The Bill that would have banned e-cigarettes in public places in Wales has failed, after a vote in the Senedd (National Assembly for Wales) yesterday.
The vote was very close, and ended with 26 ministers voting for it and 27 assembly members (AMs) against.
The ban on e-cigarettes would have included places that provide childcare, public transport, cinemas, hospital car parks, theatres, libraries and other public places.
The Bill had a long “detailed scrutiny process” before it got to this point, which “strengthened it”, the Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews said.
The Bill, called the Public Health (Wales) Bill “offers protection for children from the evils of tobacco”, he told Senedd yesterday. E-cigarettes could still be used in all the places that regular cigarettes are used, but not where children are most likely to be present, and “therefore where the risks of renormalising smoking are greatest”.
All parties have argued that they have smoking cessation in mind, however Labour thought banning e-cigarettes in public places would stop the renormalisation of smoking and others argued it would mean fewer people used e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes.
“The balance that we [the Labour party] have always sought is allowing the benefits of these devices for smoking cessation to be preserved, while acting to prevent the potential harm they could cause,” Andrews stated.
However, Kirsty Williams, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “Labour’s illiberal plan flew in the face of medical evidence. E-cigarettes are a useful way for smokers to give up on tobacco and there is no doubt they have saved lives.
“This law would have sent the wrong signal that e-cigarettes are as bad for your health as normal cigarettes. That simply isn’t the case,” she added.
As of the moment, the Bill is dead, a spokeperson from the Welsh Assembly stated.