Fight negative impacts of tobacco, a lone warrior

Yesterday I watched as Tom Harkin, Senator from Iowa, gave a long and logical lecture about the harm, cost, and dangers, tobacco use causes millions of people. I was so impressed, to see this man, who has tried to educate and protect the public from the dangers of smoking since the 1970’s, make his case from the floor of the U.S. Senate. He was not over emotional. He had the facts. It is obvious that he truly cares about the issue. He is not afraid of the powerful tobacco lobby.

Senator Tom Harkin (left)Tom Harkin is worried not only about the children of the USA but of other nations. It is becoming an international issue, as the USA has become one of the world’s chief exporters of tobacco products to other nations.

For years Tom Harkin has helped lead the fight to protect children from tobacco.

Nicotine is an addictive product and cigarettes kill. According to studies, every day another 3,000 kids in the United States become regular smokers. In Asia the number is much higher. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that tobacco use among children and adolescents is probably the single most significant threat to public health in the United States. It is the largest cause of preventable disease and death in America. And the growth of tobacco use is much faster in Asia and Latin America, than it is in the United States.

Tom Harkin introduced the first major bipartisan bill to combat teen smoking. He led the successful effort to fund an informal program to check IDs to prevent kids from illegally buying cigarettes. This year Harkin has introduced bipartisan legislation which will allow the Food and Drug Administration to classify and regulate tobacco as a drug.

American taxpayers are also coughing up over $26 billion a year subsidizing the cost of tobacco advertising and promotion. Despite fierce opposition by special interests, Tom Harkin has proposed legislation to stop the taxpayer subsidy of tobacco advertising.

Perhaps U.S. Senator Tom Harkin will be an inspiration, and example to leaders of other nations, to continue to fight for children of the world, and protect them from the dangers of smoking and tobacco.


The following “swing states” could well determine who will be the next president of the United States of America. As of today, here are the most recent polls, numbers and expectations. Mark these down, and watch them with care. For in the past election, while one state “Florida” determined who the president would be, in this election, these states could well determine the final outcome.

#1. Ohio. Ohio has 20 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 6.3%, up from 4.2% in 2000. The state has lost 256,000 jobs since 2000. Bush won it in 2000 with 50% to Gore’s 46%. (Nadar got 3%). In 1996, Bill Clinton won it with 47%, while Dole got 41% and Perot 11%. Ohio has a lot of people who like to vote as independents. In recent polls, Kerry was slightly ahead with 49% vs 48%. Some people believe Ohio could decide the election. Nadar has been removed from the ballot. 38 U.S. boys from Ohio have died in Iraq.

#2. Florida. Florida has 27 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 4.5%, up from the 3.8% in 2000. Florida has gained 155,000 jobs since 2000. Bush won it by a few hundred votes in 2000, but many believe all the votes were properly counted. A recent poll from “American Research Group” shows Kerry slightly ahead 49% to 47%, but a poll by Survey USA shows Bush at 51%, Kerry 46%. The recent hurricane damage and Bush’s swift response could bring him votes. 45 U.S. boys from Florida have died in Iraq.

#3. Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has 21 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 5.6% up from 4.2% in 2000. Pennsylvania has lost 48,000 jobs since 2000. Gore won by 51% to Bush's 46% (Nadar 2%) in 2000. Recent polls show Kerry ahead with 50% to Bush's 43%. Nadar is a wild card in Pennsylvania. The state has the oldest population in America so senior issues could determine the outcome. 57 U.S. boys from Pennsylvania have died in Iraq.

#4. Michigan. Michigan has 17 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 6.7% up from 3.8% in 2000. 316,000 people have lost jobs since 2000. Gore won by 51% in 2000 and Clinton by 52% in 1996. Bush and Kerry are tied at 46% each. 30 U.S. boys from Michigan have died in Iraq.

#5. Minnesota. Minnesota has 10 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 4.8% Gore won with 48% in 2000 and Clinton with 51% in 1996. The state has a large number of independent voters and can swing either way. Bush appears to be the favorite in small towns on issues such as Iraq and terrorism, Kerry is ahead in the Twin Cities area. 11 U.S. boys from Minnesota have died in Iraq.

#6. Washington. Washington has 10 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 6.2% up from 5.4% in 2000. The state has gained 130,000 jobs since 2000. Gore won in 2000 with 50% and Clinton in 1996 with 50%. Recent polls show Kerry at 54% to Bush's 43%. Nadar is on the ballot and won 4% in 2000.

#7. New Jersey. New Jersey has 15 electoral votes. The unemployment rate is 4.8% up from 3.7% in 2000. It has gained 47,600 jobs since 2000. Gore won with 56% in 2000 and Clinton with 54% in 1996. Current polls indicate that Kerry is ahead by 3%, but Nadar is on the ballot and carried 3% of the vote in 2000. The state is at risk for Kerry and an opportunity for Bush. 25 U.S. boys have died in Iraq from New Jersey.

If Kerry wins all of the above states, he will be the next president. If Kerry loses Ohio, and any one other of the above, Bush will be the next president. Stay Tuned!

Vote in our poll. Look on the right hand lower part of the home page. The poll question: "Who won the debate, Kerry or Bush?"