Decline in Smoking Takes Toll on Tobacco Farmers

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Smoking is in decline. This is good news for the CDC, but bad news for tobacco farmers. This month, Washington State increased their cigarette tax to more than three dollars a pack. And two new smoking bans will take effect this summer in Kansas and Wisconsin, making a total of 26 states that say no to smokers.

In response to reduced demand, Philip Morris abruptly cancelled the contracts of many tobacco farmers early this spring. Kelly Ann Perkins and her husband Timothy were among them. They've been planting tobacco each May for 35 years. But now, they are selling off their equipment and looking to an uncertain future. Jane Starnes works at the Center for Tobacco Grower Research at the University of Tennessee and has heard from farmers who are facing these cuts.

Guests:

Kelly Ann Perkins and Jane Starnes

Produced by:

Posey Gruener

Comments [2]

Maurice from Westchester, NY

Forgive my lack of empathy, but I find the naivete of your tobacco farmer interviewee to be rather amazing. You are doing business with one of the most ruthless profit-seeking entities in the history of commerce, one who for years manipulated the truth for their own gain, and now you are shocked that they are treating you poorly? I'm afraid that's the consequence of "laying down with the devil."

May. 20 2010 10:30 AM
paulb from brooklyn

Most agricultural crops have more than one use--would think the same might go for tobacco. It's not as if the plant is evil. Found this old document:

http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0107.pdf

Worth a followup look? I guess a lot may have changed in ten years.

May. 20 2010 09:55 AM

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