Up in smoke?: Stompin Tom says anti-smoking laws could keep him off the road

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - At 73 years old, there's still a lot Stompin' Tom Connors likes about touring: meeting new people, sneaking out to the lake to go fishing and discovering inspiration for songs about Canada.
But if you want to light a fire under the genial folk-country legend, mention how tough it can be to find a place to smoke while out on the road.
"If anything makes me stop touring, it'll be that," Connors told The Canadian Press over the phone from his home in Halton Hills, Ont.
"I can't smoke in a hotel, and I can't go to a restaurant 'cause I can't smoke there, and you can't smoke in the venues ... and I don't know what the hell is going on and I'm a chain smoker so it's gonna drive me mad," said Connors, before adding that he smokes about 108 cigarettes a day.
"It's really uncomfortable to be a chain smoker and not be allowed to smoke anywhere."
Fortunately, the other trials of the road don't seem to bother Connors much. On Tuesday, he'll launch a 17-date Canadian tour with a show in Belleville, Ont.
The trek will see Connors make his first visit to Newfoundland in almost two decades with a July 31 show in St. John's, N.L.
He says it takes five days to make the trip to Newfoundland, with 19-hour overnight ferry rides each way. With the ferry's sleeping quarters booked months in advance, Connors says he won't be able to get any rest during the trip.
But he says he always wants to go to Newfoundland, and has just previously been stumped by the logistics.
"I love it down there," said Connors, who was born in Saint John, N.B., and grew up in Skinners Pond, P.E.I.
Meanwhile, Connors is also celebrating the release of his own stamp, issued earlier this month by Canada Post.
The collectible depicts a younger Connors, his bushy sideburns emerging from under the brim of one of his trademark black cowboy hats.
Connors, who has received the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Award of Performing Excellence, says having his likeness emblazoned on a postage stamp was a special honour.
"That was something else altogether," he said. "I guess the proudest moment I had before that would be receiving the Order of Canada - which I'm still proud of and always will be proud to wear that pin - but this is more visible. "
"This is something that people also take part in. Everybody handles postage stamps. So I think this ranks right up there by all means with the Order of Canada."

Organizations: Canadian Press, Canada Post

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland, TORONTO Halton Hills Belleville St. John's Saint John Skinners Pond

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