PUBLIC Health Wales is calling for a ban on the public use of e-cigarettes.
Yesterday health bosses in Wales pushed for the prohibition of electronic cigarette use in workplaces, educational and public places – but how do people feel about stubbing something out when it isn’t even lit?
In a statement this week, Public Health Wales warned that while
e-cigarettes could potentially reduce the harm from smoking or help smokers to quit, the safety or effectiveness of the products has not been tested.
Dr Julie Bishop, consultant in public health, said: “Scientific testing has shown that the amount of nicotine – which is a poison – and other chemicals varies widely between different brands of e-cigarettes. There is no way for consumers to know exactly what they are putting into their body.
“This is because e-cigarettes are not licensed or regulated which makes it impossible to carry out accurate tests across the board to determine whether all e-cigarettes are effective and safe.”
But it is the visible act of smoking that has the health body worried, as it might encourage youngsters to take up the habit.
Dr Bishop added: “Anything that could increase (the appeal of cigarettes) to children and young adults should also be avoided such as sweet flavourings or certain packaging.”
Many in Wales are dependent on nicotine. According to Dr Pat Riordan, of Stop Smoking Wales, just under a quarter of Welsh people smoke and one person dies of a smoking-related illness every 90 minutes in this country.
She said: “At the moment we do not know if e-cigarettes are helpful in quitting – more research is needed.”
Dr Peter Saul, of the Health Centre in Rhos, said that in general, doctors were sceptical about the use of e-cigarettes.
He said: “I think they have their place, particularly in cases where people have repeatedly failed to stop smoking and tried every other means. My concerns lie in the way they are packaged and presented in such a way to appeal to young people, and there are also concerns over whether they may have some harmful effects.”
Leader readers were split in their opinions.
Paula Hill, 43, of Acrefair, Wrexham, said: “There’s nothing wrong with the electronic fags. They shouldn’t be banned.
“I’ve got throat cancer through smoking and have to have my voice box out. The e-cigarette is helping me quit and it’s working. There’s worse things on the market than e-cigarettes that need banning.”
Alun James, 26, of Wrexham, said: “I don’t smoke and don’t mind the e-fags - but I hate that some ‘flavours’ smell disgusting.”
Rayne Beckett, 38, of Wrexham, said: “At last. I looked these up for a friend and I think not enough is known about them.
“America is looking to put a complete ban on them.”
Craig Hyland, 23, of Wrexham, said: “If people want to smoke let them! If they want us smokers to stop why make them (cigarettes and e-cigarettes) in the first place! Oh wait – it’s because people pay tax on them and it’s money for the government!”
Mike Read, 63, of Wrexham, said: “They should be banned in pubs restaurants and all shops. I saw a lad of about 13 in Morrisons puffing on one!”
Michael Gittins, 31, of Ruabon, said: “Ban them. If you can’t stop someone from smoking them in the same room as your child then this must be a bad thing.”
Kelly Roberts, 30, of Chirk, thought a public ban was “ridiculous”.
She said: “My mum finally quit smoking using e-cigarettes which I never thought would happen and now there’s talk of banning them as well?
“Why not just ban everything and save time? Cars, drinking – everything. This country is a total shambles. I dread to imagine the state of it for future generations.”
Cheryl Spiers, of Wrexham, said she liked the idea of a public ban, as her children would be less likely to see smoking.
She said: “I feel in public places like shops it is advertising smoking to the younger ones.
“Mine stop and stare and have pretended to smoke. The less they see smoking promoted the better.”
Laura Carter, 22, of Penycae, said e-cigarettes helped a lot of smokers to give up and part of that was being allowed to use them in public places.
She said: “If you were to ban them from public places the smokers wouldn’t see the appeal as much and turn back to regular cigarettes.”
Jann Leeks, 18, of Wrexham, asked: “What’s worse? Second hand smoke or vaporized nicotine? I think by banning e-cigarettes people would move back to smoking tobacco and cigarettes which would cause more people to be affected by second hand smoke.”
Mother-of-four Tabitha Large, 38, of Llangollen, said a common sense approach should be taken.
She said: “Using them on the school yard or other public area around children should be discouraged, but otherwise carry on.”
Shaun Cockran, 21, of Mold, said there should not be be a ban as he thought vaporised nicotine was a lot less harmful than secondhand smoke.”
Jane Bridge, 47, of Flint, said: “Are they harmful to others? If not then leave them alone. My husband was smoking one in the house, there was no smoke or smell from it, I was quite comfortable with it. If they’re dangerous to others then let them take it outside.”