Questions need to be asked about e-cigarettes

Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services, clarifies the Welsh Government’s position on e-cigarettes

The debate about the use of e-cigarettes within our society is underway. The Welsh Government has faced an onslaught of criticism for daring to consider the impact of e-cigarettes on the health of the nation and proposing new measures to protect people’s health from an emerging threat.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what we’re suggesting, so let me explain our proposals.

Our Public Health White Paper does not propose a ban on e-cigarettes. It does not propose new restrictions on their sale. It does not even contain a firm commitment to bring them into line with conventional cigarettes by restricting their use in enclosed public spaces. It asks for views and further evidence on the idea that such a ban would be beneficial to public health in Wales.

This week on Click on Wales


This week on Click on Wales we’ll be debating electronic cigarettes in Wales.


Today: Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford outlines the Welsh Government’s proposals for regulating e-cigarettes.


Tomorrow: Ash Cymru defend a harm reduction perspective of smoking electronic cigarettes.


Friday: Dr Julie Bishop explains why Public Health Wales is calling for regulation of e-cigarettes


Saturday: Jamie Inshole, a long term smoker describes the effect that vaping has had on his habit.


We need to ask ourselves whether the current exemption on e-cigarettes from the existing smoking ban makes its enforcement more difficult. Whether allowing e-cigarettes to be used in enclosed public spaces contributes to the re-normalisation of smoking and whether e-cigarettes act as a gateway product introducing a new generation to an addictive and harmful habit.

In the world of politics it is often said that actions speak louder than words. That’s why the voluntary introduction of restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes by companies and organisations as varied as Wetherspoons; Arriva Trains; Ryanair; Glyndwr, Aberystwyth and Cardiff universities; some health boards; Caerphilly Council; the Welsh Rugby Union, Swansea’s Liberty Stadium and a growing list of others is so important. They have moved to bring e-cigarettes into line with conventional cigarettes because, in the practical business of enforcing the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces, the use of e-cigarettes makes that more difficult.

There is evidence to suggest e-cigarettes are a source of second-hand exposure to nicotine and some scientists are calling for more research into the health consequences for children, pregnant women and people with heart conditions.

Turning to the wider issues of re-normalisation and e-cigarettes as a gateway product, the support for the precautionary approach, which underpins our White Paper proposals, comes from expert organisations such as Public Health Wales, the UK Chief Pharmaceutical Officers, the British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK and the Directors of Public Protection Wales,

We do not want to interfere with the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to giving up smoking. However, we must remember that, in comparison with other available stop-smoking aids, e-cigarettes are the only method, which involves the ingestion of that highly-addictive substance nicotine directly into the lungs. A New Zealand study, published in The Lancet last September, found that e-cigarettes were no more effective than nicotine patches at helping smokers to quit.

There is strong emerging evidence that the tobacco industry is deliberately and cynically positioning e-cigarettes in order to create – as their advertising says – the “Future of Smoking”.

A survey of Paris schoolchildren found two thirds of 12 to 14-year-old e-cigarette users were non-smokers. The researchers concluded that for teenagers, e-cigarettes were not a product to aid quitting tobacco, but designed for experimentation and initiation into cigarette use. And here in the UK, a study by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University found use by non-smokers is not uncommon.

In the US, Congress is moving to strengthen the regulation of e-cigarettes – a report published on Capitol Hill last month described the way the industry targets e-cigarettes at children with flavours like Cherry Crush and Chocolate Treat.

Other nations, including Belgium, Australia and Brazil, find the evidence in relation to e-cigarettes so alarming and overwhelming, they are banned. In the United States a ban on ‘vaping’ in enclosed public spaces is already in place in New Jersey and North Dakota; bills to do the same thing are being introduced in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Meanwhile, cities are already enforcing a ban in Boston, New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago.

We want to bring Wales into line with those forward-thinking areas around the world which have already recognised the potential harm of e-cigarettes to public health and have taken steps accordingly.

We therefore have a choice. Do we want to be where public health medicine in Wales has so often been in the past – at the progressive, cutting-edge of protection from harm? Or do we want future generations to look back and shake their heads at our inability to see where the evidence was leading and to take the practical steps we had the power and the authority to take?

Mark Drakeford is the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales. He is the Assembly Member for Cardiff West.

