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Should actors and film crew be protected by the smoking ban?
We think so, but the Welsh Government are planning to pass an amendment to the smoking ban in Wales. The ban says that no one can smoke in indoor public places, or work places, but the government wants to change this in the film and TV industry.
They want to change the law so that actors can smoke real cigarettes whilst filming scenes where it’s necessary for the ‘artistic integrity’ of the piece.
But we don’t need it! Effective props, CGI and visual effects have already been used to great effect for showing smoking (for historical context) in BBC productions like Doctor Who and Upstairs Downstairs. We fake everything else, from car crashes to drug taking and using these effects helps create jobs for Welsh graduates!
Showing smoking on TV makes it looks at best 'normal' and at worst glamorous. So we'd like a reduction in the amount of smoking shown on TV anyway. Normalising or glamorising smoking could mean that more people might be tempted to give it a go and 14,000 11-15 year olds already start smoking in Wales every year. With the current ban a director needs to think twice about whether a character smokes on screen; if there was an exemption based on the fluffy concept of ‘artistic integrity’, we could see more characters smoking on screen.
Why should those who work in film and TV be penalised? Many actors, including Keanu Reeves and Ray Winstone have said they’ve become addicted to smoking because they’ve had to smoke for a role, but it’s not just the actors who will be affected. Everyone on the set would be subjected to dangerous second-hand smoke. The smoking ban was introduced to protect Welsh people from the dangers of second-hand smoke, so why has the Welsh Government decided that actors and film crews don't deserve the same protection as everyone else?
If we make an exemption for the film and TV industry we could open the flood gates to other industries pushing for their own exemptions, which would undo all the great work that’s been done since the ban.
So that’s why we’re asking people to shout about #Keeptheban. The Welsh Government will vote on this issue on Tuesday 16th October 2012, so we don’t have long to get our message across.
Sign our petition at https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-welsh-government-keep-the-smoking-ban-strong-in-wales-2