WALES could be the first part of the UK to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
Health minister, Mark Drakeford, has published a White Paper on improving health standards.
The paper sets out a number of radical legislative proposals.
The proposals include restricting the use of e-cigarettes in public places to address concerns these products normalise smoking and undermine the enforcement of the smoking ban.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that simulate tobacco smoking.
While they do tend to contain nicotine they do not produce smoke but do produce a liquid based vapour which gives the practice of using them the name “vaping”.
Speaking on the seventh anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban in Wales, Professor Drakeford said: “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.
“Alcohol and tobacco contribute to many life-threatening illnesses and are major causes of persistent inequalities in health.
“There is 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. A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-associated illnesses.
“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.
The White Paper consultation seeks the views of as wide a range of people as possible about these proposals. The consultation will close on Tuesday June 24.
Landlord of The Boars Head Pub in Ruthin, Rich Hughes -Moseley, 39, said: “Banning them is a bit daft. It’s only water vapour because a lot of our regulars are users I don’t see the harm in it as there is no secondary smoke. It encourages people to quit smoking so I am against the ban.”
Jake Sui , barman at the Cock ‘o’ Rhudd Din, Ruthin, aged 21, said: “It’s rubbish, they shouldn’t ban them from pubs it’s only water vapour that’s why they were invented.
“The only things in them are nicotine and glycerine.”
Anthony Gannon, landlord at the Vaults in Ruthin, aged 25, said: “I wouldn’t ask someone to go outside if someone used them in the pub but you wouldn’t use them in a doctors surgery, but I don’t see the harm in them.”
Isaac Birchill, owner of theComputershop in Ruthin, said: “Basically I think they are brilliant. The most dangerous chemical in them is the least dangerous in a cigarette. The NHS did a study that showed e-cigarettes have chemicals in them but in quantities that are 1,000th found in cigarettes.”
Steve Wright, 42, owner of EziQuit a shop that specialises in selling e-cigarettes in Ruthin, said: It is daft that people have taken the decision to find a healthier alternative to smoking and now they are being restricted of it.
“It seems like they are getting banned because non smokers see people vaping and think that they are smoking. So we need to educate the public that it is not smoking and is a lot safer than smoking, As a business we would like people to accept it as an alternative to smoking but that is not how it is portrayed. The chemicals used in them are the same that are used in a lot of foods.”