Vote on Film Set Smoking Postponed for Economic Impact Analysis

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Byline: MARTIN SHIPTON Chief Reporter

THE Welsh Government has postponed a vote on a controversial bid to grant filmmakers exemption from the indoor smoking ban that was due to take place next week.

Instead, it has suggested that two committees of the National Assembly should hear evidence about the economic consequences for Wales if the exemption is not brought in.

Currently, filmmakers who wish to depict actors smoking have to use digitally created imagery or fake cigarettes and cigars.

In England, filmmaking already has an exemption from the smoking ban, and creative industry representatives have convinced the Welsh Government that contracts and jobs in Wales will be lost unless the ban is relaxed here too.

Health campaigners, though, are resisting the call for an exemption, saying it would force some workers to put their health at risk and potentially open up the floodgates to other challenges to the legislation.

A Welsh Government spokesman said that at a Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, Ministers had reiterated their support in principle for the exemption going ahead on economic grounds.

He added: "At the same time however, the Government recognises there is a level of concern about this issue among some AMs. In response to this concern, the Government has decided to invite the chairs of both the Enterprise and Business Committee and Health and Social Care Committee to meet in joint session to take evidence from all interested parties on this matter, with a view to producing a final report on its conclusions. …