Note to Charlie Sheen from Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best: "Call me!"
Ms. Best is urging Mr. Sheen to call the phone number for Ontario's Smoker's Quitline (1-877-513-5333) and get in contact with one of the province's many programs that help people butt out.
"It's very important for his own health," Ms. Best told reporters at the provincial legislature on Thursday. "He can give me a call. I will certainly direct him [on]how to get the help that he needs."
She acknowledged that she has never met Mr. Sheen. But she has been following the headlines about the troubled actor's substance abuse and hard-partying lifestyle. As the province's Health Promotion Minister, she said, it is her job to urge all smokers to quit and she believes that Mr. Sheen clearly is someone who has "issues."
Ms. Best said she assumes that he is addicted to smoking cigarettes, but quickly added that having never personally met the man, "I can't make a diagnosis on the spot."
Mr. Sheen, who was recently fired from the hit television show Two and a Half Men, will perform onstage Thursday evening at Massey Hall in Toronto as part of his 20-city North American tour.
The big question is whether Mr. Sheen might pull a Sean Penn and flout the province's anti-smoking laws by lighting up on stage. Mr. Penn ignited a controversy over the province's no-smoking law back in 2006 when a downtown Toronto hotel allowed the Hollywood actor to light up a cigarette. Mr. Penn was in the city for the Toronto International Film Festival. The Sutton Place Hotel was fined more than $600 by the city's Public Health Department.
Ms. Best said she has no idea whether Mr. Sheen might smoke a cigarette on stage. But she said there are people who enforce the laws.
Opposition members had difficulty keeping a straight face.
"That's great that she's tackling the important issues of Charlie Sheen and his smoking habit," said Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod, before bursting out laughing.
New Democrat health critic France Gélinas also chuckled before pointing out that the province's anti-smoking programs are for people who live here, not Hollywood sit-com stars just passing through.
"He's not allowed to call the line," she said. "If he does, he's not allowed the service."