A landmark Bill to ban smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds, is expected to be introduced today, in a bid to boost the nation’s health.
The Public Health (Wales) Bill aims to improve the wellbeing of people in Wales, with a particular focus on promoting children and young people’s health.
The Bill includes proposals to create a mandatory licensing scheme for special procedures such as acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing, and prohibits the intimate piercing of anybody under the age of 16.
It also proposes to:
- Create a national register of retailers of tobacco and nicotine products, so local authorities are better able to enforce legislation and provide education and support to retailers
- Prohibit tobacco and nicotine products from being handed over to under 18s, for example through a supermarket delivery service
- Require public bodies in Wales to assess how their decisions will affect people’s physical and mental health
- Require local authorities to produce a strategy about toilets for use by the public within their area
- Make pharmacies more responsive to the needs of their local community
“Many of the measures included in the original Public Health Bill which was introduced in 2015 had strong public, stakeholder and cross-party support, which is why there was widespread disappointment when it wasn’t passed.
“In re-introducing the Bill, we are retaining those areas which were strengthened in the previous scrutiny process – such as measures to restrict smoking in school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds.
“At the heart of the Bill is the aim of promoting the health of children and young people. Proposals such as the ban on smoking in school grounds and playgrounds are intended to prevent children from being exposed to smoking behaviours, making it less likely that they’ll take up smoking themselves.
“The Bill also focusses on improving people’s wellbeing through, for example, ensuring local authorities plan to meet the needs of their communities for accessing toilet facilities. This will mean older people, people with disabilities, and people caring for young children aren’t put off leaving the house for fear of stress or embarrassment.
“Overall, the health of the people of Wales is improving but we face challenges and we want to see the pace of improvement increased. I’m confident the Public Health Bill will help us achieve these aims.”
The Bill is expected to be introduced to the National Assembly today [Monday 7th November] and the Minister will make a Legislative Statement about the Bill during Plenary in the Senedd tomorrow [Tuesday 8th November].