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E-cigarettes use could be restricted in Wales

Welsh Public Health Bill will also introduce licensing for tattoo and body piercing businesses

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 09 June 2015

A ban on e-cigarette use in enclosed public places, and tightening of sales of tobacco and nicotine products, are some of the proposals in a new Public Health Bill unveiled by the Welsh Government.

Under the bill, restrictions will be placed on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed and substantially enclosed public and work places to bring their use into line with laws on smoking tobacco products. Wales will be the first part of the UK to introduce such legislation. The Bill will also give Ministers the power to make non-enclosed spaces smoke-free in the future.

The Bill will also create a national register of tobacco and nicotine products retailers and make it illegal to hand over tobacco or nicotine products to under-18s, for example via home delivery services.

Outside of tobacco and nicotine use, the Public Hill Bill proposes creating a compulsory, national licensing system for businesses that undertake acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing and prohibiting intimate piercing of children under 16.

The Bill will also change the way pharmaceutical services are planned by health boards, moving from a system which is focused solely on prescription dispensing, to one which responds to the needs of local communities. It will also place a duty on local authorities to prepare and publish a local toilets strategy, including an assessment of the need for toilets for public use and details of how that need will be met.  

Professor Mark Drakeford said: “The Welsh Government has a responsibility to create the conditions which enable people to live healthy lives and avoid preventable harm to their health. Wales has a strong tradition of using legislation to improve public health and I am confident the measures in the Public Health Bill will continue this.  

“This Bill follows last year’s consultation on our Public Health White Paper. We have made changes to all areas following the consultation process and the valuable feedback we received.  

“We want to get the balance right between all the things that would make a big difference to people’s health and wellbeing in the future while not wanting to intrude on the legitimate rights people have to run their own lives.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Hussey said: “This Bill will help to keep pace with emerging public health concerns. Over the last decade, body piercing and tattooing have become increasingly popular in Wales and the range of procedures has increased.  

“There are well-known health risks associated with skin piercing procedures if they are carried out unhygienically and this Bill will ensure that only those with safe working practices can carry out these procedures.

“While many piercing practitioners choose not to perform intimate piercings on children and young people, the proposals in this Bill will mean there is greater clarity and consistency in the law on this issue.”

A consultation on a separate draft Bill to introduce a minimum unit price for selling alcohol will be published before the summer recess.

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