Update from the Lib Dems in Wales re the vaping ban…..

As the Public Health Bill progresses through the Assembly I thought it might be useful to update you on the proposal by the Welsh Labour Government (now with Plaid Cymru support) to outlaw the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

The Welsh Government had originally wanted to ban e-cigarettes from all enclosed public and work places but Labour’s health minister Mark Drakeford has now backed down from these plans in the face of opposition pressure, and the Health and Social Services Committee has passed amendments tabled by him listing places where the ban will apply.

Vaping will now only be allowed in pubs that serve drink but do not serve food as well, and where unaccompanied children are banned. Their use will also be restricted in schools, colleges, universities, train stations and on public transport, among other places.

The Welsh Government have said that workplaces not open to the public are also no longer captured by the restrictions, but stressed that these changes are proposals and others may be brought forward later.

As Welsh Liberal Democrats Leader, Kirsty Williams has said, the list is “as clear as mud”. She added: “Just because the minister has made a separation in law of the difference between tobacco and e-cigarettes does not mean that that’s how the public will view it”.

And when the fact that many pubs where vaping will be allowed serve pickled eggs, pork scratchings, packets of crisps on the bar etc was raised with him, the Minister was at pains to say that his amendments do not cover food of that sort.

The importance of any law of this kind is that it should be easily understandable and enforceable. Unfortunately, the way this bill is now framed means that it is far from passing that test. And of course there is still no evidence of harm from second-hand vapour to back up the measures. This law is going from bad to worse.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be bringing further amendments to the next stage of this bill to try and remove these restrictions on vaping.

In the meantime please keep up the pressure by lobbying other AMs and by sharing our petition by e-mail and social media – the link you need is http://www.welshlibdems.wales/ecigs.

A crafty move by Mark Drakeford?

A lot has changed in the months since the Welsh Lib Dems started our fight against Labour’s illiberal vaping ban. Nine months, some rather tense Committee sessions, a hilariously embarrasing Government survey, plenty of emails to AMs and over 3,500 petition signatures later, we’ve succeeded in forcing Labour’s hand and watering down their original proposals.

 

Instead of a blanket ban in all enclosed public spaces in Wales, Mark Drakeford now only plans to ban vaping in a specific list of places. It seems that this list won’t form part of the legislation itself, however; it will instead be set out in regulations that will be passed separately to the Bill.

 

This is a crafty move on his part for two reasons. Firstly, it makes whatever list he comes up with much easier to change in the future. What may now include schools, public transport and establishments that serve food could be expanded much more widely with a lot less fuss than changing the law.

 

But secondly, and perhaps more crucially, this makes the entire Bill much easier to pass. Drakeford has said he needs to “work with others” to pass the Bill – those “others” I suspect are some Plaid Cymru AMs, who have been putting forward proposals very similar to what Labour now suggest.

 

The “others” certainly aren’t Welsh Liberal Democrats – we’ve been clear from the start in our opposition to these proposals. From a purely ideological perspective, as a liberal I’m uncomfortable with the idea of government banning something without clear evidence of the harm it could cause to others. But from looking at the evidence alone, it’s clear to me that the proposed vaping ban won’t just fail to improve public health – it could even lead to harm by preventing people from making the switch that many have made from tobacco cigarettes to the less harmful e-cigs.

 

It’s true that Welsh Liberal Democrats certainly couldn’t stomach any Bill that contained a vaping ban like the one we have in front of us. But the task of voting against this Bill is made a lot easier by the fact that, aside from some small changes to regulations around tattoos and piercings, this so-called “Public Health Bill” doesn’t actually achieve anything.

 

With so many public health issues facing our nation at the moment – obesity, cancer, heart disease to name but a few – is this Bill really the best that Labour can come up with? As it stands, the Bill does very little to solve any of these great public health challenges – and in the case of cancer, could even worsen the situation because of this vaping ban.