27 thoughts on “Questions need to be asked about e-cigarettes

  1. How about trying to get our economy moving by getting control of income tax; corporation tax and APD? It would probably be the single most important thing you could do to improve people’s health in Wales. How many people in Ebbw Vale are on anti-depressants due to trying to cope with their hopeless economic situations and low life chances? Unfortunately, the British Labour party and their ‘Welsh’ subordinates isn’t in any way interested in such fundamental and far-reaching meaures which would help to improve the lives and health of the people of Wales. You just tinker around the edges and play the fiddel while Rome burns. Shameful!

  2. I feel qualified to comment by virtue of the fact I was a smoker for 50 years, before trying an e-cigarette. I quit smoking immediately, something I had previously failed to do in any other way. E-cigs are a gateway OUT of smoking. Their use normalises NOT smoking, which is surely laudable. Young people will try new things, however one might try to deter them. If they try vaping, surely that is preferable to their trying tobacco? Nicotine is not the danger stated; it is the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke that do harm. Until it be convincingly proved that vaping does harm to non-users, it should be permitted anywhere that other legal, everyday activities are permitted, Vaping involves no combustion, no smoke, no fire, no tobacco. It is NOT smoking – and never will be!

  3. I don’t understand,
    It is not progressive to issue a statement which is one sided and fails to include sources.
    It is not progressive to selectively pick evidence on old and small sample studies

    I expected to see this, the largest survey conducted on the gateway effect and general use, commissioned by ASH (Action Against Smoking) and, to their surprise (and many others) dramatically altered their position on electronic cigarettes: I believe this will supersedes the questionable two thirds of e-cig users aged between 12 and 14 have never smoked…
    This survey was, after all, widely reported in the media.
    In the interest of professionalism rather than rhetoric, here is the source:

    You mentioned Tobacco companies actively and cynically exploiting electronic cigarettes as “the future of smoking” – this is made possible by their and pharmaceutical companies successful lobbying of the European Commissions Tobacco Products Directive – the boon for these two industries is that once the directive comes into force, they will be the only ones who can afford to compete and will result in the only electronic cigarettes on the market being the ones that look like cigarettes.

    Regarding science on harm and also widely reported, there is the recent letter to the Director General of The World Health Organisation with lots of references to help educate: A copy of it can be found here:

    Referencing the companies and organisations that have banned based on perception and the tenuous “we can’t tell if it’s smoking” is a circular logic on par with the perception that 60mg of nicotine kills (a great example of self referencing errors from the 1850’s to the present day, now debunked).

    Finally, you mentioned the likes of Cancer Research UK who now laud electronic cigarettes a significant path to quitting smoking: and likely to save millions of lives.

    Please – do allow facts to get in the way of entrenched positions, ignorance and prejudice.

  4. Perhaps sorting out the terrible state of the NHS in wales should be a priority Mr Drakeford? It is widely acknowledged that nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine for instance and considering this recent letter to the WHO you need to scrap your ridiculous proposals which will actually push more people back towards smoking traditional cigarettes and therefore DAMAGE the health of the Welsh people and increase tobacco consumption.

  5. Mr Drakeford is clearly missing the point here.

    Recent surveys have repeatedly shown that the public is AGAINST any ban in public spaces. The fact that Wetherspoons, Liberty Stadium, Ryanair etc etc have banned the use of ecigarettes is THEIR choice. That is the RIGHT of private organisations. It is also the RIGHT of private organisations to choose to allow ecigarettes in their spaces. Most pubs in Swansea actively ENCOURAGE vapers into their premises as they are bringing bad the badly needed trade that they lost due to the smoking ban. Contrary to what Drakeford claims, Arriva Trains have NOT banned electronic cigarettes.

    It is NOT the place of Government to legislate about what PRIVATE companies do in their own space. If they want to ban ecigarettes, then that is their right. If they want to allow and encourage ecigarettes, then that is also their choice. It is not for you or anyone in Government to dictate to them in this way.

    If Drakeford actually CARED about Public Health, he would be listening to the EXPERTS who have conducted extensive and detailed studies, not listening to the discredited works of Stanton Glantz.

    Is Mr Drakeford aware that the recent much-publicised study by Professor Robert West that found no gateway to smoking from vaping and NO evidence that children are attracted to ecigarettes was actually commissioned by Cancer Research UK ?

