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News Summary

Farewell, Marlboro Man

Publication Date: 2005-04-24
  • Author:Ben Long
  • Publication:Denver (CO) Post
Writers on Range

I'm a sucker for the cowboy. My bookshelves sag under the weight of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry novels. . . .

But even I was surprised when the 2005 Montana Legislature drew its six-shooter and plugged two great icons of the mythical West: the smoky old saloon and the beer can tossed in the ditch. . . .

Freedom is still a high card in the political poker hand. But a new card is in the deck: Responsibility.

When the legislature first considered banning smoking in bars, casinos and restaurants, there was the predictable roar of opposition. "Private property rights!" bellowed the Marlboro Men. "If folks are afraid of a little smoke, they can stay outside."

Of course, pink, healthy lungs are private property, too. And the single moms slinging hash and serving beer have a right to avoid unnecessary trips to the oncologist, and they deserve a chance to bear healthy, full-term babies...

As for me, I think a little dose of responsibility won't hurt the Cowboy Way and will make Montana the better for it.

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