …I felt like I was going to faint. I would stop and just hold myself up with the tobacco plant. —Elena G., 13-year-old tobacco worker in North Carolina, May 2013

Children working on tobacco farms in the United States are exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers. Child tobacco workers often labor 50 or 60 hours a week in extreme heat, use dangerous tools and machinery, lift heavy loads, and climb into the rafters of barns several stories tall, risking serious injuries and falls. The tobacco grown on US farms is purchased by the largest tobacco companies in the world.

Read more: Human Rights Watch