E-cigarettes face curb in public places in Wales

 

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the aim was to address some of the nation's major public health challenges

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Wales could be the first part of the UK to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public places.

Ministers say they are responding to concern that the devices - which can contain nicotine - normalise smoking and undermine the smoking ban.

A minimum alcohol price of 50p per unit is also proposed in a white paper of ideas for public health legislation.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the aim was to address some of the nation's major public health challenges.

Analysis

It's now generally accepted that the smoking ban has had a positive health impact overall.

But as part of what it calls a radical new law to improve public health, the Welsh government is now turning its attention from tobacco to electronic cigarettes.

Sales of e-cigarettes have boomed in recent years - supporters claim they're much safer than ordinary cigarettes and can help some people quit.

Certain pubs, cafes and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff have already banned e-cigs.

The Welsh government wants to restrict their use only to places where you can legally smoke tobacco - for example outside or in smoking shelters.

Ministers claims e-cigarettes give the impression that smoking in public is normal and acceptable. It also argues that children could be tempted to try them, which could lead to nicotine addiction and be a gateway to smoking.

However opponents of the move claim that link isn't proven and the proposed law could stigmatise people who are trying to give up.

"Taking concerted, collective action to address public health concerns remains one of the most powerful contributions any government can make to the welfare and wellbeing of its population," he said.

"Alcohol and tobacco contribute to many life-threatening illnesses and are major causes of persistent inequalities in health.

"I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places.

"I am also concerned that their use in enclosed public places could normalise smoking behaviour.

"E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimise the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug."

However Richard Filbrandt, e-cigarette user and co-owner of the Vibrant Vapour cafe in Carmarthen, said they had studies showing there was no risk to passive smokers.

"There are studies done by Air for Change in America that say it doesn't warrant withdrawing them from public places, and they are the same people that said take cigarettes away from public places," he told BBC News.

"Why should we be treated like smokers? Why should we be put out at risk of passive smoking ourselves in a smoking area when we do not smoke?"

Welsh Conservatives described the ban as a "step backwards" for quitters.

Stiffer penalties

Shadow Health Minister Darren Millar said: "There is a clear danger that forcing someone outside into a smoker's hut will put them in temptation's way and harm their health due to second-hand smoke exposure."

On the subject of alcohol, Mr Drakeford said there was "indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters".

"It's no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has increased substantially, so has alcohol-related death and disease," he said.

Are e-cigarettes safe? (Report first published February 2013)

"A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-associated illnesses."

Other proposals in the white paper, which will be subject to consultation, include;

  • a tobacco retailers' register with stiffer penalties for those selling to under 18s
  • whether to make it an offence to deliver tobacco ordered online to someone under 18, even if the item was ordered by an adult
  • a national register of tattooists and providers of cosmetic piercing in order to improve regulation and set cleanliness and hygiene standards
  • requiring local authorities to develop a strategy to ensure toilets are publically available in local communities

Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Hussey said: "On the seventh anniversary of the smoking ban, it is symbolic that Wales is once again at the forefront of a new set of radical proposals to improve public health."

The white paper - Listening to you: Your health matters - is open to consultation until 24 June.

 

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  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1429.

    If there is scientific proof that there is no risk of a 'passive smoking'-type effect on those around the person(s) using e-cigs, then how on earth can ministers justify banning them on health grounds, yet continue to allow alcohol and fatty-foods to be sold and consumed in public places?

    A slippery slope...

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1428.

    This is banning on an "appearance" of smoking.
    Will they ban kettles too for the steam they produce?
    Since nicotine is tasteless why on earth would someone swap from a nicotine free flavoured product to one with nicotine?
    Shisha is more harmful than nicotine free e-cigs. Bet they won't ban those for fear of upsetting some cultures!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1427.

    we should all start wearing face masks like the chinese, would help out with this pollution problem too.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1426.

    If I shove potatoes up the exhaust pipes of Wales politicians cars, then I am actually doing Welsh society a BIG favour

    If the Welsh assembly have REAL concern about other people BEING POISONED, then NONE of them would be driving cars & ALL of them would be buying local produce

    Also do they go on planes for holidays & could they take their emissions home with them instead of poisoning others

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 1425.

    Long and short of it:

    Cigarettes have many, proven health risks, both for smokers and those around them.

    E-cigs may have some health risks for users, although likely much less, and much, much less (if any) for those around.

