This week my column over on Showbizradio.net deals with smoking on stage.
This is an important issue to me, and not simply because cigarette smoking almost certainly contributed to my father's early death. It's important to me because those in the arts, and in the theatre especially seem twice as likely to begin smoking these days than many other demographics, despite decades of evidence of how dangerous it can be. That is an anecdotal, and not a scientific number, but I am willing to bet that those of you in the theatre can corroborate what I say here. A lot of theatre people smoke. And a lot of younger people are in theatre. The combination is as depressing ad it is frieghtening.
I don't know why so many arts oriented people begin to smoke. I guess there is still the image of artists being cool by doing so. Or perhaps it is the relief people think they are getting from the sometimes high levels of stress involved in putting on a show. Or none of the above. But the fact is, it's stupid, regardless.
The article, however, is focused upon smoking for the sake of a scene of a character. As you couldn't tell by now, I come out against it. I advise that any and all steps possible be taken to avoid smoking. Especially if one is not already a smoker. (Leaving a show is not out of the question for me, if that is the only answer.)
Head on over to the article to see some other advice I have for the plays that would appear to need someone to smoke.