 

But we must not give up hope – there is still time to stop this ban in its tracks, but we all need to redouble our efforts in this fight. That’s why, as I write, we’re preparing campaign packs to send to vaping shops across Wales so they can do their bit in collecting petition signatures. If you haven’t yet added your name, you can do so by clicking here.

 

With your help, some determination and a bit of luck, I hope I’ll be writing on this blog in two months’ time in a Wales free of a vaping ban!

 

Kirsty Williams AM

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

 

‘Operation Selfie’ #stoptheban

vaping selfie

vaping selfie

Yesterday was a partial victory for Welsh Vapers. The Health Minster decided on a compromise. There was to be no blanket public vaping ban, instead he said that he would provide a list of where the vaping ban was to be implemented. – However, and to quote him, the list “includes but is not limited to schools, eating places/restaurants and public transport.”

Please note the words – but not limited to – this is political speak for mission creep, and we know how regulators love that!

So we are still pushing for a total removal of the proposed vaping ban in public and enclosed public spaces. The Bill still has several stages to go through, so there is time!

Following the debate yesterday there will be a financial resolution and then an amended version of the Bill will go back to the Health and Social Care Committee where they will consider the amendments. The Bill will then go back to the Assembly as whole for a debate on the amendments. Finally, the Assembly as a whole will then vote the Bill on.

The Conservative and the Lib Dems support vapers and want to see the proposed ban removed, so the AMs that really need to know how important vaping is to you, are those from Labour and Plaid Cymru

Hence: ‘Operation Selfie’

Vaping selfie

Vaping selfie

We need you to tweet or e-mail your AM with your vaping selfie – ask your AM to stop the public vaping ban, and use the hashtag #stoptheban

We have laid out a very simple plan for you to follow –

1) Find out who your AM is by using this link: http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgFindMember.aspx

2) Once you know who they are – (and if you have a twitter account) see if they are on twitter – using this link: https://twitter.com/AssemblyWales/lists/assembly-members/members

If they are on twitter, send them a vaping selfie using #stoptheban. Put a . before the @ as this ensures everyone on their timeline can see the tweet.

3) Not on twitter? Then find their e-mail address here: (sorry it’s not in alphabetical order…)

E-mail addresses: Janet.Finchsaunders@wales.gov.uk; Carl.Sargeant@wales.gov.uk; AlunFfred.Jones@wales.gov.uk;

Alun.Davies@wales.gov.uk; Kirsty.Williams@wales.gov.uk; Carwyn.Jones@wales.gov.uk; Jeff.Cuthbert@wales.gov.uk; Jenny.Rathbone@wales.gov.uk; Julie.Morgan@wales.gov.uk; Vaughan.Gething@wales.gov.uk; Rhodri.Thomas@wales.gov.uk; Angela.Burns@wales.gov.uk; Elin.Jones@Wales.gov.uk; Ken.Skates@Wales.gov.uk; Darren.Millar@wales.gov.uk; Christine.Chapman@Wales.gov.uk; Sandy.Mewies@wales.gov.uk;

Dafydd.Elis-Thomas@Wales.gov.uk; Edwina.Hart@Wales.gov.uk; Gwyn.Price@wales.gov.uk; Keith.Davies@Wales.gov.uk; Huw.Lewis@Wales.gov.uk; Nicholas.Ramsay@Wales.gov.uk; Gwenda.Thomas@Wales.gov.uk; Russell.George@Wales.gov.uk; David.Rees@Wales.gov.uk; John.Griffiths@Wales.gov.uk; Rosemary.Butler@Wales.gov.uk; Janice.Gregory@Wales.gov.uk; Mick.Antoniw@Wales.gov.uk; Paul.Davies@wales.gov.uk; Leighton.Andrews@wales.gov.uk;

