Should e-cigarettes be banned in public places?

E-cigarettes also referred to as electronic cigarettes have turned into a new modern ‘craze’ with 2.8 million users currently in the UK.

Over half of e-cigarette users claim that their use is due to it helping them stop smoking, other users claim that their usage is down to the fact that is a cheap, modern, ‘craze’ to participate in.

Furthermore, while there are an endless number of brands and flavours for e-cigarette users to choose from, they all share the same make-up. They consist of a cartilage containing a liquid, a heating device [vaporizer], and a power source [usually a battery]. Earlier this year, The Food and Drug Administration in America, hardened their rules concerning e-cigarettes, coming to the conclusion that one must be 18 in order to purchase or use e-cigarettes. On the other hand, in the UK, due to the failure of an e-cigarette law in March, we still appear to hold a lenient approach.

In December 2015, a European court ruling, concerning e-cigarettes took place. Consequently, it was predicted that 1 in 4 e-cigarettes will be banned in Britain the following year, after being labelled ‘too strong’ during the court ruling. The court also decided that flavours which make cigarettes more appealing should be banned, alongside the need for advertisers and sponsors to illustrate health warnings on packaging where possible.

Dr Kokott, the EU’s most senior legal officer, exclaimed that such a regulation is needed due to the “possible risks to human health” from usage of e-cigarettes. However, if European judges were to agree with Dr Kokott’s statement, then this would result in vaping devices, being limited to 20mg of nicotine per product.

While in America, e-cigarettes have resulted in a market of $3.5 billion dollars over the past 5 years, likewise to the debate surrounding e-cigarettes in the UK, public health officials are still pushing for regulations. The centres for Disease Control (CDC) identified from their study that 5.3% of middle school students and 16% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2015. Therefore, the growing concern amongst public health officials, is in regards as to whether the influence of celebrities such as Rihanna and Drake using e-cigarettes, and members of the public, being allowed to freely use e-cigarettes, is encouraging young people to start smoking.

Furthermore, as the ban against vaping in public places in the UK, was defeated by one vote in March 2016, clearly this shows that the majority of the public agree that e-cigarettes are harmless. In support of this, Shadow Health Minister and Conservative AM Darren Millian stated “we should be giving people a helping hand to quit smoking- not placing obstacles in their way”.

Also in response to the opposing view, that e-cigarettes should be banned, Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams outlined that “when you’ve got a whole host of experts and charities like Cancer Research against you, you should realise that you’re on the wrong side of the argument”. In this sense, perhaps it would not be necessary to ban e-cigarettes in public places such as bars and restaurants.

Though a debate as such should be left up public health officials into deciding whether e-cigarettes should be banned in public places or not, as there still remains a lack of research and studies in this particular field.

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Naomi Elliott

Naomi Elliott, 17, is currently an A Level student studying Sociology, Ethics and Philosophy, and English Literature, and wishes to undertake a degree in Politics at University later on this year. Recently Naomi has won an award from Young Writers for her poem ‘Darkness’ which has been published in ‘Chasing Shadows- a Collection of Teen Poetry’ in March 2016, and can be found in The British Library. In the future, Naomi wishes to pursue a career in an international city law firm or the United Nations, in order to tackle the ongoing issues concerning human rights globally. Alongside this, writing is a hobby, which Naomi wishes to integrate into her career, by writing articles for newspapers, poetry and short stories. From a Google search, Naomi discovered Young Perspective, and since joining the website, has been provided with many opportunities to demonstrate her writing skills on social media. From this, Naomi wishes to build a portfolio for the future.

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