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Smoking in film and TV

On May 15th 2013 the Welsh Government decided not to weaken Wales’ smoke-free legislation:

Elen de Lacy, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health in Wales said:

“We are delighted that plans to dilute the smoking ban in Wales have been dropped by the Welsh Government. The smoking ban has always been about protecting public health and all workers in Wales have a right to be protected from the harm of second hand smoke, wherever they work. The film and TV industry’s demands have rightly been thrown out and we hope they never make these demands again. This decision sends a firm message to all industries who want to challenge our legislation, including the tobacco industry, that our values on public health are not for sale.”


On July 18th 2012 the Welsh Government decided to go ahead with an exemption to Wales’ smoke-free legislation for the film and TV industry despite opposition from 75% of those who responded to its consultation.

The new regulations provide: “a personal exemption from the smoke free requirements in section 2 of the Health Act 2006 and the Smoke Free Regulations for a person taking part in a performance given in connection with the making of a film or television programme where the artistic integrity of the performance makes it appropriate for that person to smoke.”

Five reasons why we must reject this amendment:

  • Wales’ smoke-free premises legislation is the most successful public health measure introduced  in Wales and has been widely supported by the public with 80% of Welsh adults in favour  – the legislation is also vital if we are to achieve the ambitious target of a reduction in smoking prevalence rates in Wales from 23% to 16% by 2020

  • This amendment is a step backwards for Wales politically and in public health terms – Scotland and Northern Ireland have no plans to amend their smoke-free legislation

  • It goes against the Welsh Government’s commitments on tobacco control and undermines the targets set out in its Tobacco Control Delivery Plan

  • Allowing smoking on set gives out the wrong signal especially to young people who are strongly  influenced by the behaviour of celebrities and TV personalities and puts the health of workers in the creative industries at risk

  • It could set a dangerous precedent for amending the law in future and open the floodgates for other industries to propose their own exemptions

Following widespread opposition from pro-health groups like Action on Smoking and Health Wales, our partners in the Wales Tobacco Control Alliance and Assembly Members, the vote on the proposed amendment due on October 16th 2012 was withdrawn by the Welsh Government.

The amendment is now being scrutinised by the Health and Social Care Committee and the Enterprise and Business Committee. Action on Smoking and Health Wales has presented robust evidence opposing any exemption to our smoke-free laws.

Click here to view the evidence submitted to the Assembly committees and dates of forthcoming meetings

You can read our full briefing below on why we should oppose the exemption for film and TV. 

You can also sign our e-petition to voice your opposition to the exemption and follow us on Twitter @ashwalescymru under the hashtag #keeptheban

briefing_on_proposed_amendment_to_smoking_ban_for_film_and_tv.pdf Download
briff_gan_ash_cymru.pdf Download
template_letter_to_your_local_am.doc Download

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