asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many local authorities have sought to make a ban on smoking in cinemas a condition of a licence to exhibit films; and if he will introduce legislation to protect local authorities from legal proceedings consequent on the imposition of such a ban.
I know of about half a dozen authorities which have contemplated such a ban but have decided not to proceed with it; it is very doubtful whether it could properly be imposed as a condition of a cinematograph licence. As regards the second part of the Question, I am not at present convinced that such legislation would be the best way of dealing with the matter.
While thanking my hon. Friend for his reply, may I draw his attention to the rights of non-smokers in these places, and may I ask whether he will view sympathetically any amending legislation which would assist both the local authorities and the cinemas, both of whom have shown interest in this matter? Will he also bear in mind that any assistance of this sort that the Government might give would effectively help the campaign against cigarette smoking?
The whole question of smoking and health is under consideration by the Government, but it is very difficult to single out the cinema from the public meeting. There are difficulties in this matter, but we shall, of course, bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.