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Smoke-Free Wales

The Welsh Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing has published Wales’ long-term tobacco control strategy A Smoke-free Wales and a first 2-year delivery plan

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The Welsh Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing has published Wales’ long-term tobacco control strategy ‘A Smoke-free Wales’, and a first two-year delivery plan ‘Towards a Smoke-free Wales Delivery Plan 2022-24’. The move has been welcomed by ASH Wales but not by trade body the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA).

Lynne Neagle, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing said: “The strategy sets out our ambition for Wales to be smoke-free Wales by 2030. This means reducing smoking prevalence rates among adults to 5% or less over the next eight years. To support the delivery of the strategy, we are putting in place a series of two-year delivery plans, which set out the actions we will take as we work towards a smoke-free Wales.”

The ‘A Smoke-free Wales’ pdf restricts all mentions of vaping to one paragraph stating that Wales will work to prevent teenagers taking up vaping.

ASH Wales called it “an ambitious new tobacco control strategy for Wales”. The organisation has always been lukewarm towards vaping as a means of tobacco harm reduction.

The charity did state: “The current evidence indicates e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco, and can help people to quit smoking, when combined with behavioural support. Welsh Government has committed to exploring their role as possible tobacco quitting aid.”

ASH Wales added: “The new strategy will consider how to expand and support existing smoke-free legislation. Welsh surveys show majority support for smoke-free legislation, particularly around smoke-free spaces that protect children.”

A recent YouGov survey (2021) of Welsh adults conducted by ASH Cymru revealed:

  • 81% believe smoking should be banned in outdoor areas where children play sport.
  • 67% would support banning smoking in outdoor eating areas, of all restaurants, pubs and cafes.
  • 67% would support a ban on smoking in all cars, up from 63% in 2017.

Katie Till, Cancer Research UK’s public affairs manager in Wales, said: “Smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer and is responsible for around 3,100 cancer cases in Wales every year. Achieving a smoke-free Wales by 2030 would save lives. For Wales to hit this target, we need to see ambition in the way we support people to quit and prevent people from starting.

“Smoking is also the single biggest driver of inequalities in life expectancy in the UK. It’s critical the plan addresses this, so fewer people are affected by the harms of smoking in the future.”

In response to the launch of the strategy, UKVIA wrote on Twitter: “Disappointed to see this huge, missed opportunity from the Welsh Government to recognise the public health opportunity presented by vaping. The UKVIA will continue to press for a sensible and pragmatic approach.”


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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