The Welsh E-Cig Ban is ‘Misguided’

Opposition parties in Wales are calling Welsh Labour’s decision to ban e-cigs in public places ‘A huge step backwards’.

This is according to Welsh Tory Darren Miller describing any ban that may be put in place, while Lib Dem Kirsty Williams said the report “Contradicts all of Labour’s rhetoric”.

The proposal in question would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places in line with the smoking ban of July 2007.

This has divided opinion among health and medical groups.

PHE (Public Health England), who published the recent report that e-cigs are 95% safer than smoking, said it was “committed to ensure that smokers have a range pf evidence-based, effective tools to help them quit”

One of the report’s authors, Prof Ann McNeill from King’s College London, said the annual English death toll from smoking of 80,000 could be cut to 4,000 or less if all smokers switched to e-cigarettes.

“If I was running a stop-smoking service, I would encourage people who are interested in trying e-cigarettes to have a go.” she said.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams said: “The truth is that Labour want to ban e-cigarettes because it doesn’t like them, rather than basing the decision on evidence – it’s as simple as that.”

She added: “Labour ministers in Wales need to take heed of the evidence that is stacking up against them and scrap these proposals at once.”

The main argument put forward for the ban has changed from a public health issue to one of ‘re-normalising’ smoking despite evidence to the contrary.
Plaid Cymru health spokesperson Elin Jones said: “The evidence that e-cigarettes could ‘re-normalise’ smoking needs to be strong before we would be able to support a ban on their use in public places.”

Flying in the face of evidence that the number of ‘never smokers’ using e-cigs hasn’t risen by any noticeable margin, The Welsh government said it welcomed the report but defended its plans to restrict the use of e-cigarettes in line with conventional cigarettes.

“We are concerned the use of e-cigarettes may re-normalise smoking, especially for a generation who have grown up in a largely smoke-free society,” a spokesperson said.

“We are not alone in our concerns – the World Health Organisation and other international bodies have called for greater regulation of e-cigarettes and 40 other countries have already taken similar steps.

“Our Bill does not aim to prevent the use of e-cigarettes for those seeking to give up conventional smoking.”

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