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Health Minister: 'E-cigarettes could normalise smoking behaviour'

Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford will introduce a White Paper later, setting out a number of new law proposals to tackle some of Wales' major public health challenges.

His proposals include a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit, and a restriction on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Alcohol and tobacco contribute to many life-threatening illnesses and are major causes of persistent inequalities in health.

There is indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters. It's no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has increased substantially, so has alcohol-related disease. A minimum unit price will make a strong contribution to preventing alcohol overuse and misuse and reducing alcohol-related illnesses.

I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places.

I am also concerned that their use in enclosed places could normalise smoking behaviour. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and I want to minimise the risk of a new generation becoming addicted to this drug.

– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister for Wales


Valleys shop slapped with alcohol ban for Christmas

The Rhondda shop will not be able to sell alcohol until 2014. Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

A Rhondda convenience store has lost its licence to sell alcohol over the Christmas period after allegedly exacerbating underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in the local community.

Turtle Beach Food and Wine Company in Bute Street, Treherbert, appeared before Merthyr Magistrates’ Court to appeal against a decision by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in May to revoke its licence entirely.

The court decided that management of the store had demonstrated better compliance and they would only lose their licence to sell alcohol for a period of three months.

Magistrates’ made the decision after it was agreed the retailer would continue to profit from socially irresponsible behaviour which was having an adverse impact on the surrounding community. The store owner was ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

South Wales Police Inspector for Rhondda, Nick Picton said, “A well run shop is a real asset to any community, but a badly run shop can be the source of many problems. Turtle Beach Food and Wine Company fuelled anti-social behaviour through their irresponsible sale of alcohol.“

Click here: to read Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's full report.

'Dry January' campaign

A quarter of people in Wales admit binge drinking. Credit: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

Alcohol Concern Cymru is launching a campaign to encourage people to give up alcohol for 31 days in January.

It says it aims to raise awareness of what is sensible drinking.

The charity says nine out of ten people in Wales say they drink alcohol and of those a quarter admit drinking above recommended guidelines.

Youngsters learn about dangers of excess alcohol

PC Ken Bowen, Western Division Schools Liaison Officer, teaches youngsters about the potential dangers of alcohol Credit: South Wales Police

Over 35,000 schoolchildren across South Wales are being taught about the potential dangers of alcohol.

School community officers from South Wales Police are addressing issues such as peer pressure, the impact of excessive drinking on health, and other risks associated with alcohol abuse.

Faith McCready, Regional Co-ordinator of the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme, said: “It is important that pupils have an understanding of the law and the use of alcohol and also have an opportunity to discuss these issues in a safe environment.

“Officers will be specifically focusing on the risks and the consequences associated with the misuse of alcohol and encouraging the pupils to consider what will happen if the law is broken.

“There are many reasons for discouraging our young people from binge drinking. We hope that preventative measures such as this will help to ensure our children are kept safe from harm and continue to behave within the boundaries of the law.”


Safer Swansea: 'Alcohol violence is still occurring'

Organisations in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot are working together in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence in the area.

The 'One Punch Ruins Lives' campaign launches today.

We have had a big impact on reducing violent crime over the years thanks to a long list of initiatives and resources to improve safety. But we recognise that violence is still occurring and the only way this can reduce this further is by changing the behaviour of the minority of people who are committing violent crime.

– Safer Swansea Partnership

'One Punch Ruins Lives': Alcohol violence campaign

The campaign's message is that it can only take one drunken punch to ruin your life - or somebody else's Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

A campaign has been launched in a bid to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence across Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.

'One Punch Ruins Lives' is urging people to simply walk away from any violence or aggression they encounter during a night out.

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