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Welsh Gateway Fears Debunked

Political worries about an ecig gateway effect to smoking go up in a puff of vape.

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The Welsh government’s committee for Health and Social Care met last month to discuss the impact of vaping. Mark Drakeford, the Welsh minister for Health and Social Care has long contended that electronic cigarettes offer a gateway into smoking and this dictates his stance on legislation. The Welsh Health Survey has proven to be a thorn in his side.

In announcing his plans he said: “you start with an e-cigarette and end up with a real cigarette and there is evidence of that.” Hanging his reputation on, at best, sketchy evidence was a bold step. Unfortunately The Welsh Health Survey has hit him squarely in the face like a giant custard pie.

As reported by Wales Online, the “survey can't find a single regular user that has never smoked.” Not one. Not only is there no gateway – there are no farm animals, an absence of tractors and the field has been concreted over to be turned into a shopping complex.

The news was seized upon by Liberal Democrats (who have been continually pushing for him to reconsider his attitude to vaping).

“If Labour’s claims that e-cigarettes were a gateway to tobacco were correct, we should be seeing people who have never smoked a cigarette before using e-cigs now,” said the Leader of the Welsh Lib-Dems. “In fact, the opposite is true: Labour’s survey couldn’t find a single e-cigarette user who’s never smoked a cigarette before. Welsh Labour Ministers must be pretty embarrassed that their own report is undermining their own argument for a vaping ban. It’s about time they listened to the evidence, and the thousands of people who have supported the Welsh Lib Dems’ campaign against their proposed ban, and scrapped these illiberal and illogical proposals.”

Drakeford refused to comment on the findings, preferring to send a minion to remind Wales about a discredited survey in the States. When faced with the truth, produced by his own people, he is resolutely sticking to a dogma based on ignorance. It is no wonder that Dick Puddlecoat previously wrote: “The Future Will Look Back And Shake Its Head At Mark Drakeford.”

According to The Guardian, ASH UK said: “there is emerging evidence [in their research] that e-cigarettes helped people quit smoking and there is little evidence they encouraged 'never smokers' to take it up.”

What Drakeford has previously said about electronic cigarettes:

  • Drakeford: “The Welsh government has a responsibility to create the conditions which enable people to live healthy lives and avoid preventable harm to their health.”
  • Sky on Drakeford: “Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford said e-cigarettes were a ‘gateway’ to deadly tobacco and wants to bring the devices in line with existing smoking laws.”
  • Drakeford: “There is evidence to suggest e-cigarettes are a source of second-hand exposure to nicotine.”
  • Drakeford: “We must remember that, in comparison with other available stop-smoking aids, e-cigarettes are the only method, which involves the ingestion of that highly-addictive substance nicotine directly into the lungs.”
  • Drakeford: “A New Zealand study, published in The Lancet last September, found that e-cigarettes were no more effective than nicotine patches at helping smokers to quit.”
  • The Mirror on Drakeford: “Last year Health Minister Mark Drakeford published a Health White Paper which claimed smoking behaviours could be ‘re-normalised’ through e-cigarettes.”
  • Drakeford: “The tobacco industry is deliberately and cynically positioning e-cigarettes in order to create – as their advertising says – the ‘Future of Smoking’.”
  • Drakeford: “A study by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found use by non-smokers is not uncommon.”
  • Drakeford: “Belgium, Australia and Brazil, find the evidence in relation to e-cigarettes so alarming and overwhelming, they are banned...We want to bring Wales into line with those forward-thinking areas around the world.”
Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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