Wales Drops Proposed Ban on E cigarettes in All Public Places
Following a debate in the Senedd, the Welsh Assembly has agreed to amend the forthcoming Public Health (Wales) Bill to remove the proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in all public places. An amendment will now see the use of the devices prohibited in schools, eating places and on public transport.
While Malta, Belgium and Spain have already introduced similar measures, the ban intended to be introduced in 2017, would have been the first in the UK. MP’s in England have so far shown no appetite to impose restrictions based on research from Public Health England that found e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than tobacco.
Talking after the debate, Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I am not prepared, and I do not believe this assembly should be prepared to do nothing in the hope that harm might not occur. Basically we have changed our proposals so that a ban on e-cigarettes would be put in place in areas where there is a potential risk to children. The amendments will define more precisely those enclosed and substantially enclosed public spaces where, in future, the use of an e-cigarette would be prohibited.”
Many experts are yet to reach agreement on the potential for e-cigarettes to cause harm with the British Heart Foundation and ASH Wales both expressing concern over the proposed ban which was supported by the British Medical Association and is a World Health Organisation policy.