§ [Relevant documents: The Second Report of the Health Committee, Session 1999–2000, on The Tobacco Industry and the Health Risks of Smoking, HC 27-I, and the Government's response thereto, Cm 4905.]
Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. Speaker
I should inform the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.
§ The Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Alan Milburn)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
This Government came to office with a commitment to ban tobacco advertising. We repeated that commitment in our tobacco White Paper "Smoking Kills" in December 1998. For almost four years, we have fought for this policy in the European Union, in the European courts and in the British courts. Today, we are honouring the commitments that we have made. The Bill will ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship in this country. It will do so to protect public health, to safeguard children and to reduce health inequalities.
Smoking kills 120,000 people in this country every year. Of 1,000 20-year-olds who smoke regularly, one will be murdered; six will die in road accidents; 250 will die in middle age from smoking; and 250 more will be killed in later life by smoking.
Smoking is the principal avoidable cause of early death in our country. It causes 85 per cent. of lung cancer deaths. It causes cancer of the mouth, the larynx, the oesophagus, the bladder, the kidneys, the stomach and the pancreas. It causes one in seven deaths from heart disease. It is one of the principal causes of the health gap between the richest and the poorest in our country.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West)
Does the Secretary of State think that it would be a good idea to talk to doctors, coroners and others to try to ensure that the number of times that smoking is put on the death certificate is increased significantly from the current handful, so that it is a factor that relatives and friends cannot ignore?
§ Mr. Milburn
That suggestion has much merit. It is often difficult to define the exact immediate cause of death, but there is overwhelming medical and scientific evidence to show that smoking is the principal cause of early death, and indeed of high levels of morbidity in many parts of the country and many sections of society. It is not an exaggeration to say that tobacco smoking is the biggest public health problem that the country faces. It is literally a public health disaster. I say to the hon. Gentleman in all candour that this Government, unlike the previous one, are determined to do something about it.
Cancer and coronary heart disease are the United Kingdom's biggest killers. Health services that treat cancer and heart disease are the Government's top priorities. In the next year alone they will receive an extra 655 £450 million of investment. After decades of neglect, these services are finally getting the long overdue resources that they need.
In a modern society, however, it is not enough just to treat disease once it takes hold. Prevention is better than cure. That is why, for the first time in our country, the Government have introduced a major programme of action to prevent and reduce deaths from smoking.
§ Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West)
From 1970 to 1997, the prevalence of smoking declined by nearly 40 per cent. Since then, it has begun to rise. The right hon. Gentleman will of course be aware that, until the accession of this Government, the relationship with the tobacco advertising industry was characterised largely by voluntary agreements. Does he not perceive that this Government's attempt to raise prices sharply has created a smuggling market that has led to an increase in the prevalence of smoking?
§ Mr. Milburn
The hon. Gentleman is wrong on this, as he is on so many other things. The overwhelming scientific opinion, not just in this country but internationally, is that an increase in tobacco duties produce a fall in consumption levels. [Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman disagrees, I shall explain in more detail.
First, we have taken fiscal measures that have increased tobacco duties, because there is a char link between price levels and consumption levels. In the last Budget, the increase in tobacco duties—£450 million across the United Kingdom—was hypothecated for use in the national health service, a measure opposed by the Conservative party.
Secondly, we have taken measutres to crack down on the illegal smuggling of cigarettes and other tobacco products into the UK. More than £200 million is being spent by the Government on tackling this illegal trade, which poses such a health hazard to our country.
§ Mr. Nick Hawkins (Surrey Heath)
Does not the Secretary of State recognise that all around the country, but particularly in areas where there are major ports or airports, it is clear from conversations with police, prosecuting authorities and Customs and Excise officials that smuggling is on the increase? One has only to spend time in any of our seaside resorts to see smuggled tobacco openly on sale. Does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that the Government's mismanagement of these issues has led to a huge increase in the supply of smuggled tobacco?
