Fontem Ventures supports the Welsh Government’s proposal to prohibit sales of e-cigarettes to minors and indeed advocates minimum age laws in every market it operates in.
Other parts of the Bill, however, are concerning. Certain proposals, such as the indoor vaping ban, suggest a lack of understanding about e-cigarettes. As it stands, there is no scientific-based justification for the inclusion of e-cigarettes in existing smoke-free regulations in Wales.
Further, we don’t believe the Bill goes far enough in terms of properly articulating and distinguishing the fundamental differences between conventional cigarettes and non-tobacco vaping products. This sets an undesirable precedent that is likely to further compound public confusion and misunderstandings around e-cigarettes.
Greater uptake of e-cigarettes in Wales could help the Welsh Government achieve its target of reducing smoking rates to 16% by 2020. In its current form, however, the Bill is likely to hinder that progress by effectively categorising e-cigarettes and tobacco products as one and the same.
There are clear and substantial differences: e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, do not burn, and do not smoulder. As a result, bystanders may only be exposed to vapour exhaled by the consumer into the air but not to smoke. Numerous reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that exposure to nicotine and other chemicals that may be present in exhaled e-cigarette vapour is negligible with all chemical analyses to date indicating exhaled e-cigarette vapour does not warrant a health concern to bystanders.
In light of all the available evidence, we believe the Welsh Government should be acting to encourage more rapid adoption of e-cigarettes rather than implementing legislation that could discourage adult smokers from switching to less harmful alternatives.
To read our submission to the Committee, click here.
(Please note that all unanswered questions, and questions that do not relate specifically to e-cigarettes, have been removed from this version of the document).