It has come to the attention of many smokers that their livelihood in acting is severely restricted by actors taking up e-cigarettes to circumvent the no cigarette smoking policy of University of Melbourne.
George Benson from the Smokers Alliance Organisation (Melbourne Pack) has issued a statement to the media calling for industrial action. He says:
“after years of being able to freely smoke on stage, backstage and the wings, dressing rooms, control rooms, foyer and up until quite recently the Auditorium, Arts smokers around the world are feeling the heat. As all arts people know, where there is smoke there is not always fire and that these knee jerk reactions to the dangers of smoking are unnecessary. For decades playwrights have found clever and creative ways of bringing smoking from everyday use to the stage. Even new plays written today have honoured the depth and belief smoking brings to character portrayal. It is up to the smokers to strike up a match, sit down and send smoke messages to those who sell e’-cigs. They are encouraging uncharacterised and perhaps even non-unionised actors to portray smokers.”
Gus Macdonald at Union House Theatre has issued a statement on behalf of the Theatre Department:
“whilst we do understand how important historical references and portrayals of smoking make the difference for character believability, there is no evidence that changing over to e-cigs is less safe than actually smoking on stage. Whilst we stand with the smokers, albeit off-campus, we cannot stand with the e-cig smokers equally until certain conditions can be met. We are awaiting additional information from OHS Management so until that time, e-cigarette actors are not permitted to act. It may be some years before we know for certain the safety of e-cigs so I wouldn’t hold your breath. And to Smokers Alliance, I say to you that you can heave a smelly sigh of relief that e-cigs won’t be able to rewrite smoking actors place in history.”