Anti-smoking campaigners in the U.K. are calling for Damon Albarn to be fined after he flouted British law by lighting a cigarette on stage on Sunday, March 21. The Blur's star was performing with his band Gorillaz in Portsmouth, south England when he sparked up midway through the set.
Strict regulations in Britain ban smoke from all public places, including concert venues, and offenders can face penalties of up to $4,000. And bosses at Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) are convinced Albarn and guest star Paul Simonon, who also smoked during the gig, deserve a punishment.
Spokeswoman Amanda Sandford tells Britain's Daily Mirror, "There can be no excuse for that as it is an indoor place and the law is very clear - we are not allowed to smoke on stage unless it's relevant to the act. They should be fined. It's not just the artist, it's the premises where the act is held. I would expect the local authority to take the appropriate action."
"It's not just illegal but more importantly it's about the message it sends out to fans. People in the public eye have a duty not to promote smoking. It's very irresponsible - I suppose they think it's rebellious and they may get some extra kudos from it and maybe some extra publicity."
A member of staff at the show's venue, the Wedgewood Rooms, said they had not been made aware of the smoking during the concert or received any complaints.