The Welsh Liberal Democrats have hit out at Labour members of the Assembly's Health Committee after they stopped a report from recommending that Labour's e-cigarette ban be scrapped.
The Health and Social Care Committee's report on the Public Health Bill does not recommend that the proposed ban on e-cigarettes in enclosed public places be removed from the Bill, despite the overwhelming majority of evidence presented to the Committee raising concerns about the ban.
Numerous organisations including Cancer Research UK and ASH Wales have warned that the e-cigs ban could be a backwards step in the fight to reduce smoking rates, and also dismissed Labour's argument that e-cigs act as a gateway to smoking tobacco among young people.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have led the campaign against the e-cigs ban, with nearly 3,500 people signing the party's petition calling for it to be scrapped. Click here to add your name.
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“The evidence presented to the Committee has been clear that this ban would have an adverse impact on the health of vapers, many of whom use e-cigs as a tool to give up smoking. I'm confused as to how Labour have come to a completely opposing view from the same evidence.
“Forcing vapers outside to use their e-cigs with tobacco smokers will subject them to passive smoke, making the task of those who are vaping in order to give up smoking much more difficult.
“Not only that, but specifically produced inhalers used to give up smoking – ones that are regulated by medicines – are also covered by this ban. Labour's actions don't only fly in the face of evidence, they fly in the face of common sense.
“Labour seem to be clinging onto this ban purely to save face and avoid an embarrassing U-turn, but by doing so they are putting lives at risk. Unless they do the right thing and scrap this ban, their actions could have disastrous consequences.”