    Furthermore, what Public Health Wales are advising him to do is in direct contradiction to the stance being taken by Public Health England.

    The BMA is a TRADE UNION. Does the Welsh Government take advice on Transport Policy from the Transport & Railworkers Union ?

    There have been more than a 100 studies into ecigarettes. We know EXACTLY what is in them. We also know that they are orders of magnitude (100-1000 times) safer than tobacco cigarettes.Almost all of them can be found online using Google.

    For a supposed Professor, Mr Drakeford shows an alarming inability to properly research his subject matter.

    Here’s a thought for you Mr Drakeford. Why don’t you put your efforts into sorting out the NHS in Wales. Maybe you can find out why our hospitals are collapsing under the strain they are in. Perhaps you should be investigating why our hospitals are on the brink of becoming another ‘Staffordshire’ incident. Maybe you can investigate why it takes up to 4 hours for ambulances to attend ’emergency’ call-outs ?

    Get off your idelogical crusade. You have NO evidence for your persecution of ecigarettes. You have no support for your ideological crusade. You are simply performing this exercise because YOU don’t like it.

    The Lib Dems, Consrvatives and Plaid Cymru have ALL seen through you. The Public sees right through you too.

    You are an incompetent politician who is trying to build a smokescreen to hide all of your failings as Health Minister. Do us all a favour and RESIGN.

    You are condemning vast swathes of the Welsh Public to an early death in your continued ideological crusade against a problem that does not exist, whilst similarly lording it over the complete and utter collapse of the Welsh NHS under your watch

  6. I agree with Mark Drakeford that we should ask questions about e cigarettes and that it is his duty to consider how we should respond to emerging threats to public health.My concern is that he gives every impression that he has drawn a conclusion for which there appears very little evidence.
    Mark clearly believes that e cigarettes are harmful in themselves and their public use will prove to be an obstacle in reducing the use of normal cigarettes. He may be correct but he may not be. Possibly the use of e cigarettes is the best way we have of eliminating tobacco use from much of the population. It may be that public use enhances that effect. I am not sure which of these possibilities is true. I dont think there is enough evidence for either conclusion.
    Mark`s argument places a great deal of weight on very slight evidence. He say`s that there is strong evidence that the tobacco industry are “cynically promoting the future of smoking”. Well that may be true of those parts of the industry that have invested in this new product. I would think that a very large part of the tobacco industry would see this as an existential threat. Wouldn’t they wish to restrict ecigarettes? In any case would e cigarettes as the future of smoking be a bad thing? In an ideal world everyone would simply stop smoking. But a world with lots of nicotine addicts who don’t use tobacco is far better than the world we live in now.
    A last point on liberty. Government`s should only restrict freedoms when there is substantial cause.We ban smoking in public places because we have clear evidence that second hand smoking does significant and even fatal harm.Restricting liberty on a hunch is wrong.

  7. 1 – You listed many companies and councils have brought the use of e-cigs in line with the smoking ban. You can not make a move on the use of e-cigs in public spaces based on this because they are all privately owned locations! Members of the public who enter these locations are subject to the private locations owners rules and not of the Welsh Assembly legislation. The only reason why the listed private companies have banned e-cigs because they are misinformed that e-cigs all look like cigarettes which is simply not the case.

    2 – You say there is evidence of second-hand exposure to nicotine in the vapour to those around e-cig users. In fact, the levels of toxins or nicotine in e-cig vapour are so small they are considered no health threat according to leading e-cig research scientists who I have no doubt you did not think of contacting.

    3 – The survey from Paris is not exactly comparable with Wales or the UK. The research carried out by Prof Robert West said ““Despite claims that electronic cigarettes risk renormalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this.On the contrary, e-cigarettes may be helping to reduce smoking.” May I add this also back that there is no gateway in to smoking whatsoever!

    4 – The use of flavourings is not specifically designed to be aimed at children. Are you trying to say that no adult wants a pleasant flavour to help them get off tobacco. I am use sweet flavours, that does not mean that I want to go and stuff my face with sweets! It actually reinforces why I chose to get off tobacco in the first place, to get rid of the bad smells and tastes in my mouth.

