Monday, December 31, 2007


No Smoking in Chicago

I don't think Chicago actors can smoke on stage, or backstage, starting tomorrow. In a few hours, at 12:01 AM January 1st 2008, the Smoke Free Illinois Act goes into effect. It bans smoking in public places and places of employment, specifically:
No person shall smoke in a public place or in any place of employment or within 15 feet of any entrance to a public place or place of employment
(from Section 15 of Public Act 095-0017).
And defines these places as follows:
"Place of employment" means any area under the control of a public or private employer that employees are required to enter, leave, or pass through during the course of employment...
A "public place" includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, offices, commercial establishments, elevators, indoor theaters, libraries...
(emphasis added, from Section 5 of Public Act 095-0017).

I think this means no smoking while acting in character on stage or in a studio. I can find no exemption for actors anywhere in the act itself or in news coverage about it. I also think this means no smoking in green rooms or near stage doors. I don't know how many, if any, currently open plays or on-camera projects this may affect.


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I wonder if they consider clove cigarettes to be in violation of the ban? I'm in an upcoming production of Reefer Madness: The Musical, so we sorta have to be able to smoke inside the theatre. Yikes!
I'm not sure exactly how clove cigarettes would be treated. The act does say, in section 10, where it includes definitions in the act: "'Smoke' or 'smoking' means the carrying, smoking, burning, inhaling, or exhaling of any kind of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, hookah, weed, herbs, or any other lighted smoking equipment." That seems to include cloves in the ban. I'd check with a lawyer first; caveat actor.
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