- FAMRI Center
BBC lobbying to weaken Welsh smokefree regulations: Yes, this is real.
The Welsh Government has launched a consultation to amend the smokefree premises legislation to create an exemption that would allow allow performers to smoke in enclosed and partially enclosed spaces when filming for television or film. The moving force behind this is the BBC, which has lobbied the first minister in Wales, Carwyn Jones, to create this exemption claiming that productions have stayed in England where there is currently such an exemption in the smokefree regulations.
Of all the crazy economic arguments I have heard for exposing people to secondhand smoke, this one takes the cake.
Are we really to believe that the BBC has ignored the fact that it just opened a major new production center in Cardiff, Wales to take advantage of lower labor costs that exist in London just so they can favor actors generate secondhand smoke? I think not.
Moreover, there would be nothing to stop BBC from having an actor wave around an unlit cigarette, cigar or pipe, then put the smoke in with CGI. (BBC produces Dr. Who in Cardiff, so they certainly know how to do CGI there.)
There are, of course, some facts to keep in mind when working to kill this silly proposal:
1. The UK has ratified the FCTC and this proposal violates FCTC articles 8 (smokefree) and 13 (advertising and promotion). See especially WHO report on smoking in movies for details on the latter.
2. There is absolutely no evidence that any movie production moved from one place to another because they couldn't smoke.
3. Controlling for a wide range of other factors, movies with smoking make less money, so the "economic" justification flies in the face of the evidence.
4. Given this, one wonders what else is going on in the shadows. After all, there is a long history of collaboration between Big Tobacco and the movie
5. Even 30 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure is enough to trigger adverse cardiovascular effects of the type that trigger heart attacks.
6. The only beneficiary of this change would be the tobacco industry.
If the BBC wants to lobby to get smoking laws changed, they should be lobbying the government in London to remove the exemption that allows actors and other film makers to be poisoned by secondhand smoke at BBC studios in London.
Alternatively, in the name of realism, BBC should lobby for regulations requiring that only real tardises (time machines) be used when filming Dr. Who episodes in Cardiff.