A group of influential AMs can't agree whether to support the Welsh Government's proposal to ban E-cigarettes in indoor public places.
The health committee was largely split over party lines with Labour members supporting the move with most other members disagreeing.
The Health minister Mark Drakeford wants to extend the current indoor smoking ban to include the devises. He fears they re-normalise smoking and act as a so called 'gateway' to children.
But examining the proposal the committee heard conflicting evidence from a range of groups. While health boards and public health bodies said the move was necessary as a percussion while other groups like Cancer Research UK and ASH saying a potential ban could be harmful.
The report will be examined by AMs with a vote likely on the ban early next year.
Professor John Britton, chair of the Royal College of Physicians' Tobacco Advisory Group, said the doctors group disagrees with the Welsh Government's plans to ban e-cigarettes from enclosed public spaces "simply because electronic cigarettes are the way out of smoking for so many smokers."
He said "it's inappropriate to use tobacco legislation" for the vapour devices.
The Royal College of Physicians says "e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking".
While it supports regulation of electronic cigarettes, the doctors group does not support the Welsh Government's plans to ban the use of e-cigs in enclosed public places.
The RCP says: "On the basis of available evidence, the RCP believes that e-cigarettes could lead to significant falls in the prevalence of smoking, prevent many deaths and episodes of serious illness, and help to reduce the social inequalities in health that tobacco smoking currently exacerbates."
It has published its response to the Welsh Government's consultation, saying:
- Electronic cigarettes and other novel nicotine devices can provide an effective, affordable and readily available retail alternative to conventional cigarettes
- These new products present potential risks as well as opportunities for health, and therefore the RCP advocates proportionate regulation
- Regulation should ensure that products deliver nicotine effectively and safely, that advertising and promotion do not target young people or other non-smokers, and that advertising and use (for example, in public places) do not undermine smoking prevention policies
- The RCP supports regulation of electronic cigarettes - and close monitoring of their use is essential to ensure trends counter to public health are identified and acted upon
Doctors group the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in Wales has published its response to the Welsh Government's proposal to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public places.
It says it doesn't support a ban because the devices can help people give up conventional cigarettes. But it does support better regulation and a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under 18.
The RCP says smoking accounts for approximately 5,450 deaths every year in Wales where it is estimated that 14,500 young people a year take up smoking.
The Welsh Government has said there is a risk e-cigarettes could 'normalise' smoking once again. It say it will consider all responses to its consultation in due course.
The annual Welsh Health Survey found half of adults reported currently being treated for an illness, and only around a third eating the recommended fruit and vegetables, or being physically active five days in the previous week.
Here are the key findings:
- 50% of adults reported currently being treated for an illness, including high blood pressure or respiratory illness
- 33% of adults reported that their day-to-day activities were limited because of a health problem or disability
- 20% of adults reported fair or poor general health
- 21% of adults reported they currently smoke
- 42% of adults reported drinking above the guidelines on at least one day in the past week
- 33% of adults reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day
- 29% of adults reported being physically active on five or more days in the past week
- 58% of adults were classified as overweight or obese
Wales' Health Minister has warned that "too many people are making lifestyle choices that are damaging their health and endangering their lives."
He was speaking as the annual Welsh Health Survey is published, showing 50 per cent of adults are currently being treated for illness, 21 per cent smoke, and 58 per cent are overweight or obese.
Mark Drakeford said: "We have seen progress, with a two per cent drop in the number of people smoking and a small decline in in levels of drinking."
“These findings show once again that Wales faces challenges when it comes to tackling some of our most stubborn lifestyle behaviours, which we know can contribute to health problems."
“This is why we have set out radical proposals in our Public Health White Paper to take action to protect our nation’s health, including introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol, restricting the use of e-cigarettes."
Britons are more likely to disagree than agree that using E-cigarettes should be allowed in public places, an exclusive poll for the Tonight programme, conducted by ComRes, has revealed.
Participants were asked if they agree or disagree with the following statements:
The World Health Organisation has called for further research into the impact of E-cigarettes on human health as they increase in popularity.
British Armerican Tobacco spokesman Kingsley Wheaton told ITV's Tonight that his firm believes electronic cigarettes are "substantially safer" than conventional cigarettes.
"We believe that as they are they are today - and we believe there are various parts of the scientific community who would agree with us - they provide a substantially safer alternative to smoking a traditional cigarette," he said in a conversation with ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi.