Tobacco and the developing world

Much of the production of tobacco for cigarettes takes place in the developing world and has a wide negative impact on these communities. Exploitation of farmers, child labour and the lack of regulation in developing countries means that rather than providing a much needed boost to the economy, tobacco production ensures countries remain in debt and poverty. This session helps to educate young people on the wider impact of tobacco and particularly looks at young people who work in the tobacco fields. Pupils are able to look in detail at the life of a child labourer on a tobacco field and consider the stark contrast to their own lives.

Purpose of session

To help young people understand how tobacco production impacts on developing countries.

Key learning outcomes

  1. Explain the impact of tobacco production on developing countries and describe how the prevalence of smoking in developing countries differs from the developed world.
  2. Give examples of how tobacco production can affect the lives of children in the developing world.
  3. Give examples of how tobacco production can affect the lives of children in the developing world and understand the moral implications of tobacco companies’ work..
Stage 1 - Demonstrating knowledge

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector, slides and true/false cards for each class member.

Key learning outcome

Explain the impact of tobacco production on developing countries and describe how the prevalence of smoking in developing countries differs from the developed world.
  • Ask group, ‘What is meant by a developing country’?
  • Present Slide 3 with definition. Ask pupils if they can give some examples of developing countries. Write them on the board.
  • Give each pupil a true/false card. Use the PowerPoint to have true/false quiz about tobacco in the developing world.
  • Finish with Key Facts Slide 13.

Stage 2 - Presenting new information

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector with internet access and sound. Person profile.

Key learning outcome

Give examples of how tobacco production can affect the lives of children in the developing world
  • Present pupils with a copy of the Person Profile ‘Asile, The Tobacco Farm Worker’.
  • Explain that in many countries, such as Malawi in Africa, children have to work in the tobacco fields. Hold a brief discussion and run through the facts presented on the profile.
  • Present with short video showing life in tobacco fields for young people

Stage 3 - Applying and reflecting

Resources needed:

PowerPoint projector. Person profile. Internet access.

Key learning outcome

Give examples of how tobacco production can affect the lives of children in the developing world and understand the moral implications of tobacco companies’ work.
  • In pairs, use the profile presented to write a short ‘Day in the life of Asile’. Encourage pupils to use the web to gain more knowledge and consider the issues presented on the profile.
  • Pupils will need to research ‘Green Tobacco Sickness’ and ‘Child Labour in Tobacco Fields’. They should think about what life might be like for a child in the tobacco fields. Why do the children have to work? What might conditions be like? What could the tobacco companies do to help the situation?
  • Read out some of the most engaging reports from pupils and discuss what needs to change to protect children in developing countries.

Further support

This session would work well accompanied by the Smoking and the Environment session plan.

As a sensitive subject, remind pupils that they can speak to a teacher after class if anything upsets them.

Remind pupils who have family member who smoke that they can share new information with them.

Further information

If pupils need further information about smoking in general you can direct them to the Hampshire NHS Stop Smoking Service, Quit4Life or The Filter for information about smoking for young people.