Thursday, 3 April 2014

Wales wants to ban e-cigarette use in public places, because the Health Minister is worried

Yesterday the Welch government announced plans to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public places. This was reported by BBC News yesterday (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-26837682) and commented by several bloggers, the excellent Ashtray Blog being one of them (http://goo.gl/6ys08n). They also published a great summary of vapers comments on this today (http://goo.gl/k0r6Yr). And their reason for this plan? To avoid normalization of smoking and protect public health.

Reading Health Minister Mark Drakeford's comments on this makes me wonder if they have done any research or reading on the matter: "I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places. I am also concerned that their use in enclosed public places could normalise smoking behaviour. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimise the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug." In other words, the gateway argument and the re-normalization argument, presented without any scientific evidence at all. Not very surprising as the all the "evidence" supporting these arguments have been proved worthless countless times lately, so he wisely refrains from backing up his arguments in any way. What I read from all this, is that they plan to ban e-cigarettes, a technology with the potential to save the lives of millions of smokers, because the Health Minister is worried.

On the positive side, The Daily Mail had a very good article on the subject today: Craziness of the e-cigarette health police: 'Nanny state' Welsh Assembly considers ban in public spaces. I recommend reading it, as it kind of picks apart the arguments presented as reasons for the proposed ban. I particularily like this statement: "Women, it has to be said, look dead sexy puffing on their e-cigs, with their smoky Bette Davis eyes." Might not be the strongest pro-e-cig argument, but amusing at least.

Now, this ban obviously is a step in the wrong direction for Wales, but, it is still not approved, and the Welsh have an opportunity to speak their mind on the matter as there will be public consultation on the ban: http://goo.gl/BI5JE. Thanks to James from the Ashtray Blog for this link. Hopefully a lot of vapers will turn up and bring the Welsh government to reason.

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