Bill Outlawing E-cigarettes in Public Fails in Wales 7th April 2016 – Posted in: Uncategorised – Tags: , , , , ,

Vapers in Wales will be happy to hear that plans to outlaw the smoking of e-cigarettes in public places has been kicked into the long grass, at least for the moment. Last summer, the proposed plans caused a raft of objections from vapers and charities such as Cancer Research when labour MPs in Wales suggested that e-cigarettes were providing a ‘gateway’ for kids and others to begin smoking.

E-CIGARETTES NEEDED TO BE BANNED FROM PUBLIC SPACES

While there is little or no substantial evidence that this is actually the case, something that the labour administration in Wales have failed to acknowledge, curbing when and where people can use e-cigarettes was certainly seen as a backward move by many. The initial climb down by Labour may have been influenced by a letter sent by 12 university experts as well as objections from those working to help people quit smoking, complaining that saying legislation could improve health or prevent harm was not based on current evidence.

Other politicians, including Liberals, weighed into the debate stating that the labour controlling administration were focusing too much on the public health aspects of vaping and e-cigarettes but ignoring much larger issues such as the rise in diabetes, problems with obesity and cancer and heart disease in Wales. Many thought that labour MPs had begun an ill-advised war on e-cigarettes that could only set smoking cessation activities back and encourage more people to smoke.

In December, Labour bowed to pressure to provide amendments to the bill, intending to limit it to public places where children were likely to be present such as schools or dining areas. In March, Paid Cymru were set to support the amendments when the bill next came up but derogatory remarks from a Labour public health minister (he called them a ‘cheap date’) caused them to reconsider that decision. Fortunately for vapers in Wales, Labour does not command a majority in the Assembly and the about turn by one of the smaller parties left them without the support they needed to get the bill through.

It was a major embarrassment for the party but many health groups welcomed the failure of the bill, claiming that it would have harmed the potential for more people in the country to give up smoking. Labour’s health minister for Wales was a little less philosophical, having spent five years of his life trying to get the bill onto the books, saying that it was children who were going to suffer.

Without any major evidence that people smoking vaping devices will influence children into taking up e-cigarettes and then real cigarettes, the bill was always going to have difficulty in passing through the legislature. If it had, it would have been the first ban on e-cigarettes in the UK and could have adversely affected the industry and caused more smokers to relapse and go back to their old habits.

Vaping is not a ‘cure’ for smoking but it is a much healthier alternative. Over 2 million people in the UK now choose to vape rather than smoke real cigarettes, improving their health and giving them more money in their pockets. It would be a shame if we started legislating to ban them from public areas.