Welsh Assembly Petition Handover Briefing

In April 2014 the Welsh Government’s Health Minister Mark Drakeford published a new Health White Paper. This paper included proposals to ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales.

The Health White Paper: http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/healthsocialcare/white-paper/?lang=en

According to ASH Wales there are 100,000 e-cigarette users (vapers) in Wales. All of these people are now smoking significantly fewer or no tobacco cigarettes as a direct result. As e-cigarette sales rise tobacco sales fall. Recently publish figures from the Welsh Health Survey show that smoking rates have fallen in Wales by two per cent.

In June 2014 Simon Thurlow, a representative of the Save E-cigs campaign in Wales, launched a Welsh Assembly petition opposing the Welsh Government’s proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public places. This petition has been signed by e-cigarette users from across Wales.

The petition: https://www.assemblywales.org/en/gethome/e-petitions/Pages/petitiondetail.aspx?PetitionID=657

On Wednesday the 1st of October Save E-cigs will formally deliver this petition to the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee at 13:00. The petition will be delivered by another Save E-cigs representative in Wales, Rhydian Mann. Rhydian will then address the members of the committee setting out why this proposal, if implemented, would not just be bad for vapers, be bad for public health in Wales, but also impractical to implement. These reasons include:

The fact that passive vaping is not dangerous. A major scientific study undertaken by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos and Professor Riccardo Polosa concluded that the “effects of e-cigarette use on by standers are minimal compared with conventional cigarettes.”1 A review of the available literature conducted last year by researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia concluded that “exposures of bystanders pose no apparent concern.” Finally the US Food and Drug Administration conclude that all other substances measured for e-cigarettes were far below allowable levels for human inhalation. They state that levels are so low that it is more hazardous to an individual’s health to breathe the air in any major metropolitan city during rush hour. The fact that e-cigarettes do not undermine the smoking ban. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health stated that there is a 99.7 per cent compliance rate with the smoking ban2, and they have found no evidence to support the idea that the use of e-cigarettes in public is undermining this. o

The fact that the public use of e-cigarettes does not lead to a renormalisation of smoking. Professor Robert West, following his latest research concluded: “Despite claims that electronic cigarettes risk re-normalising smoking, we found no evidence to support this.

The fact that e-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH, said: “There is no evidence from our research that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking.”

The fact that when a similar ban was introduced in Spain there was a 70 per cent fall in the number of vapers. People that had made the switch to e-cigarettes are unfortunately now smoking again. Smoking rates also increased in New York by a staggering 2.1 per cent following the introduction of a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public.

The fact that this proposed ban fails to take into account e-cigarettes that have a medicinal license. Recently the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency granted a medicines license to the Voke e-cigarette manufactured by Nicoventures.

This e-cigarette looks exactly like many other e-cigarettes. Are Voke e-cigarettes to be included in this proposed ban? If the Welsh Government implement this ban and exempt Voke e-cigarettes how will they expect businesses and employers to know who is using a Voke and who is using another e-cigarette? If they do not exempt Voke e-cigarettes they would be preventing someone using in public a product that could have been prescribed by their doctor.

 

 

1 Safety evaluation and risk assessment of electronic cigarettes as tobacco cigarette substitutes: a systematic review: Konstantinos E. Farsalinos and Riccardo Polosa published online 13 February 2014 Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety

2 Meeting of the All-Party Groups on Smoking and Health, Pharmacy, and Heart Disease 10 June 2014

3 http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

4 http://metro.co.uk/2014/04/27/e-cigs-cleared-of-being-route-into-smoking-4710734/

5 http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/24345/e-cigarette-sales-in-spain-drop-by-70-per-cent

6 http://www.churnmag.com/news/smoking-rates-increase-new-york-e-cigs-banned/

7 http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/big-tobaccos-nicotine-inhaler-approved-by-uk-regulator/20066466.article

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3 thoughts on “Welsh Assembly Petition Handover Briefing

  1. Just to note that the Welsh Health Survey results have been published today http://wales.gov.uk/statistics-and-research/welsh-health-survey/?lang=en The trend analysis shows smoking has fallen from 23% to 21%.With approx 2.5m adults 16+,this represents about 525k smokers.

    The 100k vapers mentioned above represent about 4% of the adult population – if this includes 1/3 exclusive vapers as elsewhere,the reduction in prevalence due to ecigs is about 1.3%.It should be noted that prevalence had been static at 23% since 2010,the implication being that the majority of the fall in 2013 can be attributed to ecigs.

  2. As a postscript,I tweeted ASH Wales about the above survey and they correctly pointed out that the results had been released in May(I had seen these results on the DH website dated 30 September but do remember now seeing the article that ASH Wales referred me to http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/wales-smoking-figures-fall-proportion-7150687 )

    I remember thinking at the time that there wasn’t much fanfare and assumed the figures weren’t official/authoritative – the article didn’t even quote ASH Wales which was surprising as the fall in 1 year was double that achieved in the previous 6 years.

    I now wonder whether the fall was not too welcome as it both highlighted the effect on smoking of ecigs and,by implication,lessened the case for further punitive action against ecigs in particular and smokers generally.Good news was the last thing they needed whilst announcing the consultation on the Health White Paper

  3. And if I was being unduly cynical,I would guess that Melodie Tilson’s views on appropriate regulation match exactly what the Welsh Health Dept would like to implement

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