§ Mr. Milburn
That is not the case. I know that, unusually for the Conservative party in Parliament, there is much support for a tax harmonisation measure across Europe for tobacco, and that the hon. Members for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) and for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) are in favour of it. The evidence does not suggest that that would work. The idea that the smuggling of tobacco products, particularly cigarettes, is a problem peculiar to the United Kingdom is at variance with the facts. Countries such as Spain and Italy, which most right hon. and hon. Members would regard as having low taxation in relative terms, also have an enormous smuggling problem.
656 The truth is that, precisely because of the action that the Government are taking—the 1,000 extra Customs and Excise officers and the £250 million-worth of investment that we are putting into tackling the problem of smuggling—the number of seizures of cigarettes is rising.
§ Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)
Given what the right hon. Gentleman has just said about the desirability of raising excise duties on tobacco, how does he explain the fact that the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Dawn Primarolo), now Paymaster General, said precisely the opposite on 23 January 1995 in the Finance Bill Committee?
§ Mr. Milburn
I always think that it is better to judge right hon. and hon. Members by their deeds rather than their words, and that goes for the hon. Gentleman too. My hon. Friend the Paymaster General is as committed as I am to tackling smuggling. Indeed, she has been responsible, alongside my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for pioneering the extra investment to tackle what all right hon. and hon. Members agree is a very serious problem. It might be interesting if the hon. Gentleman told us whether his party supports the extra investment that the Government are putting into Customs and Excises services.
Thirdly, we have invested £50 million in an education campaign to inform the public of the dangers of smoking. I believe that people have a right to choose to smoke. If that is what they want to do, they have a right to do it. They also have a right to know the implications for themselves and, more important, for others, of their decision to do so. For decades, tobacco companies have spent millions peddling the merits of smoking. Today, the Government are spending millions informing people of its dangers. That is the right priority.
§ Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)
My right hon. Friend mentions education. He will be aware that the tobacco industry advertises near schools, especially in poorer areas. Does he agree that the voluntary code, which suggests a distance of 200 m, is not good enough? A mandatory element is needed, so as to ensure that our young people are not attracted to smoking at such an early age.
§ Mr. Milburn
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. In a moment, I shall refer to the rather perverse nature of some advertising and to some of the perverse claims made by the tobacco industry about the strategies behind its advertising campaigns. From all the research that has been undertaken—not only in this country but abroad—there is little doubt that the denials of the tobacco industry about the need to recruit additional smokers, especially among young people, are untrue. As my hon. Friend points out, the voluntary code has not delivered the goods. Anyone who believes that the tobacco industry makes such an investment in tobacco advertising out of the goodness of its heart is naive in the extreme.
§ Dr. Liam Fox (Woodspring)
If a voluntary code is as unworkable as the Secretary of State says, why did it deliver a big reduction in consumption between 1971 and 1996?
§ Mr. Milburn
There are various reasons for the reduction in consumption. That is a long-running trend— 657 not only in this country but in other developed nations. Sadly, that is not true in all parts of the world. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, developing countries face the prospect of the health problems associated with tobacco consumption in this country. I realise that he has personal views on the issue; indeed, he hinted at some of them in December when he so assiduously briefed the press about a U-turn in Conservative policy. Sadly, his views seem to have been overturned by his shadow Cabinet.
Fourthly, alongside information to encourage people to give up, we are providing more help for smokers who want to give up. Seventy per cent. of smokers say that they want to quit. We are giving them more help than they have ever had to do so. There is a £50 million smoking cessation programme; and nicotine replacement therapy and the new product Zyban are both available on prescription. Specialist services are being made available, especially in the poorest areas. Extra help is offered for pregnant women to kick the habit. We now have the most comprehensive smoking cessation services anywhere in the world.
These services, alongside other action that we are taking, will help us meet the tough targets that we have set to reduce the number of people who smoke and to cut deaths from smoking. Over the first three years of this programme we expect almost 100,000 smokers to have quit the habit.
