A PETITION has been launched calling on the Welsh Government to scrap a proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces and places of work in Wales.

Save E-cigs, a national campaign representing e-cigarette users, their friends, and their families, has already gained support from more than 300 signatures since the petition was launched on the Welsh Assembly website on Thursday, June 12.

The petition calls upon the Welsh Government to drop their proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, substantially enclosed public places, and places of work in Wales.

This proposal, if implemented, can only lead to fewer people using e-cigarettes and more people going back to smoking cigarettes.

The campaign group say that at least 100,000 people in Wales are using e-cigarettes. These people are smoking fewer or no cigarettes, and this should be a cause for celebration, not concern.

A recent BBC poll found that 62 per cent of the public opposed a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public. In Spain, where a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public was introduced, there was a 70 per cent decline in the use of e-cigarettes and a rise in the rate of smoking. We fear the same will happen in Wales if the Welsh Government implements their proposed ban.

A spokesman from the group said: “With a ban on the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes soon to be introduced, following the passing of the Tobacco Products Directive, where are smokers to find out about e-cigarettes, particularly if they are banned in public places? Smokers need to see people using e-cigarettes in public, they need to be able to go up and speak to e-cigarette users so that they can find out further information and then hopefully make the switch to a safer alternative.”

Simon Thurlow, who tabled the petition on behalf of Save E-cigs, said:

“In its approach the Welsh Government are going against the precautionary principle as it was originally intended, they are trying to mitigate for a risk that has yet to be proven and in doing so may do more harm than good.

“The ban on smoking in enclosed public places was introduced to benefit the health of non-smokers whose health was put at risk as a result of being in close proximity to smokers. “Therefore any proposal to include e-cigarettes within this ban must also be to protect the health of non-vapers, but we know from a recent major scientific study that passive vaping is not dangerous.”

He added: “What public health gain does the Welsh Government hope to achieve with this proposal? If the Welsh Government succeeds in banning e-cigarettes in public places, they will be forcing vapers to vape alongside smokers and exposing them to the dangers of second-hand smoke. We are in contact with vapers on a daily basis and many have said such a ban would simply force them back to smoking. Is this really what the Welsh Government wants?”