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A customer holds an e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar A customer holds an e-cigarette at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar  

Wales may become the first part of the UK to ban e-cigarettes

Regulations on electronic cigarettes are sweeping the nation — and world.

The first restrictions against the popular tobacco substitute are now being considered by lawmakers in Wales, reported The Daily Mail.

If passed, the proposed law would ban the use of e-cigarettes in all enclosed public areas, closely mirroring the current laws against tobacco users.

Welsh health ministers believe that if demand for e-cigarettes continues to grow, it may normalize the habit of smoking.

Officials also worry that the widespread use of the vapor device could undermine existing tobacco laws in the area.

“I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales’ smoking ban. That’s why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places,” said health minister Mark Drakeford.

The adverse health consequences of smoking tobacco cigarettes are the very reason why e-cigarette defenders believe the tobacco substitute should be embraced by the health industry.

James Dunworth, the co-founder of ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, recently conducted a survey that found 61 percent of those questioned would return to tobacco if e-cigarettes were banned.

He explained, “E-cigarettes do work for 1.5 million people in the UK, and scientists like Professor Britton of the Royal College of Physicians believe they could save millions of British lives.”

“So why is the Welsh government attacking something which is working to defend a policy which isn’t working?” he wondered, according to The Daily Mail.

A spokesman for the firm OK E-cigs made similar arguments: “We do not accept that the use of E-cigs ‘normalises’ smoking habits. On the contrary, they encourage smokers to switch to a healthier alternative, one that has the additional benefit of offering them substantial savings on price.”

The spokesman argued against depriving “smokers from freely seeking out a healthier alternative to tobacco products.”

However, Wales has a history of clamping down on smokers, and some want it to stay that way.

Dr Ruth Hussey, chief medical officer for Wales, was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying, “Wales was the first country in the UK to vote in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, which came into effect on April 2, 2007.”

And “on the seventh anniversary of the smoking ban, it is symbolic that Wales is once again at the forefront of a new set of radical proposals to improve public health,” she said.

E-cigarette popularity has also expanded in the United States, and with that, so have efforts to regulate the device.

Large cities, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, have already begun placing restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes.

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