“The smoking ban has been a major issue for a number of productions that have been filmed in Wales, especially period dramas set in a time when smoking was commonplace.
The creation of an exemption for performers could therefore benefit the Welsh economy by possibly bringing more productions to Wales.”The story is here. Anti-smokers are up in arms – furious at the reversal of the zero tolerance approach that the Welsh Government simultaneously pursues in the matter of smoking in motor cars, and insisting that the power of suggestion should be enough:
Julie Barratt, director of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health in Wales, said: “There is no suggestion that where a character is stabbed or shot that the artistic integrity of the performance requires they should be stabbed or shot or that for artistic integrity purposes a character shown taking drugs intravenously should actually be doing so – such activities are capable of being acted using props and special effects.
'We want to de-normalise and de-glamorise smoking so children do not see it portrayed as normal behaviour and something they should imitate.'Denormalise and deglamorise? They want smoking to be seen as (1) abnormal, (2) unglamorous and (3) only something that people do when their lives are so abject as to fall under the radar of televised drama? (or do they just want their own way – hang the cost?)
The proposal includes certain conditions that must be satisfied before smoking can take place, including the exclusion of all children and members of the general public from any room used for filming smoking. Somewhat absurdly the consultation questions ask whether children and the public are sufficiently protected from passive smoke. Perhaps we can expect answers from ASH Wales and the director of the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health in Wales that will detail the threats from third and fourth hand smoke (as well as the portrayal of smoking by both normal and glamorous people).
The consultation document and other related documents are here (English and Welsh). It does not specify that you need to live in Wales to fill it in (an address box is included).
The Scottish Government should take note: if this is approved, we could lose programming opportunities to Wales as well as England!