Decline in Smoking Takes Toll on Tobacco Farmers

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Tobacco, hanging in a barn
From and

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.