Ontario wags a finger at Charlie Sheen: ‘You need to quit smoking.’
TORONTO — As if Charlie Sheen isn’t getting enough free advice.
The Government of Ontario is rebuking the errant multimillionaire actor — not for drunken binges, cavorting with prostitutes or for beating up his girlfriends, but for the very Canadian sin of smoking in a public place.
Margaret Best, the provincial minister of health promotion, reminded Sheen Thursday of his obligation as a public figure to be a role model for the younger generation.
“Stars are examples for the young people,” she told reporters at the provincial legislature. “If they see the stars smoking they may emulate them and we don’t want that.”
Sheen was scheduled to perform his My Violent Torpedo of Truth tour for two nights in Toronto beginning Thursday. The volatile celebrity’s show has been both panned and praised.
Ahead of the Ontario performances, questions turned Thursday to Sheen’s addiction to cigarettes.
Best, part of an occasionally paternalistic government whose leader, Dalton McGuinty, has jokingly been nicknamed “Premier Dad,” urged Sheen to avail himself of Ontario’s smoking cessation programs while in Ontario.
“Certainly, we would encourage him, given that he’s a smoker, to call our hotline to try to quit smoking. That’s very important for his own health,” she said. “I do not judge. That’s not my position to judge him. I do believe he has some issues that he may need some help with. And as I said, if he’s in the province we do have programs here and hotlines and different things that can provide some help.”
In 2006, another U.S. celebrity caused a minor sensation in Ontario for flouting the province’s strict anti-smoking laws.
It is illegal in Ontario to smoke “or hold lighted tobacco in any enclosed public place or enclosed workplace.”
Best said enforcement officers would decide whether to visit the downtown Toronto theatre where Sheen will perform.
“I don’t enforce the law personally,” she said. “They have the discretion as to how they will handle the matter.”
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