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Russell Crowe Takes Heat for Smoking

Russell Crowe Takes Heat for Smoking
Russell Crowe
Mario AnzuoniI/REUTERS/Landov

04/04/2006 AT 07:00 AM EDT

Russell Crowe reportedly inflamed some people in his hometown of Wellington, New Zealand, last weekend after smoking during performances by his rock band, The Ordinary Fear of God.

The country's public-health officials are investigating whether the Oscar winner, who turns 42 on Friday, breached the legal smoking ban that covers concert venues, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Wellington-born Crowe, who now lives in Australia, reportedly dragged on cigarettes and drank from what appeared to be a bottle of port during a performance on Saturday.

"I saw him smoking, but he was doing it very discreetly," Crowe's promoter, Brent Eccles, told the Herald.

The venue reportedly could be fined about $2,400 should authorities conclude that Crowe broke the anti-smoking law.

Bad habits aside, Crowe's Saturday gig proved a hit with the audience, the Dominion Post reports, though the paper's music critic called Crowe's performance "stunningly average" and his songs "close to embarrassing." (Crowe previously fronted the band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.)

Monday night, at another concert, an upbeat Crowe was smoking again, telling the crowd, "I like to have a smoke, which has been getting me into trouble lately."

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