via Politico Magazine:
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The Obama administration has made curbing nicotine use by kids a public health priority, with efforts including mass media campaigns to reduce teen smoking and a proposed ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors. But when it comes to the serious health risks run by thousands of children who work each summer on tobacco farms in the United States, the administration has been conspicuously silent.
Lax federal labor laws allow kids as young as 12 to work in tobacco fields, despite mounting evidence that they can contract acute nicotine poisoning from handling tobacco leaves. Even some tobacco growers and companies take the position that U.S. laws and regulations aren’t strong enough. But the Obama administration has said little and done even less. That needs to change.
A Human Rights Watch report released in May documented the dangers to children working on American tobacco farms based on a year’s research and interviews with 141 child tobacco workers, ages 7 to 17, in the country’s four largest tobacco-producing states: North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.