The next step in this comprehensive programme of action on smoking is to end tobacco sponsorship and advertising. The Bill is not anti-smoker any more than it is anti-sport or anti-choice. It is a tough but proportionate response to the marketing and promotion of the only legally available product that is guaranteed to kill one in two of its regular, long-term users.
§ Mr. Leigh
Smoking is bad for us—I do not do it. Of course, excess alcohol is bad for us too. No one would ever accuse smoking of making people drive cars into innocent children, beat up their wives or run amok in society. There is thus an issue of moral equivalence. What is the Secretary of State going to do about alcohol? Does he not realise that once Governments start to make moral judgments about what is bad for us or about what should or should not be advertised, they may be on a slippery slope? Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to take steps to discourage alcohol advertising?
§ Mr. Milburn
Alcohol in moderation is probably good for people—at least so I am advised; I do not think that smoking in moderation is good for people. Of course, there are difficult issues. The hon. Gentleman poses the matter as a moral choice. Yes, there are choices to be made, but it is a question of degree. The difference between alcohol and tobacco is that the consumption of tobacco products is guaranteed to do one thing to the hon. Gentleman and to others who decide to smoke—in the end, it will cause cancer, heart disease or other fatal 658 illnesses. Therefore, we, as a Government, have a responsibility to act. Frankly, the previous Government refused to do so because of the moral choices that they sought to make, and I think that they made the wrong moral choice.
The Bill will ban overt advertising on billboards, posters and in the press. It will end, with limited exceptions, advertising in shops. Only advertising at the point of sale will be allowed. Direct marketing, too, will cease, stopping the tobacco industry bombarding people with promotional material, so undermining their attempts to give up. However, the Bill will not prevent members of the general public, journalists, writers and others from talking about tobacco products, representing them on stage or film, or commenting in the press about smoking and tobacco.
Tobacco sponsorship of sports and other events will, however, end under the Bill. Tobacco companies will no longer be able to exploit sports and public events to glamorise their products and to get their logos emblazoned across our television screens. According to the Cancer Research Campaign, the impact of such sports sponsorship is deadly. It says that boys are twice as likely to become regular smokers if they are motor racing fans and thatthis is damning evidence that tobacco sponsorship encourages young boys to take up smoking.
§ Mr. Milburn
Yes, it will do that, but there is an important caveat. Frankly, on so-called brand stretching—or brand sharing—we cannot have our cake and eat it. We cannot urge the tobacco companies to diversify away from tobacco production, while doing our damnedest to prevent them from diversifying into legitimate new markets. That is precisely why, although we have included such a power in the Bill, we shall consult on the detailed provisions to ensure that the phenomenon of so-called brand stretching is properly dealt with in the new legal provisions. In Committee, hon. Members—perhaps including the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth)—will have an opportunity to discuss those issues in detail.
§ Mr. Forth
I am most grateful to the Secretary of State; he has been most generous in giving way. Some time ago, he said that price plays a large part, so does he believe that forcing the tobacco companies to stop their heavy advertising expenditure will allow them to reduce the price of the product, which, in turn, may increase its consumption?
§ Mr. Milburn
That will be a matter for the tobacco companies. [Interruption.] Amazingly enough, despite the fact that the right hon. Gentleman would like to portray the Government w being deeply interventionist in industry, or as representing the nanny state—as he 659 suggests from a sedentary position—it will be for the tobacco companies to determine such matters. However, our responsibility is to protect the public and, more importantly, children, from the adverse affects of tobacco advertising. That step should, and could, have been taken many years ago, given the evidence available to the previous Government.
§ Mr. Richard Allan (Sheffield, Hallam)
The Secretary of State mentions the influence on children. The internet will increasingly be the medium by which they will receive advertising, and so on. The Bill properly makes provision for that, but there are problems with service providers regulating the internet's content. Will the Secretary of State assure the House that he will consult the Internet Service Providers Association and others who want to enforce the ban, to ensure that a proper system exists so that a designated authority can notify them of any problem and give them a reasonable time in which to respond?