    5 – If you do want to recognised as a forward thinking government when it comes to e-cigs regarding their harm or harm reduction, one of the best ways to do this is to interact with the scientific experts and members of the public who use e-cigs themselves in order to get input for the best type of legal framework

  8. Mr Drakeford claims that his white paper does not propose bans and restrictions, and then goes on to set out his case for just such an intention.

    It is known from studies in the UK including Wales that e-cigarette use is overwhelmingly by smokers and ex smokers and there is very little take up by youth, even less by non smoking youth, and the gateway from e-cigarettes to tobacco is non-existent. The fact that Mr Drakeford can name approximately 10 organisations who have banned indoor use on the basis of a difficulty in being able to the difference when enforcing the smoking ban is irrelevant when you consider that that leaves several thousand who feel perfectly able to do so. Perhaps those 10 should review the way in which they train their staff instead of implementing the lazy solution.

    The New Zealand study to which Mr Drakeford refers was conducted using poor quality 1st generation products which are now obsolete, and yet they still achieved better (though not statistically significant) results than patches. A more recent study by Prof Robert West has concluded that people using e-cigarettes are 60% more likely to quit than those using over the counter NRT.

    Mr Drakeford has so far failed to present any evidence at all that vapour is in any way harmful to bystanders, or that e-cigarette use does anything other than normalise e-cigarette use for smokers. Whilst smoking bans were supposedly on health grounds, there is no such justification for e-cigarettes. One consequence of the smoking ban was, according to public health professionals, the denormalisation of smoking, which on the ground translates to the demonisation and stigmatisation of smokers. One wonders why Mr Drakeford would advocate doing that to any citizen let alone one who is using an e-cigarette to avoid the use of the very much more harmful option of tobacco.

    Usage bans of the sort that Mr Drakeford proposes (albeit he says he doesn’t) will send out the wrong message to smokers, non smokers and e-cigarette users alike and that is that e-cigarette use is as bad as smoking. This will lead to less smokers turning to the safer option and harm to health on both a personal and population level. Mr Drakeford need look no further than Spain where usage bans have lead to a dramatic fall in e-cigarette sales if he needs further evidence.

  9. With respect and recognising the problems faced by enforcement authorities in regard to e-cigs, wipe the slate clean of the media scaremongering and world-wide ‘Chinese whispers’ and consider the open letter recently sent to Dr. Chan of the WHO by 53 eminent experts from across the world. Based on this evidence take the practical steps that you have the power and authority to take and future generations will thank you and be saved from the scourge of lit tobacco and its consequences.

  10. If you have read the article above you would think that there is good evidence for restricting e cigarette use and availability. Look closely at that “evidence”. There is a lot of “opinion” as apposed to scientific proof. Please look at the real science not peoples opinion of what will happen in future. Please be aware that the Pharmacutical companies with billions of dollars to spend could be the biggest losers if e cigs take over from tobacco and a lot of the organisations cited in the article are funded by these companies or have very close ties to them. Some organisations who sound like they should be the experts on the subject would all loose their jobs if e cigs ended the tobacco epidemic. Please remember the thousands of tobacco smokers who die early and could be saved by switching to e cigs, in my opinion this outweighs the possible downsides of switching.

  11. e-cigarettes are the only method, which involves the ingestion of that highly-addictive substance nicotine directly into the lungs
    Really? What about the Nicotine inhaler? inaccuracy like this and the use of outdated or skewed reports coupled with if such forward thinking country’s as Brazil ban them.. show how idealogical this urge to regulate is.
    Nice to see a small row back from a proposal to include ecig in smoking bans to just considering the idea. At least he realizes how unpopular this idea is.

  12. What I fail to understand is (correct me if I’m mistaken) Public Health policy for the past 30 years has battled to encourage and stop people from using a legal product (tobacco cigarette) that actually kills 50% of those that use them. The UK’s stop smoking service calculated that 147,000 smokers had successfully stopped smoking tobacco due to Public Health policies and its services over the past 10 years. The recent ASH report on smoking prevalence stated that in the UK there are now 2.1 million users of e-cigs of which 700,000 have completely stopped smoking tobacco by replacing tobacco use with the universally scientifically acknowledged 95% safer e-cig product and this result being achieved over the past 5 years. So with these undisputed facts – a 95% safer product than tobacco smoking, a popular product that smokers are increasingly using to replace harmful tobacco use, the fact that 5 times as many non smokers (the public health objective) have been attributed to e-cig use compared with traditional public health stop smoking measures can any politician honestly claim that restrictions on e-cig use are for the benefit of public health. It makes absolutely no logical sense whatsoever and if this is an indication of what public health stands for – namely stop/change what is working to stop people smoking – than we almost certainly have the wrong people in power and authority.

