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Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss will be happy to note that at least one actor has finally and completely quit smoking. Admits Ajay Devgan, from the sets of Zee TV's Rock N Roll Family, "Yes, I have completely quit smoking." When quizzed about his inspiration, he replies tongue-in-cheek, "Well, the Health Minister has paid me more than the cigarette companies to quit smoking."
A source close to Devgan says, "Ajay quit smoking six days ago. He was down with fever and a bad cold last week and on an impulse, decided to kick the butt. Members of his family, wife Kajol and friends had been telling him to quit for years but Ajay's logic was you-convince-me or I-convince-you, and he wasn't convinced enough to quit smoking."
The source continues, "He loved smoking and health reasons weren't enough to make him quit. Though he got a scare last year when Saif Ali Khan suffered a mini heart attack because of smoking, he didn't stop but tried cutting down. But one day, Ajay felt the urge to quit, and he did. He hasn't puffed even once in the last six days whereas earlier he would sneak off outside to his garden to smoke."
Recently, in Bhopal, Devgan had joined Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore in taking a dig at Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss where he stressed that in a democracy everybody had the freedom of expression, so smoking or drinking on screen ought not be banned. Devgan says: "In the films, when we show someone smoking or drinking, it is for a reason. It is not to promote any cigarette brand or liquor.
If we have to show some historical character; for instance, if I have to make a movie on Winston Churchill, what will I show? I can't make the movie if there is a ban on showing cigarettes in the film. He used to always have a cigar in his hand. What do I show then? Should I show a lollipop in Churchill's mouth? Everyone has his or her responsibilities in place. Everyone knows what is right and wrong for them."