Plaid Cymru has opted against the partial ban of e cigarettes in Wales as put forward by the Labour party. The bill was adjusted from a complete ban originally suggested in summer 2015 that was to include all enclosed places and workplaces, to only certain public areas such as hospitals and schools where children could be present. If the ban had been accepted, it was due to start in spring 2017.
Mark Drakeford, the Welsh health minister (Labour party) during a general debate in the public health (wales) bill said “I am not prepared, and I do not believe this assembly should be prepared, to do nothing in the hope that harm might not occur.”
Plaid Cymru had a free vote over it and the group was split. Some members believed
that by making vaping ‘acceptable’ in public places it may lead to vaping essentially being ‘normalised’ and luring children into vaping however it was argued that there was not enough evidence to support this view.
The support for the ban all fell apart after a ‘jokey comment’ was made by a Labour minister saying that all assembly members who were prepared to vote with the government were a ‘cheap date’. A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said that Leighton Andrews had shown a disrespect for parties and individual assembly members who were trying to seek consensus across political divides.
The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives were in full support of not allowing the ban to go through as they believe it provides value to those trying to make better of their health situation.
12 experts from universities across the country and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training had all written to assembly members saying that there was no evidence to support the proposed legislation as proposed by the Labour party.
Kirsty Williams from the Liberal Democrats said “For a bill that claims to address public health, some of Wales’s biggest health concerns – obesity, diabetes, air quality, heart disease – don’t even get a mention. Labour’s poverty of ambition for the health of our nation is shocking. The truth is that as it’s currently drafted, this bill won’t improve public health. If anything, it will have exactly the opposite effect thanks to Labour’s ill-thought out vaping ban. Welsh Liberal Democrats will not support any bill that includes this ban.”