The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has questioned why Swansea Council has included a question on e-cigarettes in a consultation over banning smoking in parks, beaches and outside schools.
In the on-line questionnaire, which can be found here: http://www.swansea.gov.uk/smokefreesurvey, question eight asks: ‘Do you think that electronic cigarettes should be included in the voluntary ban?’ This is despite the fact that there is no evidence of harm from second hand smoke from e-cigarettes, unlike tobacco and is contrary to a recent report by Public Health England that e-cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit. They found that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful to the smoker than smoking tobacco.
In addition a recent Welsh Health Survey disproved the theory that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking tobacco, finding that every current vaper asked had smoked previously.
“I am surprised that Swansea Council has included e-cigarettes in their consultation on banning smoking in public spaces,” said Mr. Black. “In doing so they are equating vaping with smoking and failing to recognise the role that e-cigarettes have had in helping people to give up tobacco.
“I understand that some people may object to e-cigarettes in the same way as they do to tobacco, however there is no evidence of any harm to others from the water vapour that emanates from e-cigarettes and the council should not encourage people to believe differently.
“I am not and have never been a smoker but I recognise the role that e-cigarettes play in helping people to give up and that helps people become fitter and reduces demand for health and social services, meaning resources can be directed elsewhere. I would hope that the council might have recognised that.”