The decision by the Welsh Health Minister to partially ban e-cigarettes in public places in Wales, has been criticised by trade bodies.
Mark Drakeford told the National Assembly for Wales that he supported a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in all enclosed public places in Wales. However following debate, the Public Health Bill will now ban e-cigarettes in just schools, eating places and on public transport instead. The ban on the use of the devices will affect bars and pubs if they serve food.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said there is no evidence to support a ban on e-cigarettes on health grounds, and that any ban incorporating licensed hospitality venues is ‘unhelpful’.
ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘The Welsh Government has acknowledged that there is widespread opposition to its Health bill, but continues to push forward with proposals despite a lack of evidence of harm.
‘By its own admission, there is no proof that e-cigarettes cause substantial harm and yet the Welsh Government is looking to enact legislation that has the potential to seriously disrupt trade for hospitality businesses.
‘Pubs, bars and nightclubs have their own policies regarding the use of electronic cigarettes within their venues and we see no reason why any such policy should not be at the discretion of the licensee. Unless we are presented with evidence that the use of such devices in a pub, bar or restaurant, comes with significant risk, heavy-handed legislation such as this should be avoided.’
A report published by Public Health England in August found e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco.