E-cigarettes curb removed from Welsh health bill


Plans to ban e-cigarettes in some public places will be dropped from Wales' public health bill, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

The Public Health (Wales) Bill aimed to restrict the use of nicotine-inhaling devices in places such as schools, restaurants and cafes as well as on public transport.

But the contentious legislation was defeated by just one vote in the Welsh Assembly - handing the Labour government in Cardiff Bay a bitter defeat on the last day of Senedd business before May's election.

Opposition parties and even some health charities strongly criticised the planned curb on e-cigarettes.

Carwyn Jones

Jones told BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement the Public Health (Wales) Bill would be tabled again without the e-cigarettes ban.

"There is no point trying to bang our heads against a brick wall when it comes to e-cigs," he told the programme.

"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."

Originally, ministers wanted to ban e-cigarettes from all enclosed public and work places.

However, the proposals were watered down to places where children were present after a committee report split Assembly Members' opinions.

Man smoking an e-cigarette (Yui Mok/PA)

Pro-smoking group Forest branded the e-cigarette ban as illogical and in evidence to an Assembly committee, the British Heart Foundation called the legislation "heavy-handed".

As well as the e-cigarette measure, the Bill aimed to create a compulsory licensing system for tattooists, prohibit intimate piercing of children under 16 and require councils to produce a local toilets strategy.

Jones said Labour's minority Government would also have to rethink its council shake-up plans to win wider support.

His comments come at the start of a new Senedd term with Labour requiring backing from other parties to pass legislation.