Mike.Hedges@Wales.gov.uk; Julie.James@Wales.gov.uk; Ann.Jones@Wales.gov.uk; Jane.Hutt@Wales.gov.uk; Lesley.Griffiths@wales.gov.uk; rhun.apiorwerth@wales.gov.uk; Mohammad.Asghar@wales.gov.uk; Peter.Black@wales.gov.uk; Andrew.Davies2@wales.gov.uk; Byron.Davies@Wales.gov.uk;

Jocelyn.Davies@Wales.gov.uk; Suzy.Davies@wales.gov.uk; Rebecca.Evans@wales.gov.uk;; llyr.gruffydd@wales.gov.uk; Mark.Isherwood@wales.gov.uk; Bethan.Jenkins@wales.gov.uk; David.Melding@Wales.gov.uk:

Lynne.Neagle@Wales.gov.uk; Eluned.Parrott@Wales.gov.uk; William.Powell@wales.gov.uk; Aled.Roberts@Wales.gov.uk; Simon.Thomas@Wales.gov.uk; Joyce.Watson@wales.gov.uk; Lindsay.Whittle@Wales.gov.uk; Leanne.Wood@wales.gov.uk

4) Then e-mail them your story, your vaping story – how you found e-cigarettes, how they have helped you switch from tobacco, and how the vaping ban with affect you. Please use the #stoptheban because this will stick in their minds!

And finally –

Please make sure there is no vapour in your photo, let them see the e-cig, and please be polite! We need to win hearts and minds people, hearts and minds……

 

Please note: the images are from Google –  Pinterest and Reddit – As I don’t know who you are, (people in the photos) I hope it is OK to use them to help us campaign to stop the vaping ban in public and enclosed public places in Wales.

 

 

What else do we have to do?

The Welsh Health and Social Care Committee gave their report on the new Welsh Bill that will ban vaping in public and enclosed public spaces last week.

We were expecting a yes/no response – yes we agree or no we don’t, i.e. throw the vaping ban out.

What we didn’t expect was a no consensus answer, a ‘no direction’ answer. This means that the Assembly Members are gong to have to work it out for themselves; what they know about e-cigs, what they believe and want to do re banning vaping in public places.

Reading the report for the second time, I had a realisation as to why there was no consensus.

And I’m not 100% convinced it is because of party politics, though I am sure this has played a large part.

Could it be that many of the AMs are simply scared of making the wrong decision?

Reading the first part on e-cigarettes, there were three ‘bodies’ for the ban, 7 against it.

How did the minority that had no evidence have more of an effect than those with evidence?

Could it be that those tasked with regulating are scared of saying yes to e-cigs because of the tobacco industry and the history there? Because of the way that Tobacco Control has so successfully manipulated all our thinking around smoking?

Smokers are portrayed as bad, smelly, lazy, good for nothing people – (sorry Einstein and Churchill). The Tobacco Industry is portrayed as evil, they want to kill you for money and they lie and cheat. Nicotine is supposedly as addictive as heroine and the children are going to become hooked.

Have we all been so brow beaten in to believing this that anything that looks like smoking is evil, that even a product that is at most conservative guess is 95% safer than smoking, but looks a little like it, should be banned because people are scared of history repeating itself?

Only a few regulators will take that risk.

It doesn’t matter that expert witnesses sat in front of the committee, expert witnesses that have spent their entire careers studying tobacco control and who told the committee that banning e-cigarettes in public was a bad idea. The committee couldn’t come to a consensus, couldn’t agree, and as such could not put forward any recommendations.

This is troubling, because we now have regulations that could come into force because of a ‘possibility’. A possibility of harms, not any actual proof, and nor is the credible researching even hinting at this.

What we have is a possibility that at some time in the future there may be harms.

But how long into the future are we looking? The majority of vapers have been smoking for decades, how will we know if any of the harms are due to smoking or vaping or both? Vaping will, if this ban goes through along with the TPD be nothing more than another NRT, one that will no doubt have the same dismal success rates after all the innovation has been regulated out of it.

