The latest statement on the use of vaping products by Public Health Wales is a grotesque bundle of idealistic wishes which remove the personal freedoms of vapers and those smokers who look to switch from smoking.
The entire document is riddled with ancient arguments revolving around “might”, “could” (and not forgetting “children”) and shows that PHW have failed to keep up-to-date with the continually published research.
We believe that PHW are now attempting to tighten the screw in a way that the previous Welsh Government Public Health Bill would be proud of. This is unacceptable!
We cannot share any stance that PHW offers in regards to e-liquid flavouring bans. There are many tens of thousands of vapers in Wales who use a multitude of flavours to maintain a harm reduced lifestyle. Restricting “confectionery” type flavours will remove a significant choice of products that can work for smokers to switch and keep vapers vaping. This will put a massive halt on Welsh tobacco harm reduction.
Not only do Welsh vapers have to cope with the monstrosity of the Tobacco Products Directive with regards to product availability, lack of awareness-raising of a harm reduction product and reduced nicotine level but if PHW get their way, vapers and smokers will once more be shut out.
PHW want to see voluntary indoor bans (they call it “restrictions”) just like the previous Welsh Assembly Government Public Health Bill and specific outdoor bans on vaping. This is utterly preposterous! The evidence is clear that the harm of vapour from any vaping product is vastly reduced in comparison to smoking and risk of harm to bystanders is negligible.
PHW shoot themselves in the foot in this statement. They contacted one of our advocate members and said “Organisationally we are now advocating a 100% switch to e-cigarettes for committed smokers and recognising the role they could have for those on a quit journey” and this is backed up by references to the Cochrane review and the RCP report. However, the remainder of the statement is full of WHO smelling anti-vaping rubbish, the statement may as well have not bothered trying to strike balance.