Wales considers banning public use of electronic cigarettes
By Belinda Goldsmith
LONDON, April 2 (Reuters) - Wales could become the first part of the United Kingdom to ban electronic cigarettes in enclosed public spaces due to fears their use could "re-normalise" smoking conventional cigarettes.
Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the rapid spread of e-cigarettes could undermine the health benefits of banning the smoking of conventional cigarettes in public in 2007.
The proposal comes amid a fierce debate over the health impact of e-cigarettes which do not contain tobacco or produce smoke but use heat to vaporize flavoured, liquid nicotine.
Proponents argue they can help people to quit smoking but a rising number of countries like Singapore and Brazil have banned e-cigarettes and U.S. cities including New York and Los Angeles, blocked their use in many public places.
Drakeford said he was concerned that the use of e-cigarettes would boost the number of smokers.
"E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimise the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug," Drakeford said in a statement as he launched a raft of proposals to improve public health in Wales.
His proposals are open for consultation until June 24 and, if backed, will then go to the Welsh Assembly, which has the powers to run its own health and education services.
Battery-powered e-cigarettes were first introduced in China in 2004 and have since grown into a $2 billion industry. Continuación...