Non smokers are not interested in vaping, this has been shown again and again, both here and in the USA – but this is still a fear – a ‘potential disbenfit’ that vaping renormalizes smoking. Public Health in Wales believes that it will, in their minds it looks like smoking, so it will encourage smoking. Again the experts outnumbered the generalists, but the fear got in the way of the AMs – it could ‘potentially’ happen.

What of the gateway theory that should have been put to bed a long time ago? Again we have the experts against the generalists – the generalist; all 2 of them plus the Minister based their reasoning on poor, debunked science. The experts, all 4 of them, stated they are not a gateway.

The HSC Committee’s response to this? “ The Committee acknowledges that limited evidence is available about whether the use of e-cigarettes is acting as a gateway to smoking tobacco products. Nevertheless, it is concerned to learn of examples of e-cigarette marketing being targeted at children and young people.”

I could continue, but the rest of the report is in the same vein; the committee acknowledge the lack of evidence to back up the Ministers claims but they remained concerned or want more monitoring.

How is it that the experts have not managed to convince them?

Why is it that to us, the benefits are as clear as the noses on our faces?

Somehow we have ended up dealing with ideology, one that has a Health Minister when responding to the claim that if vaping is lumped in with smoking, then vapers will be put in harms way said, “people are making choices here, and nobody is forced to use an e- cigarette or a conventional cigarette or to stand next to anybody else who is using either”.

You can’t fight that mind-set with facts, or research, because it’s not based on either. It’s based on an emotion, a belief; a belief that smoking is horrible and you shouldn’t do it. It doesn’t matter if that ‘smoking’ is 95% less harmful – you still shouldn’t do it.

And the committee is seems are basing their responses on emotions too, because despite robust positive evidence, given by experts, they remain concerned.

5 AM’s supported the proposed ban, 5 would amend the proposed ban, 4 oppose it. Looking at the numbers there is still a chance that the ban may be defeated and I guess this is a hope we must cling to.

Meanwhile you can still do your bit. You all have your own story, and now would be a great time to tell it. Tell your AM how many you smoked and for how long, tell them how many times you tried and failed to quit using SSS or NRT, but finally vaping helped you.

Make it clear that for you it is a choice between vaping and smoking as everything else has failed, and when you look at it that way; vaping is clearly the better option.

 

 

Guest post by Jocelyn Davies AM Plaid Cymru

 

Jocelyn Davies AM

Jocelyn Davies AM

I believe that the Welsh Labour Government’s plan to make using an e-cigarette in an enclosed public space illegal is wholly wrong.

The e-cigarette ban will mean that vaping is treated exactly like smoking tobacco under the law. The Government risk stigmatising a new product that is helping many people reduce the amount they smoke and even give up altogether.

I have to declare a personal interest in this issue: I vape myself. I had previously been using lozenges to help me stop smoking, and had been for a long time. It was worry about the effect they were having on my teeth that prompted me to look into alternatives.

A huge amount of the growth in popularity of e-cigarettes has been fuelled by word-of-mouth. I was attending a conference and noticed two women sitting on the next sofa in the hotel lobby vaping. We fell into conversation about it and it was on their recommendation that I then went into an e-cigarette shop to get advice from them. If the Public Health (Wales) Bill passes in its current form, I would not have been able to talk to those women and the e-cigarette shop would not have been allowed to demonstrate their products to customers like me to show us how they work. I may never have discovered that e-cigarettes are, for me, a device that is incredibly successful in helping me continue not to smoke in the long-term.

If you’re a smoker, one advantage of a cigarette is that it’s a highly reliable way to deliver the nicotine fix you need. As long as you have a lighter, you can be pretty sure that your cigarette won’t fail. If you plan to use an e-cig to help you give up, you need reassurance that the device is similarly reliable and unless you’ve had a conversation and a demonstration of how they work, you’re unlikely to have faith in their reliability. Making e-cigarettes less visible and more difficult to get hold of will not promote public health. Far from the Government’s concerns that e-cigarettes normalise smoking, in my experience, seeing people vaping normalises the use of an effective tool to help you give up.

