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Quote of the Day - He strains his conversation through a cigar. - Hamilton Wright Mabie
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Colorado Lawmaker Upset Over Anti-Smoking Ad: You Be The Judge

Anti-smoking efforts across the country led to banishing cigarettes and cigars in airplanes, buildings, restaurants and a host of other places.  The ban is supported by many (including MIPTC) and vilified by smokers.  As part of the overall anti-smoking campaign, various advocacy groups have created ads intended to turn the tide against smoking. 

Although this advertisement is apparently not objectionable to Colorado lawmaker Don Marostica, R-Loveland, one of my favorite anti-smoking ads is,

Mind if I smoke?

Mr. Marostica was, however, offended by this anti-smoking ad from Britain's Department of Health, NHS Choices:

British anti-smoking ad

The text in the ad reads:  "Smoking damages the tissues in your penis. There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. Some of them damage your arteries, including the parts that keep you hard. If they go floppy, so do you.  Still want to inhale?"  NHS's website offers further information.  Advertisements in England and Europe tend to be more direct than advertisements on the U.S. side of the pond, but this ad seems tame in comparison to some European ads I've seen, and certainly not as offensive as death.

According to Tim Hoover's blog, PoliticsWest, in the Denver Post, second-term Representative Marostica said to fellow member of the Colorado House of Representatives, "I want to alert all of you, the material is so offensive I can't put it up on the screen."  Health lobbyist Stephanie Steinberg, the Executive Director of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado showed the ad to members of Mr. Marostica's staff, who thought it was funny and asked for copies. The Representative has asked the Colorado House Speaker to determine whether the circulation of the ad to his 19-year-old staffers was an ethical breach or just bad judgment, according to the Rocky Mountain News in an article entitled:  "Did Smoking Flier Hit Below The Belt?"

For her part in the fracas, Ms. Steinberg is nonplussed according to the RMN, "That's hysterical. I have pictures of diseased lungs. Would he be offended by that, too? I'm a health advocate, and I want to talk about health."  All Colorado lawmakers will likely receive copies of the ad courtesy of Ms. Steinberg.  She might want to include this American ad featuring a modern version of the Marlboro Man, who died in 1992 from lung cancer:

Marlboro man impotence ad

Perhaps part of the Representative's frustration arises from his efforts to introduce a bill to allow cigar bars to open, creating a loophole in Colorado's inside-a-building smoking ban.  Opponents to the bill claim it would create an exception that would swallow the whole and allow restaurants to allow smoking.

Like all issues, the answer likely falls somewhere in the middle.  As part of the Noble Experiment attempted around the world, America tried and suffered through prohibition for thirteen supposedly dry years starting in 1920, only to find speakeasys open up across the country.  When you try to ban a popular vice, those who enjoy it will find a way to do so, even if illegally.  Realizing the foolishness and our ineffective efforts to ban the consumption of alcohol, prohibition was repealed.  We don't need to go that far with the smoking ban.  Allowing separate cigar and cigarette speakeasys is a fair accommodation to those who wish to smoke. 

Representative Marostica's efforts to allow cigar smokers to congregate together to enjoy a cigar and perhaps a scotch should be applauded, and Colorado, like California, may want to consider and debate the language of a bill to allow like-minded people to smoke inside a building - as long as it does not affect those who wish to refrain from smoking or be exposed to second-hand smoke. 

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em - as long as you're outside or inside not bothering someone who doesn't want to smoke or be exposed to second-hand smoke. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, February 14, 2009 at 10:14 Comments Closed (0) |
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