Posted: Tue 10th Oct 2023

First minister “attracted” to Australia’s policy of making vapes prescription only

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 10th, 2023

Wales’ First Minister he is “attracted” to Australia’s policy of making e-cigarettes prescription-only, in its bid to tackle the growing number of young people vaping.

Taking inspiration from Down Under, Mark Drakeford voiced his support for limiting the sale of e-cigarettes to prescription-only.

Vaping is a rapidly growing habit in Great Britain, particularly among younger people.

Figures from the School Health Research Network revealed that one in five young people between Year 7 and Year 11 have experimented with vaping.

Furthermore, 5% of secondary school pupils admit to vaping at least once a week.

During First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd today, Ken Skates MS highlighted the missed opportunity from 2016 when the public health bill was dropped at its final stage.

This bill would have aligned the use of e-cigarettes with other tobacco products, offering greater protection in areas frequented by children.

Mr Drakeford said, “We have to face up to the fact that there was an opportunity for this Senedd to take that preventative action and that opportunity was failed.”

He said, “I welcome what the Prime Minister said at the Conservative Party conference last week—that the UK Government now intends to take the actions that we could have taken here in 2016.”

“We’ve lost ground in the meantime. There are children addicted to nicotine today who would’ve been saved from that addiction had this Senedd taken the action that was available to it.”

“But we can’t put that piece of history right; we can make a difference in the future. The proposals that were made by the Prime Minister are ones that we will support, and we will align ourselves with the consultation that we expect the UK Government to develop to make sure that we can now at last take the actions that will prevent our children from falling victim to the deliberate attempt to ensnare them in nicotine addiction.”

Conservative MS Darren Millar, while acknowledging the harmful influence of disposable vapes and deceptive marketing tactics companies use, emphasised the significant role e-cigarettes play in aiding smokers to quit.

“The smoking rates in Wales fell from 20 per cent just eight years ago to around 13 per cent today,” Mr Millar said.

However, Mark Drakeford MS provided a counter-narrative. He highlighted the notable environmental hazard of 1.3 million disposable e-cigarettes being discarded every week in the UK, amounting to 10 tonnes of lithium every year.

Furthermore, he argued that the assumed health benefits of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool might be overstated.

Drawing from the Australian government’s standpoint, he noted the lack of conclusive evidence supporting e-cigarettes as a safe and effective means to quit smoking.

Mr Drakeford said, “I think the evidence is a good deal more equivocal than he would suggest. Most people who use e-cigarettes are dual users; they use e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, and that does not reduce the harm of cigarettes themselves.”

“Cigarette use in Wales was decreasing long before e-cigarettes were ever available. The causal effect that he seeks to draw between the availability of e-cigarettes and the reductions in smoking bears no examination whatsoever.”

He said: “In Australia, for example, the only way you can get an e-cigarette is by prescription—you can’t buy them in shops. Only through a medical prescription as part of a supervised attempt to give up smoking are they available.”

“I would be attracted to that idea myself. What does the Australian Government say on its website? ‘Are e-cigarettes safe?’ it asks. Answer: ‘No’. They’re not safe. It continues to say, ‘Can e-cigarettes help you to quit smoking? There is insufficient evidence,’ it says, ‘to promote the use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.’”

Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
Latest News

  • Calls for urgent clarity of future of nuclear energy developments in North Wales
  • Wales’ Ombudsman under scrutiny: Inquiry into political neutrality pushed after official’s resignation
  • Three finishes bottom of the pile in Which?’s best and worst mobile phone provider survey

  • More...

    Calls for urgent clarity of future of nuclear energy developments in North Wales

    News

    Wales’ Ombudsman under scrutiny: Inquiry into political neutrality pushed after official’s resignation

    News

    Three finishes bottom of the pile in Which?’s best and worst mobile phone provider survey

    News

    Senedd passes Bill to simplify consenting process for major infrastructure projects in Wales

    News

    Wales Wildfire Board launches new ‘WildfireWise’ awareness campaign

    News

    MS welcomes ‘enthusiastic’ Flintshire pupils to the Senedd

    News

    Flintshire wins share of £100m Welsh Government transport and active travel improvement funding

    News

    Check if your business is eligible to benefit from grants to help reduce running costs

    News

    Flint Air Cadets Showcase Skills to Civic Leaders

    News