I admit that e-cigarettes are so new that little is known yet about the long-term impact they may have on health. I think it is important to remain sceptical about manufacturers’ claims that you can put a numerical value on exactly how much better for your health they are than smoking. We just don’t know yet. But Government policy should be based on evidence and so far there is no evidence to suggest that e-cigarettes are anything like as dangerous as smoking and plenty of evidence to show that they help people quit.

Of course, there are many places where you might want to restrict e-cigarette use. They are not appropriate everywhere. Some restaurants already stop their customers vaping inside and they should be free to do so. But to treat e-cigarettes exactly like tobacco, to make it an illegal offence to vape in a public place, is an entirely wrong-headed policy and totally out of line with people’s lived experiences. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the psychology of addiction and smoking. On this issue, the Health Minister is completely out of touch.

The ban on e-cig use is not something that should be snuck into a Bill on an unrelated topic, this is something that should stand alone. If Welsh Labour are committed to banning e-cigarettes, then they should put it in their manifesto and wait until after the election when they have a mandate from the electorate to act.

Finally, and this is a pretty radical question to ask, I wonder why we tolerate tobacco use at all anymore? We know how damaging tobacco is for public health, why not ban smoking altogether? We could encourage everyone to move to e-cigarettes instead. The Health Minister seems to be using e-cigs as his own tobacco substitute, banning them rather than banning cigarettes as perhaps he’d really like to.

The Welsh Labour Government’s knee-jerk reaction to a new technology that is helping many more people give up smoking is an unpopular mistake. I will be pressing the Health Minister to reconsider.

 

Note from the Editor:

A few people were concerned about Jocelyn’s comment re banning smoking. To clarify,, Jocelyn is not advocating a tobacco ban, she is merely speculating about the health minister’s reasons for a vape ban, and is making the point that vaping seems to his substitute for tobacco.

Annwyl Aelodau o’r Cynulliad,

Below is a letter in first Welsh and then English that will be delivered to all Welsh Assembly Members and we hope, published in the press. We hope that as many Welsh vapers will add their names to it. To add your name to the letter, please e-mail us at : campaign@saveecigs.com and it will be added to the letter.

Annwyl Aelodau o’r Cynulliad,

Rydym yn ysgrifennu llythyr agored hwn i chi gan obeithio y byddwch yn gweld synnwyr cyn ei bod yn rhy hwyr a gwrthod cynigion Llywodraeth Cymru i wahardd vaping mewn mannau cyhoeddus caeedig a gweithleoedd.

Y tu ôl bob enw ar waelod y llythyr hwn yn unigolyn. Unigolyn gyda ffrindiau a theulu. Unigolyn sydd am nifer o flynyddoedd mwg ac wedi ceisio dro ar ôl tro i roi’r gorau i ddefnyddio llawer neu bob un o’r dulliau a argymhellir, gwasanaethau, a chynnyrch, ac wedi methu. Ydych chi’n gwybod beth mae hynny’n yn debyg? Rhoi’r gorau i ysmygu mor galed, dyma’r peth anoddaf rhan fwyaf ohonom wedi ei wneud erioed. I feddwl eich bod wedi rhoi’r gorau iddi yn unig i ddod o hyd i eich hun yn ôl ysmygu eto digalonni mewn ffordd ychydig yn gallu dychmygu.

Ffodus, fodd bynnag, diolch i vaping, rydym i gyd yn awr yn rhoi’r gorau i ysmygu neu yn wedi torri i lawr yn sylweddol. Teimlwn y dylai hyn fod yn achos i ddathlu, ein ffrindiau a theuluoedd yn sicr yn ei wneud.

Mae llawer ohonom wedi ymddiswyddo ein hunain i ysmygu am weddill ein bywydau, ar ôl methu gymaint o weithiau i roi’r gorau iddi o’r blaen, yna rydym yn dod o hyd i vaping a gyda vaping llawer ohonom o hyd cymuned newydd o ddealltwriaeth a ffrindiau cefnogol.

