Tobacco growth is linked to health, environmental, and human rights concerns.
Tobacco hurts the health and wellness of individuals who work in farming and
production, the environment where it is cultivated, and the immense toll it takes on
human health. Tobacco manufacturing poses various ethical concerns, including its
connection to deforestation and climate change, farm workers’ exploitation, child
labor use, occupational health and safety dangers, and product testing techniques.

Tobacco is one of the primary sources of income for many farmers, especially in
poor and middle-income nations. However, the short-term, inconsistent revenue is
compensated by the price of fertilizers and pesticides, the hazards connected with
unsafe working conditions and disease suffered by agricultural laborers, and the
long-term harmful impacts of child labor.

While governments in tobacco-growing nations profit from rural employment and tax
revenue, there are contradictions between economic dependence on tobacco
production and the detrimental effects of such reliance on the economies of low and
middle-income countries. These include the expenses of treating farmers and
families exposed to nicotine and chemical components of fertilizers and pesticides
and the costs of food poverty and environmental deterioration.

Fairtrade tobacco does not exist due to the factors above. Fairtrade is a significant
business, with yearly retail sales of £300 million, a 46 percent year-on-year increase,
and 2,500 items available. And it’s not just food. Fairtrade textiles are quickly
expanding, with Marks & Spencer leading the way, almost owning Fairtrade clothes.

Numerous tobacco farmers would prefer to diversify into other crops, but doing so is
costly. Fairtrade may assist by ensuring that more ethical corporations acquire
tobacco at a fair price. The resulting social premium is used to finance farmers
moving away from tobacco cultivation and producing other crops such as cotton,
chili, or groundnuts.

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