ASH Wales Cymru is disappointed after the Public Health Bill fell at the last hurdle meaning robust tobacco control measures contained in the proposed legislation maybe lost. 

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One of the most powerful control measures outlined in the Bill was the creation of a national register of retailers of tobacco products. This would have made it easier for retailers to be identified and monitored - helping to tackle the problem of illegal sales of tobacco to underage young people in Wales.

The Bill would have also restricted smoking in public playgrounds, school grounds and hospital grounds - a move which ASH Wales has long campaigned for.  As of last week every local authority in Wales signed up to our voluntary smokefree playgrounds initiative, which demonstrates the support this new law would have had.

Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales Cymru said: “We know that smoking is an addiction of childhood, a classroom full of children take up smoking every day in Wales. It is essential that any tobacco control measures tackle the issue of young people taking up smoking. The retail register would have been a fantastic opportunity to give enforcement agencies a clear idea of where tobacco is being sold legally and illegally. As we know illegal tobacco is a huge problem across Wales, especially as it makes tobacco more accessible to young people with its cheap prices and lack of age restrictions.”

With regards to e-cigarettes, this was not a tobacco-control measure. Suzanne Cass added: “We didn’t want would-be quitters to be deterred from using e-cigarettes because of restrictions created by the Bill. Due to the way the politics has played out we have now lost significant tobacco control measures that would have gone a long way to helping to tackle underage sales and illegal products.”

“E-cigarettes are still relatively new technology and must be monitored. We will continue to review the evidence on e-cigarettes and their effect on public health.”

Contact:

Emily Cole - 029 2049 0621 - emily@ashwales.org.uk