  13. Sir
    You start this piece stating :
    “does not propose a ban on e-cigarettes. It does not propose new restrictions on their sale. It does not even contain a firm commitment to bring them into line with conventional cigarettes by restricting their use in enclosed public spaces…”
    but you then go on to cite countries and US State that HAVE banned their use in public places and then state you want to :
    ” bring Wales into line with those forward-thinking areas around the world which have already recognised the potential harm of e-cigarettes ”

    The White Paper may not state it, but your closing paragraphs seem to indicate the very clear direction in which you intend to go.

  14. This article is full of scaremongering lies and factually incorrect information. The fact of the matter is there is no evidence that it is a gateway in to tobacco use. It is a gateway out. The article states that ecigarettes are enticing children with flavours? What about cherry flavour alcohol, and rum and chocolate desserts and chocolate alcohol? Why would over 50 doctors and scientists write to WHO asking for them to rethink their stance on ecigs? They are helping people off tobacco not on to it. Millions of people have stopped smoking tobacco and now “vape”. Is the problem that Mr Drakeford has with ecigarettes actually to do with public health? Or the fact that money is being lost by governments and pharmaceutical and tobacco industries. Future generations will look back in shock and shame if You continue down the route of lies and scare tactics. Ecigarettes have the opportunity to wipe out tobacco smoking. Yet the policies being put in to play will make it easier for someone to smoke rather than quit with an ecig. How can you police such a thing, will you have police officers with nicotine testing kits for those who use ecigarettes without nicotine in? If you hold your breath you don’t exhale any water cappie, again how can you police something you cannot see? Clutching at your ridiculous straws. You say you want people to stop smoking yet how are smokers meant to see the healthier alternative of ecigarettes if you ban them everywhere. Shame on you.
    Quick let’s ban everything that we are too incompetent to speak to the actual experts in the field of ecigarette research about.
    Even better, ban water because it looks like vodka, and steam from a kettle because it looks like smoke.
    I’m embarrassed to be Welsh, and ashamed at the Welsh leaders if they continue to believe the lies and scientific facts. The death of smokers who will never get the choice for a healthier option will be on your hands. Does a minister really know more than professor West or the multitude of doctors who support ecigarette use, for what they are, a life saver? I think not.

  15. ‘Other nations, including Belgium, Australia and Brazil, find the evidence in relation to e-cigarettes so alarming and overwhelming, they are banned. ‘

    well then where is this overwhelming evidence? hiding? waiting to pounce? timid? or just plain not there. If you make a statement like the you did, you really need to back it up with something.

    That French study, i suppose its the same one that says 12-15 yr old smoking rates have HALVED in 4 yrs since vaping came on the scene from 20% to 11%. Where is the gateway? pray tell as it appears to go the other way

    If you actually care about Public Health try listening to the public and actually considering health

  16. And once again Mr Drakeford lies as he did to the Assembly – Australia hasn’t banned e-cigarettes. The sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is banned, but non-nicotine ones are available, and Australians are free to import them for personal use. I note that he has dropped the assertion made in the Assembly that the Czech Republic has banned them – of course they haven’t they don’t even have a comprehensive ban on smoking tobacco in public places.

    He touts the ludicrous bans placed by Wetherspoons, Arriva, Ryanair etc. as being important. The only thing of importance there is that it clearly highlights that there is absolutely no need for legislation whatsoever, apart from maybe some to clarify that the smoke-free premises act does not apply to e-cigarettes.

    The minister is, as ever, woefully misinformed, and I am not going to blame his civil servants for this – the responsibility is his.

  17. I find it staggering that Mr Drakeford can call this a progressive policy at the “cutting edge” of Public Health proposals and policies ,this White Paper is in fact the total opposite . Cherry picked data from discredited out of date studies ,support from the ill informed Dr’s Union (BMA) and other head in the sand individuals hardly qualifies as “emerging evidence” . The genuine experts in this field are totally ignored ,even ASH has slowly changed its position in recent months .
    Consultation is to be applauded BUT is it likely that the many objections will help to frame the policy? I have serious doubts that this will be the case regarding e-cigarettes, there seems a determination to apply an illogical set of restrictions based on dogma not Science whatsoever. Has the Welsh Government consulted any of the World renowned experts like Profs West,Britton,Stimson, al ,if not why not? Who produced the guidance report -which experts actually were involved in producing any guidance in this area ?