    Vapers have a great chance of never smoking again.

    Net benefit to society is very positive if ppl switch. They're less likely to switch if forced outdoors.

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 1424.

    How can any of you idiots "mark down" my post @1384.

    All the clamours for reference to research (and not just opinion)
    is provided - presumably you mark it down because you just
    can't accept what it says.

    Challenge the findings if you think you are able to, but don;t down rate my posting because you don't like the evidence !

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1423.

    Its just a matter of time before massive taxes are slapped on E-cigarettes.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1422.

    I'm a vaper and have been for a long time. The device i use doesn't look like a cigarette and the vaper exhaled has no passive health issues for anyone. The e liquid i use contains nicotine but nicotine doesn't cause cancer, burning tobacco to deliver nicotine does.
    The ill informed, uneducated rabble responsible for this ban should hang there heads in shame. It's my choice.

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 1421.

    Has anyone enquired how much tax and duty these products attract? I beleive standard VAT only. So E-cigs are a brilliant way by the Tobacco Industry of selling Nicotine, a potent Alkaloid Poison and a carcinogen in its own right, without paying any duty.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 1420.

    Not sure if nationally representitive, or not, but my local pub used to be thriving & full of social activity & with two darts teams & one pool team. Most patrons were smokers & then the ban arrived in order to allow non smokers to enjoy the healthier environment. Guess what? They never came! Now when the elite users are banned, my beloved local will be empty, no smokers, no elites & no fascists.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1419.

    This measure is simply to make enforcement easier.
    A less draconian measure would be to have these devices coloured in say vermillion. That they were not normal cigarettes would be obvious, and allow society to support people who need every help they can get.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1418.

    Surely this is in part demonisation of those who have found a somewhat viable and safe alternative to that which the non-smoking lobby would arguably prefer - that everyone should live as they choose to. Perhaps we should also ban obese people from eating vast amounts in public, or have seperate drinking areas for alcholol drinkers and t-totals in pubs.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1417.

    Further to my last comment (1346) there are traces of nicotine in second hand vapor BUT not enough to cause harm, comparable levels to that found in vegetables! Don't recall anyone with a potato addiction

    Sources:
    http://casaa.org/uploads/8_Biggest_Electronic_Cigarette_Myths.pdf

    www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199308053290619?keytype2=tf_ipsecsha&ijkey=09174147c440b96900667f3fef93fd3cd0100cee

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 1416.

    Listening to anyone is the last thing any politician does!

    There is no basis for limiting the use of e-cigs. The only justification for the limit on smoking was that smoke affects others as well as the smoker (which a more civilised zoning approach and strong ventilation would have coped with), e-cigs don't even harm the user. Unacceptable meddling, reject it.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 1415.

    We all breathe in the contents of other people's lungs, particularly in an enclosed public place. But I'd rather not have them with the user's choice of additives, nicotine or not. I thought we'd got rid of that kind of pollution in enclosed places for good, but it appears some people can't socialise without exhaling what might well be offensive to others. Who knows what they'll put in them next?

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1414.

    1337. LadyPutt
    These things still give off smoke and it is that which I find offensive in public and enclosed spaces so they should be banned.
    --
    We should rather ban ignorant people who try to ban things they don't know.
    It's not smoke. It's vapour.
    People like you make smokers oh soo cool.

    And what on earth is "offensive" about smoke ?
    It stinks and it is harmful, but what is offensive?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1413.

    Moderation in all things is a wonderful thing, it would help however if the BBC Website could let us get access to see why there are concerns as to the use of language such as "Muppet", which was endorsed today inPMQ

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1412.

    @ 1401. Anglerfish "Recent USA research" was that done by an independent scientific committee or Marlboro?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1411.

    @1384 AndyT

    Just an fyi.. that article you linked has been roundly criticised for being junk science and Mr Glantz is rapidly becoming a laughing stock, even within tobacco control circles.

    Unsurprisingly, he has links to pharma corps who rely heavily on 'traditional' nrt products for their profits.. and vaping is cutting into those profits in a big way.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 1410.

    I wonder how e-cigarettes have affected the purse linings of the multi billion dollar tobacco industry. Come on people, do a bit of research into who is funding the research against these. The government is happy to does us up with chemicals like fluoride and aspartame, yet they now show a sudden fear for our health? What about nicotine inhalers, or the mind altering chantix? Profit before thought

 

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