Am bron i bob un ohonom, nid oeddem codwch gynnyrch meat-a-hoffi ac yn rhoi’r gorau iddi dros nos; y broses yn fwy cymhleth na hynny. Mae’r rhan fwyaf ohonom yn mynd i siop vape neu siarad â vapers gwybodus mewn vape cwrdd mewn tafarn lleol neu pluo i fyny yn ddigon dewr i fynd at gydweithiwr vaping yn y gwaith neu vaper anhysbys mewn bar. Er mwyn sicrhau ein bod yn cael y cynnyrch a oedd yn iawn i ni bron pob un ohonom sydd ei angen i roi cynnig cyn i ni brynu ein product.but anwedd cyntaf

Pe gwaharddiad Llywodraeth Cymru wedi bod yn ei lle pan oeddem yn ysmygu, yna mae llawer ohonom ni fyddai wedi gwneud y newid i vaping. Byddai Ni fu unrhyw gyfleoedd i fynd at vapers yn y gwaith neu mewn bar. Byddai Ni fu unrhyw vape yn cyfarfod. Yn hanfodol fyddem wedi gallu i roi cynnig ar gynnyrch cyn i ni eu prynu. Byddem wedi prynu’r cynnyrch anghywir ac yn hytrach na gwario mwy o arian y byddem wedi aros gyda ysmygu.

Yn awr, yr ydym i gyd yn sefydlu vapers, ond mae miloedd ar filoedd o bobl ledled Cymru sy’n dal i ysmygu. Wrth i ysmygwyr presennol neu gyn rydym yn meddwl y dylech chi ofalu amdanyn nhw cymaint ag yr ydym yn ei wneud. Ni allwn ddeall pam y mae Llywodraeth Cymru am ei gwneud yn anos neu’n amhosibl i ysmygwyr hyn i newid i vaping.

Os gwelwch yn dda wneud y peth iawn, os gwelwch yn dda wrthod y gwaharddiad hwn. Os bydd y gwaharddiad mynd yn ei flaen yn sylweddol bydd llai o ysmygwyr newid i dewis arall llai niweidiol a bydd llawer o’n cyd-vapers yn dychwelyd i ysmygu. Ni allwn gredu bod hyn yn beth fyddai Aelodau’r Cynulliad am ei weld yn digwydd ar draws Cymru.

 

Dear Assembly Members,

We are writing this open letter to you in the hope that you will see sense before it is too late and reject the Welsh Government’s proposals to ban vaping in enclosed public places and places of work.

Behind each name at the bottom of this letter is an individual. An individual with friends and family. An individual who for many years smoked and tried time and time again to quit using many or all of the recommended methods, services, and products, and failed. Do you know what that is like? Quitting smoking is so hard, it is the hardest thing most of us have ever done. To think you have quit only to find yourself back smoking again is dispiriting in a way few can imagine.

Happily, though, thanks to vaping, we have all now quit smoking or are have cut down significantly. We feel this should be a cause for celebration, our friends and families certainly do.

Many of us had resigned ourselves to smoking for the rest of our lives, having failed so many times to quit previously, then we found vaping and with vaping many of us found a new community of understanding and supportive friends.

For almost all of us, we did not simply pick up a cig-a-like product and quit overnight; the process was more complicated than that. Most of us went to a vape shop or spoke with knowledgeable vapers at a vape meet in a local pub or plucked up the courage to approach a vaping colleague at work or an unknown vaper in a bar. To ensure that we got the product that was right for us almost all of us needed to try before we bought our first vapour product.

Had the Welsh Government’s ban been in place when we were smoking then many of us would not have made the switch to vaping. There would have been no opportunities to approach vapers at work or in a bar. There would have been no vape meets. Crucially we would have been unable to try products before we bought them. We would have bought the wrong products and rather than spend any more money we would have stayed with smoking.

