In the news: E-cigarettes could already be facing public ban
A major criticism of e-cigarettes is that study on their effects is limited, and long-term research is non-existent. While they are almost certainly less harmful than tobacco, the British Medical Association warns that they may still carry their own risks.
However, this isn't the issue the Welsh government has with their use - instead, health minister Mark Drakeford fears that they may "normalise" the act of smoking again, which he says would reverse the efforts made to make smoking seem less glamorous over the past three decades. Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he stated: "We are concerned that they might act as a gateway to conventional cigarettes. It contains nicotine, it's highly addictive, and you might then find it easier to move on to conventional cigarettes."
While some private companies have already banned their use - including JD Wetherspoons and a number of train networks - this would be the first instance of a government ban in the UK. Results from small studies have suggested that they're a more effective aid to quitting than nicotine patches, leading to higher instances of smoking cessation (7.3 per cent) and another 57 per cent only smoking half as many cigarettes as they had done previously.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash, responded to the minister's concerns by commenting on the emerging users of the e-cigarette devices. She highlighted evidence from English studies which shows that, almost without exception, e-cigarettes are used only by smokers and ex-smokers. She did praise the debate, however, stating: "We're pleased that the Welsh government is consulting on whether to ban their use in enclosed public places as it is important to take account of the evidence before going ahead."