The first restrictions to hit e-cigarette use in public places are being considered in Wales.
As part of the public health white paper, the Welsh Government stated that it was currently “seeking views and evidence on banning the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and places of work in Wales”.
The proposed measures come as part of a wider crackdown on smoking, said to be the “largest single preventable cause of ill health and death in Wales”, with an overall target of reducing smoking prevalence levels to 16 per cent by 2020.
Wales introduced a similar ban on conventional smoking in public places in 2007.
In the white paper, the Government states that e-cigarette use has risen from two per cent of tobacco smokers in 2011 to 14 per cent in August 2013 – or roughly 80,000 smokers.
The paper discusses the public ban as a way to curb fears that as e-cigarettes become more popular, they may become a “gateway to smoking” and “normalise smoking behaviours”.
Other concerns involve the “time consuming” and “difficult” measures in trying to enforce the Smoke-Free Regulations in areas where e-cigarette use might accidentally result in traditional tobacco smoking products being used in restricted areas.
“The Welsh Government recognises that e-cigarettes, along with other forms of nicotine replacement therapy, may be helpful to smokers in giving up tobacco,” the paper explains.
“However, we are concerned that the use of e-cigarettes makes it difficult to enforce, and undermines, the Smoke-Free Regulations.”
Image of woman using e-cigarette courtesy of Shutterstock.co.uk