AMS have thrown their support behind a series of measures designed to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of people in Wales.

Regulations which will be put in place by the Welsh Government’s Public Health Bill include banning smoking in school and hospital grounds and playgrounds, creating a national register of retailers of tobacco and nicotine products and requiring businesses offering so called ‘special procedures’ such as piercing, tattooing and similar activities to be licensed.

The bill, which was debated in the Senedd yesterday, would also ban intimate piercings, including in the tongue, for under-16s and require councils to set out plans for providing public toilets.

But contentious plans included in a previous version of the bill, which was voted down on the final day of the previous Assembly, to ban the use of e-cigarettes in a number of public places are not included in the new bill.

Speaking yesterday, social services and public health minister Rebecca Evans said its ultimate goal was to benefit the people of Wales.

“Extending the smoke-free regime to outdoor settings of school grounds, hospital grounds and public playgrounds, as well as the other actions on tobacco, will break important new ground and build on the significant progress we’ve made over many years in protecting children from the harmful effects of smoking,” she said.

“Elsewhere in the bill, the special procedures licensing system will have a number of direct benefits, from helping prevent avoidable harm to those individuals choosing to have a special procedure, to helping people to become better informed when thinking about a special procedure, and working with the sector so that the standards of best practice become the standards of all.”

Although AMs were supportive of the bill and unanimously approved its general principles, chairman of the Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee chairman Dai Lloyd said he was concerned it did not include any measures to tackle obesity.

“Obesity is such a serious threat to public health it must not be shied away, from no matter how difficult or complicated it is,” he added.

But he conceded the bill would ultimately improve health and wellbeing in Wales.

Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth also spoke during the debate, and said he believed more financial resources should be dedicated to improving health in Wales.

“It is not a good thing to limit leisure centre opening hours or to close leisure centres during an obesity crisis,” he said.

He added he hoped the bill would not be the end of work to improve health in Wales, saying: “We shouldn’t look at this legislation as the end of the journey.”

The bill will now continue to further scrutiny by the Assembly.