Plans to ban electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) from all public places where children were present have been thrown out by the Welsh Assembly.

The Public Health (Wales) Bill aimed to restrict the use of nicotine inhaling devices in places such as schools, restaurants and cafes as well as on public transport.

The Labour legislation had been criticised by opposition parties and health charities and was defeated in a vote in the Senedd.

Plaid Assembly Members were initially believed to be supporting the measures but in the end sided with Welsh Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to block the plans. 

Shadow health minister and Conservative AM Darren Millar said a ban would have been “a huge step backwards for smoking cessation and efforts to improve public health”.

“There is no evidence supporting their plans and they should have been ditched months ago. Ultimately, we should be giving people a helping hand to quit smoking – not placing obstacles in their way,” he added. 

The move was also welcomed by smokers rights group Forest: “The proposals to severely restrict the use of e-cigarettes in public places were hopelessly misguided and irrational,” director Simon Clark said. 

“The proposed measures were based not on evidence of harm but on an irrational fear of nicotine. Nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine and any regulations should reflect that.”