Wefan Gymraeg

Political influence questioned as health body drops e-cigs opposition

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have questioned the sudden decision by Public Health Wales to change their position on e-cigarettes and recommend their use as a smoking cessation tool.

Public Health Wales remained steadfast in their opposition to e-cigarettes throughout the previous Public Health Bill, in stark contrast to the position of Public Health England and charities like Cancer Research UK.

Welsh Lib Dems led the ultimately successful campaign against Labour’s e-cigs ban in the previous Public Health Bill, gathering the backing of over 4,000 people.

Cllr Elizabeth Evans, the Welsh Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, said:

“The body of evidence surrounding the use of e-cigarettes hasn’t changed massively since Labour tried and failed to ban them. What has changed, however, is political motivation.

“The opposition of Public Health Wales to e-cigs always looked strange compared to positions taken by their English counterpart, and the vast majority of experts who took part in the previous Public Health Bill process.

“The people of Wales need confidence that health advice isn’t being decided based on political dogma. That’s why we need to understand the full reasons behind this sudden change of direction, and the basis on which any decision was made.

“Welsh Liberal Democrats have always stood against Labour’s politically-motivated attempts to ban e-cigs because we believe depriving people of their liberties should only be done on the basis of sound evidence. Unless and until that evidence appears, that is the position we will continue to take.”

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