Rep. Don Marostica knows it when he sees it. The Larimer County Republican raised a ruckus at the state Capitol Friday when he came across an anti-smoking message deemed “so offensive I can’t put it up on the screen,” Tim Hoover reports in Politics West. Marostica, who sponsored a plan to roll back the state smoking ban at casinos, warned House colleagues not to let young, impressionable aides see the “very inappropriate and offensive material” brought into legislative offices by an anti-smoking lobbyist. Marostica even asked Speaker Terrance Carroll whether an ethics violation had been committed, the Rocky Mountain News reports.
Marostica on Thursday pulled his bill to allow casinos and racetracks to apply for exemptions from the statewide smoking ban, saying the language needed revision so restaurants and bars couldn’t take advantage of it, The Gazette reports.
As Marostica envisions it, the bill would allow casinos and racetracks to construct their own cigar bars, complete with humidors and their own ventilation system. The particulars, however, were too difficult to work out this year.
“The way we drafted the bill, it was just too difficult to pull it out in committee,” said Marostica. “It’ll be back next year.”
What about the “offensive material,”– a printout of a British National Health Service ad advising that smoking can cause impotence? Stephanie Steinberg, executive director of Smoke-Free Gaming of Colorado, was visiting with legislative staffers the day Marostica tabled his cigar bar bill. She showed the ad to a female aide, who laughed, and soon Marostica’s male assistants wanted to make copies of it, Hoover reports.
“They saw it, and they thought it was funny, and so they wanted one,” Steinberg told Politics West. “It wasn’t even a lobbying thing. It was just kind of a thing I showed her.”
Eventually, the Rocky’s Ed Sealover reported, a 19-year-old male aide passed it on to Marostica, who took offense that Steinberg had tried to corrupt young minds.
“I don’t want someone doing that to your interns and aides,” Marostica told colleagues, according to the Rocky. “I don’t know if it was bad judgment on that individual’s part or just bad behavior.”
The ad depicts a droopy cigarette held between two fingers and the warning, “Smoking damages the tissues in your penis.” It’s part of a series of images from an ad campaign that ran in the United Kingdom several years back and designed to encourage young men and women to quit smoking. “There are over 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke,” the ad continues. “Some of them damage your arteries, including the parts that keep you hard. If they go floppy, so do you.”
Steinberg scoffed at the notion the ad was obscene. “I have pictures of diseased lungs,” she told the Rocky. “Would he be offended by that, too? I’m a health advocate, and I want to talk about health.” She said that rather than apologize, she might send copies of the ad to every legislator.
Here’s another image from the “Staying Hard” anti-smoking ad campaign, viewable online as an interactive Flash presentation. “Fag,” of course, is British slang for a cigarette butt.