Big money interests and government continue to go hand in hand.
One of the biggest cash crops in the country is tobacco. This has been true since the first people settled here thousands of years ago. Native Americans traded it extensively. Europeans followed suit.
Never mind that smoking has killed more people than almost any other "preventable" cause ever.
It only matters that the tobacco interests will buy whatever influence they can. So long as those interests are paid off (with money and or promised reelection), "our" senators and representatives from tobacco-growing states will continue to downplay the dangers of tobacco.
Recently, an exhaustive study demonstrated that smoking women who are pregnant suffer on the order of 100,000 miscarriages a year. It did not look into any impact second-hand smoke might have had on pregnant women and babies, though there appears to be some correlation between sudden infant death syndrome and "passive" smoking.
Isn't it interesting to note that some of the most vociferously "pro-life" senators are pretty much owned by the tobacco interests?
Do you think any of these "public servant" will renouce their tobacco money? Don't hold your breath. Life doesn't matter. Only money, influence, and re-election matter.
I recently drove along Interstate 95, through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. From Southern Virginia through Georgia, there were dozens if not hundreds of billboards proclaiming "Discount cigarettes here." Only when I reached Florida did I see a billboard linking cigarettes and cancer. Kind of amazing that in 1996, the tobacco farmers can't think of something a little less deadly to grow.
Yep, I'm adamantly pro-choice on the issues of abortion and contraception. But I'm equally adamantly anti-smoking. However, I won't picket tobacco stores and harass those people who are killing themselves and their families. Smoking is their choice. I wonder what all those "pro-life" women who are hooked on tobacco are thinking now. It's easy to harrange women at clinics, or harass them on the net, but if you think you're "pro-life," get rid of that cigarette now and vote out any pro-tobacco representative.
Smoking causes over 100,000 spontaneous abortions each year, making tobacco-promoters like Jesse Helms the biggest abortionists in the country.