Now, we are all established vapers, but there are thousands and thousands of people across Wales who are still smoking. As current or former smokers we think you should care about them as much as we do. We cannot understand why the Welsh Government wants to make it harder or impossible for these smokers to switch to vaping.

Please do the right thing, please reject this ban. If the ban goes ahead significantly fewer smokers will switch to a less harmful alternative and many of our fellow vapers will return to smoking. We cannot believe that this is what Assembly Members would want to see happening across Wales.

Signed:

John Summers,  Elaine Keller, Paul Barnes, Roger Ball, Mark Megenis, Matt Gluggles, Graham Gord, Hannah Brown, Heather Williams,Andrea Harris, Roland Wonter, Douglas Hicks, Jessica Hardy, Tim Laslett, Christine Foster, Anita Brady, Wendy Yarney, Dave Kenny, John Neal, Richard Lewis, Garry Norridge, William Brunton,James Cowley,Steve Ahearne,Ian Wooley, David Hammone-Williams, Mark Bexley, Bill Whelan, Martin Fitzgerald, Stephen Horley, Wayne Batcher, Ian Richardson, Robert Jenkins, Stephen Higes, Robin Rees, Scott Mayberry, Ryan Evans,Hywel Griffiths, Michael Davies,James Dunworth, Darren Smith, Elizabeth Diffley, Andy Fairchild, Dan French,Jean Rasbridge, Siska Dunworth, Mike Rasbridge, Jon Nelsey, James Cowley, Jo Cowley, Ben Dickeson, Charlotte Dunworth, Christine Muskin, Ken Muskin, Carl L Hughes, Rob Heyes, Lauren Bevan, Dylan Drew, Anna Pike,Vicky Roberts,Stephen Charalambou, Michael Strong-Stewart, Victoria Hughes, Sara Jelsma-Williams, James Harry, Rhydian Mann, Victoria Mann, Nicola Charalambou, Adam Charalambou, G.A.Beard, Stephen Hughes, Andrew Hughes, Bernice Evans, Stacy Buffham, John Stott, Neil Robinson, Neil Roff. Graham Almond, Brian Coe, Doug Phillips, Richard Andrews, Jean Mayes, Victoria Hughes, Barbara Owen, Roger Owen, Carl Heugh, Barbara Grizzel, Brian Allen, Robert Woolls, Leighton John, Tony Dix, Simon Bell, Jmaes Hughes, Keith Morgan, Nicola Evans, Sinead Cross, Ortenzio Mincione, Claire Whitelaw, Paula Fuente, Greg Davies, Carl Sterry, Jill Richardon, Chris Rowlands, Alan Richardson, Lun Rees, Hades Angel, Conrad Thomas,  Ceritt Rees, Richie Kent, Alun Rhydderch, Huw Williams, Amada Bell, James Hughes, Ben Murray, Ashley Davies, Simon Mainwaring, Paul Knox, David Greaves, Darren Smith, Melanie Smith, Ashley Smith.Joanne Oates, Paul Oates, Heather Oates, Samantha Oates, Ryan Edwards, Alison Box-Edwards, Stephen Box-Edwards, Donna Edwards, Russel Edwards, Sandra Box, Shaunie Box, Shane Williams, Marion Sherwood, Rebecca Phillips, Jamie Edwards, Scott Davies, Rebecca Mason,Claire Butt, Chris Smith, James Poyda, Caroline Young, Fred Green, Anna Pitt, Neil Thomas, Adam Martin, Keith Maxwell,Andrea Toma, Zara Llewellyn, Hanna Thomas, Kevin Moylan, Keith Jones, Mitch Norris, Davey Jones-Kingman, Brenda Sawday, Nathan Edwards, Andy Leach. Nathan Rogers, Cassandra France, Stephen Thomas, Tara White, Heath Evan, Stephen Pearce, Gavin Palmer, Andrea Doherty, Bryn Evans, Linda Harries, Michelle George, Ann Lloyd, Kathryn Aldwinckle, Leighton Williams, Steve Hurley, Adam Horspool, Alex Howe, Lewis Owens, Sharon Owens, Geraint Jones, Leigh Whellans, Warren Root, Ales Ashman, Adam Fox, Chino Taak, Wayne Doherty, John Mathews, Robert Knapman, Wes Berrseford, Joel Benson, Diane Benson, Chloe Jones, Robert Hayden, Christine Sanchez, Gerry Stimson.

