Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said at the end of the drawn out fact-finding process: “The evidence presented to the committee has been clear that this ban would have an adverse impact on the health of vapers, many of whom use e-cigs as a tool to give up smoking. I’m confused as to how Labour has come to a completely opposing view from the same evidence. Forcing vapers outside to use their e-cigs with tobacco smokers will subject them to passive smoke, making the task of those who are vaping in order to give up smoking much more difficult.”
Drakeford’s reformed proposal gained approval for a ban in schools, hospitals, train and bus stations and places selling food. Pubs that do not serve food were to be excluded – but then those are few and far between these days. Buoyed by the support from his own party he now seeks to expand the ban once again, now to cover cinemas, zoos, shops and playgrounds as well.
With the vote set to take place on March 15th, the ruling Labour party require the support of just one opposition Assembly member in order to see it across the finish line. The Lib Dems and Conservatives look set to vote against the bill but Plaid Cymru have given their members a free vote and Llyr Gruffydd has already said he will vote for the ban.
As part of a final call for support, Williams said: “You'd think that a Public Health Bill would be designed to improve the health of the Welsh public. In fact, it could have the exact opposite effect as people are discouraged from making the positive switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Post reports that Hon Lik, inventor of the electronic cigarette, has “blasted” Drakeford and his chums. Writing directly to the man behind the ban, Lik said: “I’m very proud that thanks to my invention, millions of smokers have managed to either cut their consumption significantly or stop smoking completely. That is why I am extremely disappointed to hear that Wales has proposed a ban on vaping in public places. I believe that e-cigarettes are a key component in a harm reduction approach to cutting smoking rates. Banning their use in public places is wrong. It sends a contradictory message at a time when authorities have clearly stated that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.”
Drakeford has said nothing new or worthy of exposure.