An A.P. story notes that New York State's smoking ban, which took effect on Thursday, prohibits cigarettes in plays and other live performances as well as bars and restaurants.
Stage performances where cigarettes were props, from the gritty play…"Twelve Angry Men" about a tense jury room to the standup comedy of Denis Leary, would have to be smoke-free under the law, said state Health Department spokesman William Van Slyke. Cities and counties could, however, seek waivers for specific shows and theaters, he said.
…curbing such public displays of smoking could go a long way to the kind of societal change advocates of the smoking ban say is needed to get more smokers to stop and more nonsmokers not to start.
"Now, the image we have of a smoker is the person standing in the rain having a cigarette, and that is hardly the glamorous image we had in the '40s and '50s," said Russell Sciandra, head of the Center for a Tobacco-Free New York. "That's going to have a tremendous impact on children's perception of smoking."
Hence the ban protects the public not only from secondhand smoke but from pernicious ideas, such as the notion that there is anything "glamorous" about smoking. In this light, the criticism offered by anti-ban activist Audrey Silk seems, if anything, understated. "When a law infringes one of the arts," she said, "it's almost like denying people their free speech. It's like censorship."
[Thanks to Linda Stewart for the link.]