NEW measures to tackle some of Wales’ major public health challenges – including high levels of drinking and smoking – are being put forward by the Welsh Government.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford has published a White Paper setting out a number of radical legislative proposals.
They include introducing a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit to reduce the harm associated with alcohol overuse and misuse.
Also suggested is a restriction on the use of e-cigarettes in public places to address concerns these products normalise smoking and undermine the enforcement of the smoking ban.
Another idea is to introduce a tobacco retailers’ register requiring businesses to inform enforcement authorities if they sell tobacco, with stiffer penalties for those which sell to under 18s.
Speaking on the seventh anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban in Wales, Prof Drakeford said: “Taking concerted, collective action to address public health concerns remains one of the most powerful contributions any government can make to the welfare and wellbeing of its population.
“Alcohol and tobacco contribute to many life-threatening illnesses and are major causes of persistent inequalities in health.
“There is indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters. It’s no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has increased substantially, so has alcohol-related death and disease.
“A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-associated illnesses.
“I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales’ smoking ban. That’s why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed places.
“I am also concerned that their use in enclosed public places could normalise smoking behaviour.”