The Welsh chapter of the British Medical Association, Cymru Wales, has threatened to petition Parliament directly for a smoking ban unless the Welsh Assembly takes action within the next 10 months.
The association is giving serious consideration to invoking the rarely used private bills procedure. This would allow it to obtain powers for Wales over and above current law and potentially instigate a smoking ban off its own bat.
Despite devolution, the Welsh Assembly does not have the power to follow Scotland's lead and introduce a smoking ban. Instead, it would need to request powers from Parliament.
The assembly set up a committee in June to investigate the health and economic impact of a smoking ban in Wales. Having completed a public consultation, the committee is currently hearing verbal evidence from private companies and will report on its findings in May 2005.