Human Rights Organizations Look To Ban Kids From Tobacco Fields

We know using tobacco is unhealthy. Some doctors say handling it is also dangerous.

That’s why human rights organizations are teaming up with some lawmakers to keep children from working on tobacco farms.

"There seems to be a misperception about child labor here in the state of Kentucky, period maybe."

Chuck Tackett farms tobacco and has done so for a long time. He said, he’s never hired someone under 18-years-old to work his fields and to his knowledge, no one does anymore.

"There’s no part of that that I have seen for years,” said Tackett.

And human rights organizations want to keep it that way.

"It’s not like that anymore, this is more commercialized than it used to be and whatnot,” said Tackett.

Those organizations, paired with a group of lawmakers want kids off of tobacco farms. It’s something Tackett said contradicts the educational system.

"Even though in school we encourage 4H, FFA, it’s a good place to start, you’ll get a good education, it builds character in youth and whatnot."

In an interview with 140 of what the group, Human Rights Watch, refers to as "children" the group said nearly three-quarters of those children, working in tobacco fields, suffered nicotine poisoning.

"You get a loading dose of nicotine and it makes you dizzy and it’ll make you vomit and it’ll make you feel terrible until the body metabolizes the nicotine,” said Dr. Rice Leach.

Dr. Leach, Commissioner of Health at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department supports the notion of age restrictions for the reason, as he puts it, the kids won’t protect themselves.

"I think you ought to protect children from injury and if we’ve got children working in tobacco who haven’t got enough sense to take it easy and wear long shirts and long pants then it makes sense to reduce that risk,” said Dr. Leach.

A letter from 35 U.S. House Democrats to the Labor Secretary looking to completely ban children from cultivating or curing tobacco hasn’t drawn a response as of now.

  

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