The tobacco farmer featured in Genetically Modified Children, was paid $590 USD for 947 kilograms of tobacco. With every cigarette containing up to 1 gram of tobacco, his tobacco will produce:
37,880 packs of 25 cigarettes
$416,680 worth of cigarettes if sold at $11 per pack of 25, which is slightly under the average price of a pack of 25 in New York City.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 44.3% of the retail price of cigarettes goes to various taxes. If we break this down for our tobacco farmer in Argentina, this is the result of his year’s work:
$590 to the tobacco farmer that grew 100% of the tobacco and lives in poverty.
$184,589 to various levels of the government, primarily the U.S. government via taxes.
$232,091 left for the stores selling the cigarettes, and for the cigarette companies themselves, such as Philip Morris.
Furthermore, this pay is prior to expenses incurred by the tobacco farmer, who must purchase the genetically modified tobacco seeds, treat his soil, purchase Roundup herbicide from Monsanto, and cover the costs of his land and equipment.
If the farmer’s quit, they will lose what little social security they have, with many relying on this, and their small income, to provide for their disabled children. They must continue putting their own health, and the health of their family, at risk in this vicious cycle of poverty and poison.