Even Marlboro Man is forced to stub it out

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The Independent US

It happened first in California before spreading east to New York. In Europe, Dublin and Rome jumped on the same smoke-free bandwagon, and London could be next.

It happened first in California before spreading east to New York. In Europe, Dublin and Rome jumped on the same smoke-free bandwagon, and London could be next.

Fidel Castro decreed the same for Havana this year. That was surprise enough. But Montana? Now even the Marlboro Man is being asked to quit.

The "Big Sky" state is turning "Clear Sky" after its legislature voted last week to ban smoking in public spaces. It will become one of 11 states to make it illegal to light up almost anywhere except in the great outdoors.

For tobacco aficionados, the submission of Montana to the anti-tobacco movement is an event warranting a moment of nostalgia. This is the state, with majestic valleys and streams, which for years served as the backdrop for the iconic Marlboro Man advertisements, whose puffing cowboys were an attractive role model for would-be addicts.

Montana's governor, Brian Schweitzer, has pledged to sign the anti-smoking bill shortly. By October, indoor smoking will be banned, although bars will have until 2009 to adjust. So the Marlboro Man and his trusty steed will soon seek Western scenery elsewhere, perhaps Wyoming or Colorado. But these states could also take the no-smoking road, and he will have no choice but to dismount and stub out.

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