Wales Drops Ecig Ban Plan

Posted 1st June 2016 by Dave Cross
Mark Drakeford was left with egg on his face following the ban bill he championed being defeated in the last act of the Welsh assembly. Questions remained whether he would seek to put it back on the table after the election for the new assembly. Those questions are now answered.

Labour failed to gain control of the new administration, facing a drawn out negotiation to discover if they could appoint a First Minister from their ranks. During the course of this it became all too apparent that attempting to push through an unpopular bill was outside of their ability.

“There is no point trying to bang our heads against a brick wall when it comes to e-cigs,” Carwyn Jones told the BBC’s Sunday Supplement show. “The public health bill will be brought back to the assembly but, clearly, there is no point including the provisions on e-cigs when we know they are not going to get through.”

The new bill will focus solely on the following aspects: compulsory licensing system for tattooists, prohibiting intimate piercing of children under 16 and a requirement for councils to produce a local toilets strategy. “There is no point trying to bang our heads against a brick wall when it comes to e-cigs,” Jones told Radio Wales.

It came in response to Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood stating: “Danger faces the government if it continues to be intransigent, we will consider very carefully what we do with our votes.”

Mark Drakeford had expressed his concern about the impact electronic cigarettes could have on children, especially his fear they could become a gateway to traditional cigarettes. Many spoke out against his position including Cancer Research UK, ASH and Tenovus Cancer Care.

ASH Wales’ chief executive, Suzanne Cass, welcomed the decision: “The evidence shows that e-cigs are being used as a cessation tool by a significant number of ex-smokers.”

Andrew RT Davies, leader of Welsh Conservatives, announced that he was "delighted that Labour has been forced to admit that they won't be pursuing this misguided policy."

So, what of the vaper’s friend? Mark Drakeford has been booted from his position as Health minister and shifted to the lesser role of being in charge of local government.  Unfortunately for Welsh residents, Drakeford has been given tax-collecting responsibilities and so his potential to upset even more people has grown. At least, for the foreseeable future, vapers can continue to use ecigs in the same places as a harm reduction strategy and escape from smoking.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker