Scottish Daily Mail
Vanishing in a puff of smoke, the plan to ban use of e-cigs in public
ELECTrONIC cigarettes won’t be banned in public places after ministers decided that there are ‘potential health benefits’ for smokers.
Ministers ruled that so- called e- cigs are not ‘ risk free’ but conceded that they could help reduce levels of smoking.
Anti-smoking groups had cautioned against the move, although doctors last night insisted that ‘stronger controls’ are needed.
Electronic cigarettes are vapour inhalers that have exploded in popularity in recent years.
Experts are divided over the impact of so- called ‘vaping’ on health – supporters claim they help people quit but critics argue that they normalise smoking, particularly among youngsters.
The Scottish Government will still clamp down on smokers however. It will be illegal to purchase e-cigs under the age of 18, or advertise them, while cigarette smoking will be banned in hospital grounds.
A new policy memorandum states: ‘The Scottish Government recognises the potential health benefits in reducing smoking rates.’
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of anti- smoking group ASH Scotl and, said: ‘ I encourage any smoker to try whatever stop smoking aid they find works for them, including e-cigarettes.
‘While we support the ban on selling e-cigs to children we have not joined calls for prohibiting vaping in enclosed public spaces.’
However, a spokesman for the British Medical Association in Scotland said: ‘Further research is needed to learn more about the long-term effects.’
SNP Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: ‘We agree that electronic cigarettes need appropriate regulation.
‘While we accept that they may potentially help people smoke fewer cigarettes we will continue to monitor evidence and take policy decisions that protect public health and support our ambition f or a tobacco f ree Scotland.’
However, in Wales, in a decision that has split the medical lobby, a new public health law will prevent people using the devices in enclosed public places.