§ Mr. Milburn
The hon. Gentleman makes a reasonable point. In considering how tobacco companies advertise today, it is important to contemplate how they might seek to advertise tomorrow. Clearly, internet trading is increasing. Overwhelmingly, that is good; it brings positive benefits for consumers. However, we have included a power the better to protect consumers in future from precisely the advertising and promotional activities that we know have been so detrimental to public health in the past. I assure the hon. Gentleman that my Department, through its officials, has already been in contact with internet service providers in this country to talk through some of the implications, and I think that there will be further consultation on the issue. I hope that that reassures the hon. Gentleman.
Tobacco companies will of course be free to make donations to sporting or artistic events, provided that those donations do not promote tobacco. We have always said that we do not want the ban on tobacco advertising to harm sports. Our intention remains to implement the policy and the timetable on sponsor ship agreed with our European partners in 1998. Subject to consultation, UK sports and events will have until July 2003 to find alternative sponsorship. Global sporting events will have until October 2006 to do the same provided, first, that they do not sign new contracts with tobacco companies and, secondly, that they phase out the current sponsorship that they receive. It is my intention to publish draft regulations for consultation on sponsorship during the passage of the Bill.
We did not lightly make the commitment to end tobacco sponsorship or advertising. We estimate that tobacco companies spend about £100 million each year on advertising and promotion. The cosy fiction from the industry is that that has nothing to do with increasing consumption levels, still less with persuading children or young teenagers to start smoking. It is, the industry claims, only about maintaining brand loyalty. That story might be more convincing were it riot for the facts: the fact that, for decades, those self-same companies even denied that there is a link between cancer and cigarettes—indeed, some even promoted the life-enhancing qualities of tobacco consumption. Even today, some companies continue to deny that passive smoking; is dangerous, while others refuse to publish the additives that they put in their cigarettes.
660 Despite the history of denial, some facts are emerging from the companies. Most important of all is the fact that tobacco advertising is not neutral in its impact: it is all about recruiting more new smokers. As the former chairman of the board of one advertising company who has worked for tobacco firms so clearly put it:the cigarette industry has been artfully maintaining that cigarette advertising has nothing to do with total sales. This is complete and utter nonsense. I am always amused by the suggestion that advertising—a function that has been shown to increase consumption of virtually every other product—somehow miraculously fails to work for tobacco products.It is obvious enough to most people: every year, the tobacco industry in this country has to replace the 120,000 customers it kills through the consumption of its products. The target market are young smokers, including children. Why? Because fully 90 per cent. of smokers start before they are 20 years old.
The polite fiction behind the tobacco industry's advertising campaigns has been exposed by recent revelations and research: for example, the revelation that Imperial's marketing plan for Canada in the late 1980s involved targetingmen aged 12 to 17—I repeat, 12 to 17—and women "aged 12 to 34". Research has proved that the most commonly remembered brands even among children as young as 11 are those that are the most heavily advertised. Further research, published in the British Medical Journal in 1993, on Embassy Regal's "Reg" campaign concluded that itheld most appeal for teenagers, particularly 14–15 year old smokers.There is little doubt among informed scientific and medical opinion that tobacco advertising and sponsorship is nothing less than a recruiting sergeant for children and young teenagers to start the tobacco habit, and it is precisely to safeguard these children and generations yet to come that we are introducing the ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
Some have argued that it is unfair to ban the advertising of a legal product. As I said at the outset, I happen to believe that people have a right to choose to smoke. It can be argued that consumers make a choice to do that when they start smoking. However, because nicotine is so enormously addictive—according to the Royal College of Physicians—it is much harder for smokers to exercise an equivalent freedom of choice to give up smoking.
Tobacco advertising and sponsorship are based on a big lie. They seek to get more people to smoke by conveying the idea that smoking is glamorous, when in fact it is dangerous, and that it enhances the quality of life, when in fact it serves to shorten people's lives.
§ Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. I was sorry to hear him say that he was not anti-smoking. I hope that many of those who speak in the debate are anti-smoking. Given how difficult it is to get legislation into the Government's schedule, is it not a pity that the Bill does not deal with passive smoking? There is no mention of that in the Bill or in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. Equally, I have heard nothing about increasing the size of the warning on the tobacco pack. That should have been increased to 50 per cent. a long time ago.
§ Mr. Milburn
I know that the right hon. Gentleman is a long-standing campaigner on these issues, particularly 661 through his association with the National Asthma Campaign, and I know that he is concerned about the impact of the consumption of cigarettes, and tobacco products more generally, on young people and adults. I should like to set the right hon. Gentleman's mind at rest.
First, we are taking action through Europe on advertising. We want to ensure that there is appropriate advertising to warn smokers of the health hazards that they face when they smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that negotiations are going on between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament about the new directive that has been proposed.
Secondly, on passive smoking, the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the initiatives that we have taken forward with the hospitality sector—with pubs, clubs and restaurants, through their public places charter. Providing that we can make the necessary inroads, I believe that that will make a real difference to passive smoking.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the Health and Safety Executive has just finished consulting on an approved code of practice dealing with the issues associated with passive smoking and its impact not just on consumers in pubs, clubs and restaurants, but on workers in those environments, who do not have the option of ducking out after an hour or so—they must remain there permanently. I hope that those measures will help to assure the right hon. Gentleman that we take extremely seriously the issues associated with passive smoking.
Given the impact of smoking on public health, the Government have a responsibility to act. We have a duty to inform, so that if people want to smoke, they do so on an informed basis, not on the basis of advertising hype. The Government also owe a duty to the wider community, to help smokers give up and to protect children from ever starting up. That is precisely what the Bill seeks to do.
The Opposition state in their amendment that there is insufficient evidence that the ban would reduce tobacco consumption. Surely even the Conservatives, with all their links with the tobacco industry, do not believe that tobacco firms spend £100 million a year on advertising and sponsorship out of the goodness of their hearts.
Surely even the Conservatives accept that if tobacco advertising increases consumption, as everyone but the industry acknowledges that it does, less advertising should reduce it. That is supported by precisely the evidence for which they ask.
As long ago as 1989, the US surgeon general concluded thatthe collective empirical, experiential and logical evidence makes it more likely than not that advertising and promotional activities do stimulate cigarette consumption.Two years later, research found that a 10 per cent. increase in advertising expenditure would lead to a 0.6 per cent. increase in consumption.
More recently, in its report entitled "Curbing the Epidemic", the World Bank noted thata recent study of 22 high income countries based on data from 1970 to 1992 concluded that comprehensive bans on cigarette advertising and promotion can reduce smoking.662 It predicted that a European Union-wide ban on tobacco advertising would reduce tobacco consumption by about 7 per cent.
The most compelling evidence comes not from abroad, however, but from research undertaken in this country. The most compelling evidence comes from the research commissioned and published by the Department of Health when the Conservative party was in government. In 1992, the chief economic adviser to the Department of Health, Professor Clive Smee, examined evidence from Norway, Finland, Canada and New Zealand—countries where tobacco advertising had been banned—about the impact on consumption levels. The fact that consumption fell by between 4 and 9 per cent. in those countries led Smee to conclude:in each case the banning of advertising was followed by a fall in smoking on a scale which cannot reasonably be attributed to other factors.The evidence is overwhelming. It all points one way, and it pointed in that direction when the Tories were in office and did precisely nothing about it. A ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship is a sensible public health measure which will reduce the burden on the health service, protect children and save lives.
§ Mr. Nick Harvey (North Devon)
Did the Secretary of State note that the 1992 report to which he referred was found to be convincing by the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley), who was Health Secretary at the time? She sent a memo to the then Prime Minister, stating that those findings had been made and that she believed them. Does the Secretary of State note the contrast between that and the stance that the Conservative party is taking today?
§ Mr. Milburn
The right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) will have to speak for herself. Sadly, she is not here today, although her proxy is. I believe that voices in the Conservative Government wanted to ban tobacco advertising and that there were arguments in that Government. However, those voices lost the argument not just once but on a succession of occasions.
§ Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)
May I warn my right hon. Friend against the little bit of disinformation that has just been given by the Liberal Democrat party? In 1993, the Secretary of State for Health was not in favour of banning tobacco on the grounds of the information in the Smee report. However, three members of the Cabinet were, including a very senior member, the right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), who was then Deputy Prime Minister and believed that tobacco advertising should have been banned as early as that date.
§ Mr. Milburn
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information. He has campaigned long and hard on these issues and he is clearly privy to information that I do not have before me. I should be grateful to see it; perhaps he will allude to it in the speech which, I am sure, he will seek to make in a moment or two, should he catch your eye, Mr. Speaker. There is no doubt that there was an argument at the time in the Conservative Government and the Conservative party.
§ Mr. Milburn
Yes, the hon. Gentleman is allowed to debate. As he knows, policy making should always be 663 based on the facts. The facts help the case: they were overwhelming and were made clear by officials in the Department of Health. They were made clear time after time, but sadly, the Conservative Government chose to ignore them.
§ Mr. Milburn
I have given way once to the hon. Gentleman, and I am not going to give way again.
The Conservative Government failed to act on the evidence then, and the Opposition refuse even to acknowledge the evidence now. The Conservatives failed to ban advertising and sponsorship in this country. What is more, they blocked a ban in other European countries too, and blocked it consistently between 1989 and 1997. It was not until the election of a new Labour Government that the block was removed.
I was hopeful that the Conservative party would use the Bill to change its policy: to learn some lessons from its history—rather than simply living in it—by supporting the Bill today. Indeed, that is what the Conservative spokesman on health in the Scottish Parliament, Mary Scanlon, said would happen. She told the Scottish Parliament's Health and Community Care Committee on 10 January 2001My party also supports the Bill, the fact that it is UK-wide legislation, and the ban … should the Tories win the next general election, we will pursue the legislation.—[Scottish Parliament Official Report, Health and Community Care Committee, 10 January 2001; c.1347.]I know that it is difficult to find a policy on which all members agree in today's Conservative party. I know also that even a month is an eon in Tory party policy-making terms. However, even the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) seemed to be moving in the same direction as his Scottish colleague when, only last month, he told The Times thatif it comes to a choice between public health and the tobacco industry I think public health would be a priority.The Conservative party's priority is plain for all to see. The hon. Gentleman's words were all spin and no delivery. Rather than learning from their mistakes, the Conservatives are about to repeat them. Their opposition to this Bill shows once again that, for them, the interests of public health always come a poor second to those of the tobacco industry. They claim that they want evidence, but the evidence is overwhelming. Smoking kills. Advertising and promotion of tobacco products imposes enormous costs on our health service and does enormous harm to the health of our nation. Its effects are felt most acutely in the poorest parts of our country.
We estimate that, in this country alone, a reduction in smoking following an advertising ban such as that proposed could save the NHS up to £40 million a year on treating smoking-related diseases. More importantly, we estimate that 3,000 lives a year will be saved in the UK in the longer term.
A ban on tobacco advertising is backed by a majority of the public. It is backed also by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Physicians, the Cancer Research Campaign, Diabetes UK, the National Consumer Council and the Consumers Association.
664 Overwhelmingly, however, it is the evidence that commands support for the Bill. That evidence comes from the industry itself, in the scale and strategy of their advertising campaigns. It comes from across the globe, where bans have already served to significantly reduce smoking. It comes also from medicine and science, which have shown the damage done by smoking and nicotine addiction, as well as the contribution to starting smoking that is made by advertising.
The Opposition ask for evidence. It is all around them, but they simply choose not to see it. It screams out to them from billboards across the country. Advertising works; smoking kills. Advertising smoking both works and kills. Today, we can begin to break that link. Where the previous Government failed to act, this Government will now do so. We will act to protect children; we will act to reduce smoking; we will act to save lives. I commend the Bill to the House.
