Schools and workplaces acting to restrict e-cigarette use

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The surveys, carried out by the Government, come ahead of the Public Health Bill, which is due to be published this summer.

Of the schools in Wales which responded to the small-scale survey:

Around three-quarters of secondary schools (74%) and a third of primary schools (34%) already have an e-cigarette policy, or intend to develop one- the principle reason given by primary schools (61%) and secondary schools (72%) for developing a policy was to help with enforcement of the existing smoking ban

Around a third of the primary schools and just under half of the secondary schools with an e-cigarette policy said that one of the reasons for having one was because they were concerned that e-cigarettes will lead to children smoking tobacco, or that it will make smoking tobacco more acceptable

Almost a fifth (17%) of secondary schools have seen pupils use e-cigarettes within school grounds.

Among the workplaces which responded to the small-scale survey:

Almost three quarters (73%) of the large employers had a policy prohibiting e-cigarette use compared with around one third (36%) of the small and medium sized employers (SMEs)

The main reasons for developing a policy were to bring e-cigarette use in line with existing smoke-free policies (79% of the large employers and 59% of SMEs) and to help with its enforcement (71% of the large employers and 59% of SMEs)

Hhalf of the large employers reported that e-cigarettes were currently used on their premises compared with a quarter of SMEs.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“These surveys provide an early indication of the extent of existing, voluntary policies covering e-cigarette use in schools and workplaces.

“We set out radical proposals in our Public Health White Paper including bringing the use of e-cigarettes in public places in line with conventional cigarettes as a way of protecting people’s health.

“I am concerned that the use of e-cigarettes in public and work places undermines the smoking ban and may re-normalise smoking, especially for a generation who have grown up in a largely smoke-free society.”

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