To add your name  – please e-mail us – link below – and we will add your name to the letter that we hope will be published in the press and sent to all AMs.

campaign@saveecigs.com

Let us repeat that. The most recent Welsh Health Survey failed to find a single vaper who said they had never smoked before.

Dear Assembly Member,

One of the key arguments used by the Welsh Government in support of their proposed ban on vaping in enclosed public places and work places is that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to smoking.

As a campaign we have supplied the Welsh Government with a significant amount of credible independent expert evidence that clearly shows this not to be the case. Each and every time we have done this we have been ignored.

Now the Welsh Government’s own health survey[1] has demonstrated that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. The most recent Welsh Health Survey failed to find a single vaper who said they had never smoked before. Let us repeat that. The most recent Welsh Health Survey failed to find a single vaper who said they had never smoked before.

Surely the Welsh Government could not ignore the findings of their own health survey? Well it seems they can. So determined are the Welsh Government to ban vaping in enclosed public places and places of work that it seems they will ignore any evidence that does not suit their agenda. What they do is cherry pick the evidence that does.

The Welsh Government believe they can ignore their own health survey which questioned 3,565 Welsh adults, because a US study of 700 teenagers found evidence of teenagers going on to become smokers having tried e-cigarettes.

However, appearing before the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee recently, Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy and Dean of Research (Impact) at the University of Stirling, and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, said the following when referring to this US study:

“I’ve not only looked carefully at that study, I also know the authors, and I work with them as an editor of the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, and Adam Leventhal, who is the lead author on that study, himself would say that there is no proof of causality, as ASH Wales have said, between the children who have tried an e-cigarette. The measure of use in that study is just having tried an e-cigarette at least once, and then 12 months later, just over 200 of them went on to try a cigarette at least once. Those are very weak measures of use. They were put in a very large survey. They weren’t able to add any more detailed questions. I would say that we do need to keep track of all these studies and look at them in detail, but I’m not persuaded that that single study is a cause for concern that experimenting or trying an e-cigarette means you will become a smoker.”[2]

 Once again the Welsh Government and their supporters on the Committee chose to ignore Professor Bauld’s expert opinion as it does not suit their agenda.

One body that the Welsh Government has cited in support of its proposed ban on vaping in enclosed public places and places of work from the very outset has been the World Health Organisation.

The WHO’s position on vaping is been roundly condemned, not just by vapers, but by 53 independent leading public health experts.[3] Importantly, Derek Yach, former head of tobacco control at the WHO and author of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has also criticised the WHO on this matter.[4]

What do ASH Wales, The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Cancer Research UK, The British Lung Foundation, Professor Linda Bauld, Professor John Britton, Professor Peter Hayek, Professor Gerry Stimson, The Scottish Government, Public Health England, The Royal Society for Public Health, The Royal College of Physicians, Tenovus Cancer Care, The British Dental Health Foundation, and countless other independent experts all have in common? They all agree that the Welsh Government’s proposed ban on vaping in enclosed public places and places of work is wrong.

These are all people and organisations dedicated to public health, that the Welsh Government is choosing to ignore them is deeply concerning.

 

[1] http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/questions-raised-over-whether-e-10224276

[2] http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s44529/1%20October%202015.pdf

[3] http://www.ecigarette-research.com/web/index.php/2013-04-07-09-50-07/2014/164-who-ecigs

[4] http://new.spectator.co.uk/2015/02/e-cigarettes-save-lives/