Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is an illness that can result from the absorption of nicotine through the skin when workers harvest wet tobacco. It is characterized by headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate, among other symptoms.
As part of our Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) program, we are taking a number of steps to address this issue. Specifically:
- We have developed GTS safety awareness materials for distribution to our contract leaf growers and suppliers worldwide. These materials include information about GTS symptoms, risk factors, preventive measures, and treatment. Please see the links on the right to view these materials.
- We will incorporate a mandatory compliance clause in all new supplier contracts and tobacco purchase orders, requiring suppliers to implement protocols on GTS.
- We are implementing specific protocols on documentation and monitoring practices, and we and our suppliers will conduct random checks of tobacco farms to assess workers’ awareness of the issue.
Education and prevention are important mechanisms to address GTS. We are committed to doing our part to raise awareness among tobacco growers, providing them with the information they need to prevent exposure to this illness. We will also work with governments where appropriate to raise their awareness of this issue and what can be done to address it.
As with all of our GAP initiatives, this is an ongoing commitment.