Rejection of a Public Health Bill In Wales
Recent Events Have Led To The Rejection of a Public Health Bill In Wales That Would Have Included New E-cig Regulations
After a series of rather unique events that took place within the assembly earlier this year, it seems as though new E-cig regulations that were expected to pass in Wales will not be going through after all.
We published a blog about these regulations back in September, which you can view here. At the time, it was expected that the bill would pass – but recent goings-on in the assembly seem to have brought about an unexpected decision.
A remark made by Leighton Andrews addressing an earlier deal between Labour and Plaid Cymru seemed to have started the whole thing. You can watch a video of the actual remark here. Apparently, Leighton Andrews called a previous deal with the party a ‘cheap date’, which was taken as offensive and presumptuous.
This, apparently, was the first in a series of events that led Plaid to vote against the new public health bill at the last minute – which tied the assembly at a 26 to 26 vote, which was broken by the presiding officer, who voted against the law – making the final vote 27 against, 26 for.
This bill would have made several laws regarding E-cigs, but it would have also created a compulsory licensing system for tattoo artists and prohibited intimate piercings on young people under the age of 16.
According to an article published by BBC.com, Plaid was originally planning on making this a ‘free vote’, and some of the party members were expected to support the bill. But this all changed when the ‘cheap date’ comment was made, which was said to be very disrespectful and to ‘belittle cooperation’.
What changes would the law have made?
Among other things, the law would have banned vaping in Wales in all of the following locations…
- Schools and educational establishments
- Places where food is served
- Childcare facilities, and premises upon which childcare is provided
- School and public transportation vehicles
- Bus stations, train stations, and other hubs for transportation
According to a spokeswoman for the party, there was another vote planned that would not include the sections on E-cigarettes. Here’s the official quote, which you can find in the BBC article linked to above.
What does this mean for vaping in Wales?
While the reasons for the rejection of the bill seem to be more about relationships between the parties than about the functional risks or benefits offered by E-cigs, it certainly seems like this is a victory that will help vapers in a wide variety of different ways.
It will certainly make vaping more accessible to people who wish to use E-cigs in public places. It will also mean that E-cig companies won’t be required to join a register for retailers of tobacco products – which was another part of the bill that will likely be removed.
When you get right down to it, the main point seems to be that this will all lead to less stringent regulation than Wales would have been facing had the bill been enacted – and many believe this to be a good thing. Nobody wants anyone to be at risk or in danger, but it’s doubtful that E-cigs are really causing any sort of problem that requires regulation.
Granted, nobody wants E-cigs to fall into the hands of minors – but there are a lot of companies that are already making it difficult (if not impossible) to sell to customers under the age of 18 anyway. Hopefully, through self-regulation, E-cig suppliers will enforce common-sense standards on themselves and help to keep everything safe without the need for any additional laws.