    Head in the sand policies are totally unprogressive!

  18. Mark, you say you have received a lot of criticism, and rightly so – for you are the first time proposing to use anti-smoking legislation to target both people who have stopped and are trying to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes.

    And you seem to have little regard for the consequences, or to have carried out an impact assessment, despite the fact that Spanish legislation has lead to a 70% decrease in ecigarettes sales. That means more smokers smoking, and fewer smokers switching.

    In your article, as in the Welsh Assembly Debate, you say you have not committed to a decision – then proceed to submit cherry picked and one sided evidence in favour of a ban on ecigs in public places.

    You say there is evidence that ecigs are a source of exposure to second hand nicotine.

    Scientists say the amount that would be ingested is so small as to be laughable (see what three professors of medicine had to say about it here:

    Their beliefs are backed up by at least three studies into the potential of passive vaping.

    You claim that nicotine is inhaled directly into the lungs. But in fact, Murray Laugeson of Health New Zealand found that nicotine is absorbed into the airway passages. Not that it matters – unless you have a moral inclination against drugs being absorbed in the lung, the important fact is the ultimate effect on health, not how it is inhaled. And scientists believe ecigarettes are up to 100 times safer than tobacco cigarettes.

    What does matter is that ecigarettes are 60% more effective than NRT.

    As for highly addictive, let’s remember that ecigarettes are considered by scientists to be less addictive than tobacco cigarettes because they deliver nicotine more slowly. In addition, compounds in tobacco which contribute towards addiction are missing from ecigarettes.

    You mention a French study that found teens were using ecigs, while ignoring British research commissioned by Action on Smoking and Health that shows British youngsters do not use ecigaretts. Yet you fail to mention the study was hailed as a success by French scientists like Dr Houezec, who stated:

    “This is good news! The increased popularity of e-cigs among youth participated in a important decrease of tobacco use between 2011 and 2014.”


    In the 12-15 group, smoking decreased from 20.2% in 2011 to 11.1% That sounds very much like an exit from smoking, not a gateway – and an exit which you want to brick up.

    You say that the industry targets children. Yet the UK industry body banned the sale of ecigs to children years before the Welsh government even started considering the issue. Flavours, meanwhile, play an important part in denormalising the smoking of tobaccoo – when you vape non-tobacco flavours you are unlikely to return to tobacco cigarettes.

    You talk about future generations. Will future generations look back and say, here was a massive public health opportunity which saved tens of millions of lives worldwide? Or will they look back, and say politicians ignored the evidence, and have the blood of smokers on their hands as a result?

  19. On reading this article, one cannot help but draw the conclusion that the Minister is more concerned with how the policy to restrict the use of e-cigarettes looks to those of influence outside of Wales. The need to be ‘progressive and cutting edge’ in health policy making seems all consuming. This is not about your legacy Minister, it’s about saving lives.

    We know from history that politicians can, and do, start to believe their own hype when they use policy based evidence to prove their case for implementing changes that they desire, against resistance from those that are affected by the proposals. The Minister admits himself how much criticism his proposals on e-cigarettes have received. Surely, that should give him pause to rethink his proposals? The evidence from England, in particular, is starting to become overwhelming that these devices have huge potential to reduce harm from smoking.

    You will be judged, Minister, by those that follow you and by history. You should also examine your conscious in this matter as your position of power is not one that should be knowingly abused. Do the right thing, do no harm.

  20. Mark Drakeford,

    Minister for Health and Social Services,

    As an honourable man, please directly address the points raised in these comments.

  21. I will tell all those involved to go to and read all the evidence not just the selective negative evidence that has been used to attempt to justify a public ban.
    Sadly I fear this will mean those in power will fail to read anything but more of the contrived and negative science being produced for those such as Mr Drakeford to use to force his own delusional view of the world on the rest of us.
    Electronic cigarettes do not encourage smoking in anybody as far as any of the reputable science has found. Second hand exposure does not exist except for in experiments which have been designed to ensure it will be present. Just because other places ahve jumped to prohibit these devices shouldn’t even be talked about since this is their choice and again was based on personal opinions not on science or fact. People do not suddenly lose their taste buds when reaching majority – if so all these legislators and myself would just eat plain gruel since nothing would taste of anything.

