After due consideration, health minister Mark Drakeford has come up with slightly watered-down proposals which would allow vaping in some enclosed places, including pubs that did not either serve food or allow children. That sounds suspiciously like the proposals relating to smoking in the 2005 Labour manifesto, which of course they later “welshed” on.
These would have led to a two-tier pub trade, divided between down-to-earth, working-class boozers with no kids or food, and sanitised midde-class dining outlets filled with the smell of cooking and the tinkle of children’s happy laughter. No prizes for guessing which I would have preferred! Obviously this would have been preferable to the current situation, but it still would have been far from ideal. Many pubs where food was only a sideline would have ended up dropping it to keep their drinking customers.
I’m not sure whether vapers have yet reached the critical mass where pubs would think it worthwhile to abandon food to retain their business, but it’s certainly the case that where the vaper goes, his or her friends will follow. And Wales, perhaps more than any other part of the UK, certainly still has plenty of basic, wet-led, adults-only boozers.
Surely the best solution would to allow pubs and other businesses to choose whether to allow vaping or not, and let the market decide. Just as it should have been with smoking. Let’s hope the Welsh Government eventually see sense.