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The NNA welcomes the news that Welsh Labour attempts to ban the use of eCigarettes in enclosed public spaces has failed. The NNA has opposed this draconian measure, which formed part of the wider Public Health (Wales) Bill, since it was first drawn to our attention two years ago. The news means that there will be no restriction of the use of eCigarettes in public enclosed spaces for the forseeable future.

The 16th March 2016 will be seen as the day the Welsh Assembly finally saw sense and opposed the plans to ban vaping, albeit in somewhat bizarre circumstances. We have been continually puzzled by Health Minister Mark Drakeford’s failure to acknowledge all the science and evidence throughout the process and his insistence on pushing ahead with the ban. There were many good things contained within the Public Health (Wales) Bill, but the ban on vaping in public enclosed spaces was not one of them and simply did not belong in the Bill.

Ultimately, the Health Minister has sacrificed an otherwise beneficial Public Health (Wales) Bill on the altar of his personal misunderstanding and vendetta against eCigarettes.He only has himself to blame for the outcome.

We would like to thank the opposition political parties of Wales for continuing to engage with us on this matter throughout the passage of the Bill, for listening to the facts and science around eCigarettes, and for ultimately arriving at what we believe was the correct decision.

We also thank the Welsh Vaping community at large for it’s continuous support in campaigning against the eCig ban, and for the support from other groups such as Vapers in Power and Save eCigs.

Meanwhile, the fight continues in Wales. In Pembrokeshire, Councillors are attempting to impose a ban on smoking (which includes vaping) in the open air of Little Haven beach. Such ill-informed decisions cannot be allowed to remain unchallenged. There is little enough evidence that smoking has any impact on people in the open air. It is therefore patently outrageous that vaping should be looked at in the same light. If nothing else, vaping should be encouraged in places such as Little Haven, not least as an alternative to smoking for the smokers. If those smokers then choose to make the switch to vaping permanent then it is a win-win situation for Public Health.

We have shown that people power CAN make a difference and sent a message to all political parties that Vapers are a power to be reckoned with.

Simon Thurlow

NNA Board Member