Despite opposition from Conservative and Liberal Democrat members, the Welsh Assembly approved a ban on a large part of public e-cig use as part of the Public Health Bill. The Labour Party found enough support from Plaid Cymru assembly members to include the language.
The law excludes pubs that do not serve food, sex establishments, casinos, betting shops, adult gaming centres, premises with a bingo licence, specialist retailers of e-cigarettes, and pharmacy consulting rooms, according to a report on the BBC News website.
Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford — a long time opponent of e-cigs — spoke in favor of including the public use restrictions in the bill, which will be voted on by the assembly next week. In his speech summing up the Labour government’s position, he stated that e-cigs are the “least effective” way to quit smoking, and called his position “the most modest and mainstream way of proceeding.”
Many in the UK public health community — which is considerably more sympathetic to vaping than ours in the US — were upset by the assembly’s action. The e-cig ban had been opposed by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Cancer Research UK, and the Royal College of Physicians Wales, among other groups.
British e-cig advocates, of course, were unanimously outraged. Twitter buzzed all day with exasperated vapers, many of whom directed their anger at Drakeford.
Well Welsh Vapers. You now know what you have to do in May. Vote out every Labour AM you can and then we can get the ban overturned— Simon 'Anecdote' T (@Jester2109) March 8, 2016
I have just witnessed an absolute travesty taking place in Wales. Drakeford has deserved every vapers' wrath, has lied through his teeth.— Dorn... Dave Dorn. (@Hifistud) March 8, 2016
Vaping360 reached out to the New Nicotine Alliance for comment on Tuesday night, and received the following statement:
“The decision by Welsh Assembly Members today to reject the amendments to the health bill tabled by Kirsty Williams AM (Liberal Democrat) was disappointing in the extreme. The measures proposed by Labour Health Minister Mark Drakeford to restrict the use of vaping devices to little more than sex shops, gambling establishments and non-food pubs are completely devoid of any evidential basis, they penalise people who are harming no one, and they send completely the wrong message to smokers who may be considering switching to a product which is at least 95% safer than smoking cigarettes. Vapers will no doubt display their displeasure in the Welsh elections on May the 5th.”