DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin introduces theatrical smoking ban after constituent complains

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Minnesota is currently one of 11 states that allows on-stage smoking. Goodwin wants to change that.
In control of the House and Senate following November's election, DFLers promised heading into this legislative session to focus on jobs and the economy. But first, they're taking care of the really important stuff -- like banning smoking during theatrical productions.

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A bill introduced by Sen. Barb Goodwin, D-Columbia Heights, would remove an exemption to the state's smoking ban that currently allows actors to light up while performing.

Goodwin told the AP she put together the legislation after theater-fanatic constituent of hers brought the issue to her attention. The constituent, Fridley resident Joan Gilmore, claims she's had to leave numerous plays after actors aggravated her smoke allergy by lighting up.

"It's so much easier to use e-cigarettes or to use something else that doesn't have all the carcinogens in it," Goodwin told the AP, adding that she's concerned about on-stage smoking glorifying cigarette use, especially when children are in the audience. "Really, how is [smoking] going to have a good bearing on the way people feel about the play?"

But Bain Boehlke, artistic director at the Jungle Theater -- currently host to a production of "Venus in Fur" featuring on-stage smoking -- told the AP that "If you're going to be authentic to that aspect of a play, it's essential."

"Just the smell of the cigarette smoke is part of the world of the play," Boehlke added.

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