    If you wish to ignore all the science and only concentrate on the parts that suit you then please just state this is what you are doing, making a decision based on your own personal opinion – to do otherwise is openly lying to the electorate and as far as I am concerned means a politician or legislator is unfit for his position and should be removed and possibly jailed for fraud of some sort.

  22. You say that your White Paper is “not proposing a ban,” but it is proposing a ban because by virtue of its very existance, it claims to be fishing for opinions on whether or not a ban should be sought after. If I said to someone, “Hey, if I were to ask you whether or not your automobile could use a good waxing,” would you think that answering that question in either or positive or negative way would save you from my inevitable sales pitch for SuperWax Arosol Spray? Don’t pretend that people are idiots… The French monarchy underestimated their subjects once, remember that?

  23. “We need to ask ourselves whether the current exemption on e-cigarettes from the existing smoking ban makes its enforcement more difficult.”

    Firstly there is no exemption. The BAN on tobacco cigarettes is exactly that, a ban on tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes having no tobacco don’t fall under this ban, nor do they produce smoke. Hypothetically there isn’t a ban on pot thus smoking pot in public places wouldn’t be addressed under the use ban. There is an entirely different ban for this. Maybe I should say there is no ban on smoking tea leaves.

    And sure you can ask but if you actually LOOK you’ll see it’s not difficult at all to enforce the tobacco cigarette ban. A 5 year old can tell the difference between a tobacco cigarette and an e-cigarette on sight and this is ignoring the majority of them don’t resemble cigarettes at all. Anyone with a nose can identify someone smoking a tobacco cigarette even if they don’t see it. They leave ash behind, a smelly butt, extensive use stains walls and ceilings. And the objective fact that we don’t see people lighting up when in the presence of e-cigarettes.

    Even if someone were to do that it’s interesting we allow Root Beer to be sold in cans and bottles. Someone driving with a Root Beer might appear to be drinking and driving. If I said to myself “well golly it’s okay to drink and drive” I would be an idiot. And if I were to get pulled over Root Beer doesn’t make enforcement difficult because beer has an odor that’s easily identified.

  24. “There is evidence to suggest e-cigarettes are a source of second-hand exposure to nicotine and some scientists are calling for more research into the health consequences for children, pregnant women and people with heart conditions.”

    However if you were to look at the levels objectively you would find e-cigarettes produce a fraction of the level of second hand nicotine than cigarettes. And again looking at the wealth of information on second hand smoke you’ll find that second hand nicotine wasn’t an issue with cigarettes. Indeed second hand exposure would be at most equal eating 100g of egg plant at close range, or in a bar situation 100g of chips. In fact our dietary intake of nicotine is so high it’s practically impossible to identify someone exposed to second hand cigarette smoke or first hand consumption of catsup using cotinine tests.

    Now a fraction of what is established as being safe will still be safe.

  25. Dunno who is right but I find this a very encouraging debate. We have people debating a live policy issue without: using it as an excuse to berate devolution, using it to call for independence or blaming social evils on the Welsh language. Can we maintain this
    kind of focus please?

  26. The Welsh language doesn’t contribute to the take up of smoking. However, it’s links to causing global climate change are incontrovertible…….:-))

  27. My newsagent is a giant media corporation.

    That is, in essence, what you are insinuating when you even mention the tobacco industry when talking about electronic cigarettes.

    In fact, I bet my newsagent has a bigger market share in UK news distribution than the tobacco industry have in electronic cigarette distribution.

    NJOY, Totally Wicked, TECC, and many others are not owned by BAT et al.

    In fact, Phillip Morris just bought Nicocigs. So although you might have a point about advertising, that is all the tobacco industry are interested in. They appear to know so little about e-cigs that they buy a company whose product, to quote two of my neighbours, “tasted like nothing” and “was a waste of money”. They may as well have brought out their own useless DSE 901, but they obviously wanted something already splashed on billboards rather than a functional product.

