The decision came as a surprise given that Plaid Cymru had originally given its Assembly members a free vote on the issue. However, the party instructed its members to vote against the e-cigarette ban after Labour member and public services minister Leighton Andrews referred to Plaid Cymru members planning to vote with the government as a “cheap date”.
CityAM reports that the vote on the Public Health (Wales) Bill was tied at 26 votes each, then presiding officer Dame Rosemary Butler used her casting vote against it, bring the result to 27 against versus 26 for.
A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said Andrews had “shown a disrespect for parties and individual AMs seeking to create a consensus across political divides”.
“He chose to belittle cooperation and put his own government’s legislation in jeopardy,” the spokesperson added. “This afternoon, Plaid Cymru proposed to Welsh Government that the Bill should be withdrawn before the vote and that the Assembly should be reconvened immediately after Easter to vote on a Bill with all sections on e-cigarettes removed. Plaid Cymru would have supported that legislation.”
The bill originally proposed banning e-cigarettes from all enclosed public and work places, but this was amended after a committee report challenged the blanket ban.
Other proposals include creating a national register of retailers of tobacco and nicotine products, adding to the offences which contribute to a Restricted Premises Order (which prohibits the sale of tobacco products from a particular site) and prohibiting the handing over of tobacco or nicotine products to people under the age of 18.