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What's it like to be a smoker in Sonoma County?

When Michael Kyes first put a cigarette to his lips 50 years ago, he was a teen-ager trying to be cool.

"Everyone did it," Kyes said. "The Marlboro Man was on TV. Baseball players all smoked."

But now, the 64-year-old mayor of Sebastopol, like most people who still smoke in an increasingly smoke-free world, is a man in the shadows.

When he feels the craving to light up while out and about, Kyes, who burns through almost two packs a day, seeks cover. But where?

"In Sebastopol, it's still legal to smoke in parking lots. So you walk to the end of the parking lot, hoping nobody notices who you are, and hide. Behind a tree, or wherever. In a dark spot."


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