- This is terrible May 14
Children under the age of 18 can't legally buy cigarettes in the U.S. — but as long as they're 12 years old they can pick the tobacco that goes into them. That's one of several shocking findings in a new report from Human Rights Watch, which concludes that tobacco companies "benefit from hazardous child labor."
Several hundred thousand children work on tobacco farms in the U.S. thanks to labor law loopholes that permit children to begin work at a younger age, and to work longer hours, in agricultural settings, according to the report. And since nicotine can be absorbed through the skin, children — who are already more susceptible to its effects — often become ill when handling the plants.
Of the child laborers interviewed by HRW, two-thirds reported symptoms indicating nicotine poisoning; more than half reported having pesticides sprayed nearby while working, which made them "vomit, feel dizzy, and have difficulty breathing." --Jon Terbush
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
Subscribe to the Week