    You do realise that, in this purchase, Phillip Morris probably have the product that is now closest to that which would be permitted under the EU tobacco products directive? People with faulty logic are the reason a tobacco company will probably have the only legal (but totally useless) electronic cigarette in a few years.

    Another neighbour was a heavy smoker a month ago (50 grams rolling tobacco every 3 days) and bought a TECC MVPII 3 weeks ago. He hasn’t bought any tobacco since.

    It is not that difficult to discern tobacco smoke from e-cig vapour, they look completely different. If you were sitting on a bus in front of a vaper, there is a pretty good chance you wouldn’t see any vapour unless you looked behind you. You’d definitely see smoke because it not only wafts, it hangs.

    The smoking ban would not have come into force if it was based on “what it looks like”. By doing so for electronic cigarettes, you are essentially saying that passive smoking is not bad.

    You mention companies banning vaping without mentioning that vapers who otherwise would not be exposed to tobacco smoke are now having to inhale second hand smoke while vaping. By ignoring the fact that e-cigs do not have the same effect on blood nicotine concentrations as cigarettes, they are causing people like me to turn back to cigarettes whenever I visit one of their premises or use them for transport.

    “two thirds of 12 to 14-year-old e-cigarette users were non-smokers” – a large proportion of electronic cigarette users class themselves as non-smokers. I believe a survey found more than 99% of vapers are current or former smokers.

    As for flavours, they have a different feeling because of the taste buds. Different wattage/voltage also has an effect. All my liquid is the same nicotine concentration, but I switched from coconut at 8.5 watts (hotter, smoky) to raspberry at 7 watts (sharper but less harsh) a few days ago because (a) I was starting to lose the flavour from vapers tongue, (b) I was less stressed so wanted something less strong with a sharpness to make up for the lower heat, (c) there is a high pollen count and lower wattage seems to help (like something with menthol helps when I have a cold), and (d) I was bored with the flavour.

    “second hand exposure of nicotine”? Have you even looked at the difference between the health effects of inhaled smoke and inhaled nicotine? Have you even looked at the levels of nicotine exposure? They have already been published in medical journals, so I can only conclude you are biased and ignorant of scientific fact.

    Why aren’t you proposing a ban on people wearing red in public? Your version of the precautionary principle would dictate that wearing red should be banned in case a bull gets loose. I can quote experts too: LACORS say there are 100 milligrams in a gram, no matter what other experts or SI say. I can also spread rumour: Bill Gates said 640 [kibibytes] of RAM is enough for anyone.

    New York? Brazil? Perhaps Welsh police should mirror those regions too. California? If you want to over-regulate, please wait until Wales is independent from the UK before damaging the economy, unless you really want a politician to propose higher sales and income taxes to cover the losses from businesses moving out due to 151,002 (as of 2012) health and safety laws, combined with other regulations and taxes.

    I’m glad you mention CRUK. If they consider their opinions on electronic cigarettes to be based upon scientific evidence of electronic cigarette harm and/or uncertainty, they would actually hold a position on neonicotinoids and glyphosphate. A Google search reveals a lack of any such press releases. I’m sure that has nothing to do with them working with Bayer.

    Shouldn’t someone in your position be impartial and looking at the facts rather than cherry-picking skewed press releases (which unlike the studies, can be biassed)? If the next person to get your job were a pro-smoker and/or were of the belief that passive smoking is not based on fact and is just fear-mongering, would you be happy for not only your vaping ban be overturned but the smoking ban too?

    Finally, the thing about age restrictions is just something I do not understand. If it is true that “200,000 under 16s start smoking in the UK every year” then why are the anti-nicotine public health people wanting to ban under 18’s from buying them? That is like telling young people “don’t have sex”, banning the sale of condoms to under 18’s (prevent them from becoming smokers in the first place), and then telling them they can be tested for STDs/STIs/pregnancy but if they caught something or got pregnant, tough (prevent them from using them to quit smoking). Perhaps California have brought in legislation that bans under 21’s from AA meetings.

    I don’t live in Wales, so I’ll just boycott visiting there due to stupid vaping legislation just like I boycott USA for some of their stupid laws. Does Wales have enough prison places for vapers committing criminal ‘vaping in public space’ offences? If you’re going to extend the smoking ban to vaping, *your* tax payers should pay for any policing, court action, and prison places that result.

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