"Equal Rights" Ad Promotes Black Lungs

The September 2006 issue of a Denver area LGBT magazine, MetroMode, carries a curious full-page ad titled "Busting the Myths of Smoke-Free Colorado" that urges readers to protest Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act, the law that ended smoking in most workplaces (including bars and restaurants) as of July 1, 2006. The ad was paid for by a group called "The Coalition for Equal Rights," and sends readers to the web site www.stopthebans.com where visitors are told that the Coalition for Equal Rights fights for "freedom of choice." A small link on the page asks visitors to "Join CLBA," which, it turns out, stands for Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, a longtime Tobacco industry ally and member of Philip Morris' secret Colorado "Field Action Team", a group of businesses that PM mobilizes to fight restrictions on the sale or use of tobacco. LGBT groups have significantly higher smoking rates than the general population and are more concerned about civil rights than most groups, two facts that certainly were not lost on whoever put together the ad.