ASH Wales supports the UK government decision to make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s and welcomes the development of such legislation in Wales. This is a rapidly growing market, and many brands appear to be marketing directly to young people. Although it may seem that e-cigarettes are slightly safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes, the addictive nicotine and many harmful carcinogens may still be present. For this reason it is important that these products are regulated.
We also support the UK government in making buying cigarettes for children illegal, as we know that this is a major source of supply for underage smokers. Alongside buying cigarettes from adults, it is also easy for children and young people to purchase e-cigarettes from markets and other non-registered traders. We would like to see retail registration so that cigarettes and other tobacco products are only legal if they are bought in registered shops. This would have the added benefit of supporting small shopkeepers. These changes are only the beginning and there is still a long way to go in promoting good health and reducing smoking prevalence among young people in Wales. The benefits of regulation also rely on ensuring compliance, so we call on the government to implement these policies and at the same time provide the resources required at a local level to ensure compliance with these new measures.