Children of Tobacco

2013, Crime  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 8.36/10 from 55 users.

The people are losing their dignity through the production process of cigarettes for the western market. For example, most cigarettes consumed in France include tobacco from Malawi, the fifth tobacco manufacturer in the world. 80,000 children are oppressed by this worldwide need for cigarettes and get intoxicated while employed in the fields. Shepard, a twelve-year-old boy, lives with his family in the North of Malawi in a region where tobacco is grown. With him is his sister Jessie and other kids that are between 9 and 14 years old.

Shepard's dad cultivates two hectares of tobacco plantations. He thought he would make money and get out of the corn production business. But his dreams quickly turned into nightmares. Tobacco production is a very long and tiresome. It needs three times the labor force than corn and the profit is too small to do without child employment. In Malawi, child labor under 14 years old is officially banned. But for Shepard's mother it is the only way to feed the family.

Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, depends mainly on the tobacco culture. It makes more than 60% of its abroad trade. Companies like British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco exploit this reliance by loaning money to small farmers. They stimulate them to grow tobacco. "Forced" to produce tobacco, families have stopped producing corn.

Ironically, with the profit from the tobacco, peasants are buying the corn they are no longer cultivating. Shepard's family produces near a ton and a half of tobacco, but once they pay the loans back, they are left with $200 a year. Whole family lives under the same roof... humbly, without basic necessities. But each year, animated by the powerful tobacco industry, they hope a better life is possible.

The Government turns a blind eye to this robbery just for the sake of the country's economy. But tobacco doesn't only cause societal troubles. The farmers also put their health to risk. Handling tobacco with bare hands makes the skin absorb nicotine equivalent to 50 cigarettes per day.

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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Meh

    Doesn't make me feel any worse about smoking lol

  2. Blaice

    This is the reason some of you don't smoke cigs..? This is just one of countless reasons you should never even light a single cig in your lifetime. Cigs are literally death, all they contribute to is death, from creation to consumption they are the most evil form of an inanimate object I can possibly conceptualize. You are not only killing these children using cigs, you are killing yourself and those around you.

  3. danhopkins

    this is why i don't smoke cigarettes, you are supporting human suffering if you do

  4. DocuGeek

    The subtitles almost ruined it because they are way off.

  5. AaKB

    Before I finish watching this, I just want to ask, is it necessary to oversimplify the English translation and subtitles of the English-speaking head of social services?

  6. alex bell

    this is the worst documentary ever. it is not the tabacco Company is the landowners and the buyers who are to blame. they also have a choice not to grow tabacco and grow corn. having said this, what about the coffe industry like Columbia and Brazil, next time you go to Starbucks think about the thousands of Kids suffering for your Cup of Joe.

  7. Lauri Neva

    Another world disgrace! Everyone who smokes contributes to this problem too. Just smoking cigarettes sets off a chain of death and poverty for all. What a shame it is.

  8. bringmeredwine

    Well, this is depressing, I thought to myself, as I watched this doc, puffing away on the cigarettes I buy from our local Indian reserve.
    One more darn thing to feel guilty about.

    1. Harry Nutzack

      a friend from my teen years who i finally saw again a few years back told me how he managed to quit smoking. he lives in Va, and spent a few years working in tobacco fields. he said just the very act of physical contact with the resinous sap actually transfers nicotine to your system. after a few hours in the fields, the dose was so high he'd be "buzzed" for days at a time. it was pointless to smoke, as you couldn't possibly inhale enough to mimic the effect of skin contact.

    2. bringmeredwine

      I wish I had a giant leaf to clutch in my little hands when I travel to Mexico on Saturday. There's no smoking any where in the airports or on board till I hit the ground. Please puff away on my behalf.
      I tried acupuncture, laser, the patch. Nothing stopped me but having and raising my babies.
      Me bad!

    3. bringmeredwine

      Cold turkey too. Its like trying to break away from a toxic relationship, some professor once said, and I agree.

    4. mika

      Try eating orange peels. It detoxifies your blood of the nicotine and helps you cut down. Worked for me.

      First, you need to soak the oranges in a solution of 1/4 vinegar, 3/4 water for about 30 minutes to get the pesticides off. Or use an organic orange. You can then dry the oranges in low heat oven and either eat them, powder them, drop some in with tea, plenty to do

    5. Judy Sok

      I read Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking. Brilliant! Its available on audio CD and DVD or u can go to his workshops too. No impossible withdrawals, no cravings for the rest of your life. Only freedom!!!