Public Health Wales (PHW) states that such a ban is justified considering that electronic cigarettes may actually be an impediment in people’s efforts to quit smoking. Health officials recommend a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
It claimed that in the absence of regulation, there were wide variations in the nicotine content as well as a lack of safety standards.
A BBC Breakfast survey of 1000 people revealed that most people were against the imposition of a ban on electronic cigarettes and were in favour of allowing the use of electronic cigarettes in public places.
The British Medical Association has also recommended a ban on e-cigarettes in public places pointing out that is normalises smoking which is generally regarded as a social evil.
The UK is home to over a million users of e-cigarettes, which do not fall within the ambit of the smoking ban as they do not generate smoke but produce a nicotine-containing vapour.
Consultant in public health, PHW, Dr Julie Bishop, pointed out that all over the world as well as in the UK, the focus has been to create awareness that smoking is not the norm. The motions of using e-cigarettes closely resemble the use of tobacco cigarettes and the manner in which the two products are promoted is also similar.
She acknowledged that there was a lot more to be done but as this issue involved public health, due care must be taken as any retrograde step would put the general public at risk.
She stated that the lack of regulation resulted in significant variations in the nicotine content and electronic cigarettes users could not know their contents. The lack of standardisation resulting from an absence of licensing and regulation makes it impossible to carry out general tests to determine the safety and efficacy of all electronic cigarettes.
Dr Bishop said that the manner in which e-cigarettes would be regulated in the future was still vague. She opined that prohibition on use of cigarettes in workplaces, public places and educational institutions should be extended to cover e-cigarettes in order to ensure that all the efforts put in towards preventing and stopping smoking is not undone.
According to PHW, smoking is a major cause of disease and premature deaths in the UK, which can be avoided. Smoking claims one victim every 90 minutes in Wales alone.
Health and Healthcare Improvement Division (of which Stop Smoking Wales is a part) Director, De Pat Riordan states that they do not want to put off smokers who have switched to e-cigarettes in their efforts to quit smoking. He states that the regulation and warnings should aim at giving users confidence in the product rather than making it difficult to access the products which people find useful.
The BBC Breakfast survey also found that three-fourths of the people surveyed were comfortable with others using electronic cigarettes near them or their families and 62% felt that they should be permitted in public places.