Vaping: Mark Drakeford 'attracted' to prescriptions for e-cigarettes

  • Mark Drakeford responds to a question on the use of electronic cigarettes during plenary

The First Minister of Wales says he's "attracted" to the idea of only allowing people who have a prescription to use electronic cigarettes.

The policy has been rolled out in Australia where people can only use electronic cigarettes if they are doing so to quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

Mark Drakeford made the comments in response to Welsh Conservative MS Darren Millar's question during plenary on Tuesday afternoon.

He said: "In Australia, for example, the only way you can get an e-cigarette is by prescription. You can't by them in shops.

Mark Drakeford made the comments in response to Welsh Conservative MS Darren Millar's question. Credit: PA

"Only through a medical prescription as part of a supervised attempt to give up smoking are they available.

"And I would be attracted to that idea myself."

The First Minister's comment come after the Welsh Government called for disposable or single-use vapes to be banned.

Mark Drakeford also took the opportunity to outline the environmental impact of e-cigarettes, and said the majority of people who use them also smoke conventional cigarettes.

"1.3 million [e-cigarettes are] thrown away every week, accumulating to 10 tonnes of lithium every year," he said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak axed HS2 and set out plans to curb smoking during his Conservative Party conference speech. Credit: PA

"As to whether e-cigarettes are a significant contribution to people quitting smoking, I think the evidence is a bit more equivocal than he would suggest.

"Most people who use e-cigerettes are dual users. Most people who use e-cigarettes also smoke conventional cigarettes and that does not reduce the harm of cigarettes themselves.

"Cigarette use in Wales was already reducing, far before e-cigarettes were ever available."

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has also floated the idea of raising the smoking age by one year, every year, in an effort to create a generation of non-smokers.

With a big rise in the number of children vaping in schools across Wales, new guidance has been issued to help headteachers tackle the issue.

Public Health Wales hopes it will assist in helping start conversations around the potential health impacts of such devices.

One in five young people from year 7 to year 11 have tried vaping according to figures from the School Health Research Network, and 5% of secondary pupils in Wales vape at least once a week.

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