The attitudes of the major Welsh parties towards vaping
Welsh voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect Welsh Assembly members. Vapers in Power, along with the other parties, has released a manifesto (1).
The Vapers in Power candidates’ details are here:
Please remember to #votevapernotlabour
Wales found itself at the centre of a vaping storm when the Labour Welsh Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, put forward the Public Health Bill with controversial proposals to ban vaping in some public places. The Bill was narrowly defeated but it seems safe to assume that Welsh Labour will try to force it through a second time if they are re-elected.
So, if you want to give your vote to vaping who should you vote for?
The short answer: #votevapernotlabour
The longer answer:
1. Cardiff West and South Wales Central
Vapers in Power is putting up two candidates forward under the Freedom to Choose description on the ballot paper: Lee Woolls is standing against Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West and Bernice Evans is standing in South Wales Central. Voting for Vapers in Power in Cardiff and South Wales Central will show the main parties that vapers are a force to be reckoned with.
You have two votes for the region so if you do vote for Bernice you could consider using your second vote for either of the next most pro-vaping parties after Vapers in Power: the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives.
2. Everywhere else in Wales – #VOTEVAPERNOTLABOUR
Here’s a summary of the main parties’ attitudes to vaping:.
Welsh Liberal Democrats:
Kirsty Williams, the Lib Dem leader, championed the opposition to the vaping proposals in the Health Bill. The Lib Dem manifesto (2) pledges to: “Protect an individual’s free right to use electronic cigarettes where they like by opposing Labour’s ban on e-cigs in public places.”
The Welsh Conservative manifesto (3) promises to: “Support vaping in public and pilot the use of e-cigarettes in NHS smoking cessation services”. The Welsh Conservatives did not support the Health Bill and put forward amendments to remove vaping from the bill.
Plaid Cymru’s manifesto can be read here: (4), there are no references to vaping in it and it supports outside smoking bans; something which Vapers in Power is opposed to. Plaid Cymru were partly responsible for the Health Bill getting so close to the statute books as they didn’t adopt a party line and allowed their assembly members a free vote. We have to conclude that they are the least vaping friendly party out of the first three.
UKIP’s Welsh manifesto can be read here (5) It doesn’t mention vaping, but the position of the party as a whole in the UK is quite vape friendly.
This is the party you should most avoid if you are trying to use your vote in a vape friendly manner. Their manifesto (6) does not specifically mention vaping but there is widespread evidence that should they come back to power they intend to reintroduce the bill which would have banned vaping in both indoor and outdoor public spaces. (7)