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ONS evidence torpedoes Labour e-cig ban

Welsh Labour’s planned restrictions on e-cigarettes, a key plank of their public health reforms, was torpedoed today by evidence from the Office for National Statistics that e-cigarettes do not represent a gateway to smoking.

The ONS findings show that e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by smokers and ex-smokers, but very rarely by people who have never smoked.

The ONS found that over half of e-cigarette users said smoking cessation was their main motivation for using them, while a further 20% used e-cigarettes as a less damaging alternative to cigarettes.

The Welsh Government proposes to ban e-cigarettes in enclosed public places as part of its Public health white paper.

Wales has a less ambitious target for reducing smoking than England and Scotland, despite having one of the highest smoking rates of the UK nations and regions.

Darren Millar AM, Shadow Minister for Health, said, “This evidence from the authoritative Office for National Statistics torpedoes Labour’s plans for a ban on e-cigarettes, which are widely used to help smokers quit.

“Half of e-cigarette users would otherwise be smoking real cigarettes with significant additional health dangers for themselves, others through passive smoking and a massive cost burden to the NHS.

“This evidence confirms that e-cigarettes are very rarely used as a gateway to cigarettes and completely undermines Labour’s proposed ban on an effective means of smoking cessation.”