The use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public and work places is to be banned in Wales.
The move is part of a new public health law being introduced by the Welsh government which is scheduled to come into force in 2017. Wales, being the first place in the UK to introduce such legislation, is bringing e-cigarette use into line with existing smoking laws and the principality will create a national register of tobacco and nicotine products retailers so local authorities have a definitive list.
The Welsh government added that the law will make it illegal to hand over tobacco or nicotine products to under-18s, for example via home delivery services. Health and social services minister Mark Drakeford said “we want to get the balance right between all the things that would make a big difference to people’s health and wellbeing in the future while not wanting to intrude on the legitimate rights people have to run their own lives”.
However the move has been criticised by groups who feel the potential risks of e-cigarettes have not been proven and they feel it is a mistake to be treat it in the same way as tobacco smoking.
Anti-smoking campaign group ASH said it does not support the proposed legislation, noting that “while the evidence that secondhand smoke causes harm to bystanders is irrefutable there is little evidence that vapour causes similar harm”. It added that e-cigarettes have been shown to help people quit smoking “and there is no evidence to currently suggest that they act as a gateway to smoking for young people in the UK”.