How theater actor Lorenz Martinez quit smoking

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at May 31 2020 06:00 AM

Lorenz Martinez

MANILA -- Not everyone who gives up smoking goes through it successfully right away and becomes a non-smoker overnight. There are those who readily backslide and return to their old habit after only a short time.

There are some who cheat and fool themselves by occasionally taking a puff of that much-craved for stick of nicotine. Yet, there are others who really kick the habit, cold turkey.

With the World No Tobacco Day observed annually every May 31, the public is reminded about the dangers of smoking and the negative health effects of tobacco use. 

When theater actor Lorenz Martinez gave up smoking five years ago, he admitted that quitting was not readily easy for him. He threw in the towel repeatedly.

“I really know smoking was bad for me,” Martinez said. “The thing is, I’d have lapses whenever I went on trips. I’d be smoking for a week or two. Depends on where I am. Then, I won’t smoke for the rest of the year.”

Martinez started smoking when he was only in second year high school. “Until I was 40, I was smoking heavily,” he confessed.

Sadly, he was not able to give up the habit in one instant. “But I actually don’t miss it,” Martinez insisted. “It’s when I drink and if I’m at a party with friends who smoke, that’s when I look for a stick.”

Yet, nearly five years ago, Martinez was able to say goodbye to his nicotine habit for good. “Singing became easier for me and food tasted better,” he noted.

Although he may have been influenced by others around him to smoke, kicking the habit is a “personal decision,” according to Martinez. He knows the successful attempt to quit starts with his firm decision to try. No matter how many attempts.

“Don’t let smoking control you,” a smoke-free Martinez stressed. “It’s only the first three to five days that makes quitting difficult. Don’t say you cannot give up smoking or quitting smoking is impossible.” 

Since every day is now smoke-free for Martinez, he realized he has to take control of the changes he needs in his life. Kicking the habit has apparently given him a new perspective and renewed strength. Moreover, it has proven his firm decision, motivation and determination.

The actor has been married to theater actress Shiela Valderrama. They have an 8-year-old daughter, Simone. Last year, Martinez was in three theater productions. He was in Stephen Sondheim’s “Passion,” which headlined his wife, Valderrama. He was also in the repeat of “Dani Girl” and “Binondo: A Tsinoy Musical,” directed by Joel Lamangan.

The lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed Martinez to discover something he actually hasn’t tried before. He brags that he is into “hydroponics” now. This is a method of growing plants without soil, but instead using merely mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. 

“I will switch to aquaponics and after that, I will attempt to build a table,” Martinez said.

“Aquaponics” combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics. Both systems in growing plants are definitely something that Martinez and his family can adapt to survive in the new normal. 

”We’re starting to grow our own food now,” Martinez boasts. “Our goal is to be self sufficient by December. Hopefully I can do it.”

He acknowledges the COVID 19 pandemic has impacted him and his fellow theater artists in a bad way. “We are probably going to be jobless until there’s a vaccine or a successful treatment available. So I’m trying to learn new skills just in case.”

Cushioning the impact of the pandemic, the family has taken cost-cutting measures even in their household. “We also stocked up on food, water and medicine,” he stressed. “Not hoarded, ha.”

Aware that this pandemic is unprecedented, Martinez knows the hard lessons learned during this time. “That our current system does not work,” he pointed out. “And Thanos was right.”

Asked about the particular line of the “inevitable” Thanos he was referring to, Martinez simply said, “I don’t want to be specific. Bahala na sila mag-interpret.”