Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford yesterday announced that the principality’s government is considering a ban on the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public spaces.

Drakeford said there were concerns over whether e-cigarettes would normalise smoking and undermine the current ban on smoking tobacco in these same enclosed public spaces.

It strikes me that if the point is to reduce the harm caused to public health, this move is counter intuitive in the extreme.

Surely the more normal we can make electronic cigarettes, the better so that more smokers will see them as a genuine modern-day alternative to tobacco.

Yes, the jury is still out on the ultimate safety of these products – but the jury is well and truly in on the safety of tobacco-based cigarettes and the government needs to be doing what it can to help smokers quit and stop young people starting in the first place.

More work needs to be done and quickly to establish the safety of e-cigs; we have already reported on how leading scientists are questioning the European Commission’s stance on e-cigs and suggesting the bureaucrats have overplayed the notion that e-cigs are a gateway into tobacco.

For all that, the e-cig industry perhaps does need make some changes if it wants to convince politicians that it is the bright new future.

Many suppliers and users are already keen on using the term vaping rather than smoking. Which is all fine – but in that case, is it still right that suppliers should be trying to ape as closely as they can the look, feel and taste of regular fags?

Of course manufacturers will argue that cigarette smokers are creatures of habit (and the evidence for that is clear to see); they need therefore to replicate the experience as closely as possible to convince the smoker to switch.

But if the e-cig industry truly wants to be treated differently to the tobacco industry perhaps it needs to stop mimicking it at every turn – after all, we stopped selling cigarette-shaped confectionery years ago.