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Public Health (Wales) Act 2017

The Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 contains provisions to address various public health issues in Wales. Its primary focus is on shaping the social conditions that encourage good health and where possible, avoiding preventable health harms. 

The provisions of the Act include:

  • a national strategy for tackling obesity, 
  • restrictions on the use and sale of tobacco and nicotine products, including the introduction of new offences,
  • licensing the performance of ‘special procedures’ in Wales (acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing),
  • making it an offence for a person in Wales to perform, or make arrangements to perform, an ‘intimate piercing’ on a person under the age of 18,
  • requiring the Welsh Ministers to make regulations requiring public bodies to carry out health impact assessments,
  • requiring Local Health Boards to prepare and publish an assessment of the need for pharmaceutical services in its area,
  • requiring local authorities to prepare and publish a local toilets strategy and restating the existing statutory power for them to provide toilets in their area. 

The Explanatory Notes to the Act provide a detailed commentary on the various provisions.

Coming into force

In accordance with section 126(1), sections 1, 120 to 125, 126 and 127 came into force on 3 July 2017, which was the day the Act received Royal Assent. The remaining provisions come into force on a day appointed by the Welsh Ministers in an order made by statutory instrument in accordance with section 126(2). The following orders have been made:

Subordinate legislation made under the Act

TitleCitation numberMade dateComing into force dateSupporting documents
The Smoke-free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020
2020 No. 1211 (W. 273)26 October 20201 March 2021Explanatory Memorandum
The Prescribed Objects for Intimate Piercing (Wales) Regulations 20192019 No. 1120 (W. 194)11 July 20191 August 2019Explanatory Memorandum

Consideration of the legislation by the Senedd:

The Bill was introduced on 7 November 2016 by Rebecca Evans MS, who was Minister for Social Services and Public Health at the time. It was passed by Senedd Cymru (then known as the National Assembly for Wales) on 16 May 2017.

More information about the Bill is available on the Senedd’s website, including a record of the passage of the Bill through the Senedd and the Explanatory Memorandum that was prepared by the Welsh Government (as revised after Stage 2).

The Act received Royal Assent on 3 July 2017.

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Last updated
21 May 2024