§ 4.8 pm
§ Dr. Liam Fox (Woodspring)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: "That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill because there is insufficient evidence that its provisions would lead to a quantifiable reduction in tobacco consumption and yet they entail a serious restriction of freedom of expression; it contains no provisions to combat the increase in the prevalence of smoking amongst vulnerable population groups which is due to the growth in importation and sale of illegal tobacco products; nor does it address the difficulties of those sports which stand to lose financial support as a result of its provisions." This debate is not about whether smoking is a bad thing. It is a bad thing, as the statistics recited by the Secretary of State make clear. More than 30,000 lung cancer deaths alone are attributable to smoking, which accounts for two thirds of the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest people in the United Kingdom. Half of all teenagers who smoke will die from tobacco-related diseases. I do not need the statistics, because I worked as a junior doctor in a ward that specialised in respiratory diseases. I have watched people coughing up their blood supply because of their lung tumours and seen relatives suffer along with their loved ones. Closer to home, my grandfather died of lung cancer.
I have no love for the tobacco companies, but that is not the point of this debate. While our policy aim must be to secure decreased consumption and prevalence of tobacco in a sustainable way, the debate is about whether the Bill is acceptable in itself and as part of the wider policy. We must, therefore, consider past and current trends in smoking. We must also consider whether a ban is acceptable in itself, whether a ban such as that proposed would work and what other measures are needed.
The Secretary of State refused point blank to accept the facts pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne). In some of his sillier comments about the previous Government's policy, he betrayed his lack of grasp of some of the issues. Until 1997, under the previous Government, the United Kingdom was doing well in reducing smoking through a combination of price mechanism, education and voluntary controls on advertising.
Let me remind the Secretary of State of some of the changes that the Conservative Government introduced to advertising in 1994. Advertising expenditure on cigarette 665 brand posters was limited to 30 per cent. of that spent in 1980. Poster advertising was not permitted close to, or visible from, schools and educational establishments for young people under the age of 18. Advertisements were not allowed to appear in publications that were directed wholly or mainly at young people who were under 18. Advertising cigarettes or hand-rolling tobacco was prohibited in cinemas, on videocassettes for sale or hire, and in computer games, other computer equipment or software. Those were important steps forward, and I am sorry that the Secretary of State chose to deprecate them. There was a consensus in the country and among all parties that that was the correct way forward.
We were one of the most successful countries in reducing smoking prevalence. Between 1971 and 1996, tobacco consumption was down by more than 37 per cent., and prevalence by more than 40 per cent. Yet between 1994 and 1998, cigarette advertising was in steep decline and the amount spent on main media advertising fell by 46 per cent. At the very least, there is no direct link between advertising and smoking.
Since 1997, total United Kingdom tobacco consumption has increased. Since the Government have been in office, more people are smoking because an increasing number of people have access to cheap, smuggled cigarettes. Since 1996, the black market has flourished as annual tax increases of 3 and 5 per cent. above inflation mean that many consumers who refuse to pay £4.22 for a packet of 20 cigarettes have looked elsewhere. It is now estimated that more than 30 per cent. of the manufactured cigarettes and 80 per cent. of the hand-rolling tobacco smoked in this country avoid UK taxes. It is a classic case of over-taxation having the opposite effect on behaviour to that intended. Falling tax revenue is also likely to occur because we are in the declining part of the tax yield curve.
§ Dr. Fox
Clearly, they advertise because there is a large market and each company wants to increase its share of it. Every 1 per cent. increase in market share is worth £120 million. As the Secretary of State said, it is a legal market, and it is entirely understandable that the companies want to increase their market share.
By using a sensible mix of taxation policy, voluntary restriction on advertising and education, we were able to reduce smoking prevalence over a long period. Under this Government, it has increased. Despite the Secretary of State's words, more people are smoking, using different forms of tobacco and therefore putting their health at risk under this Government than were doing so under the previous Government.
§ Mr. David Faber (Westbury)
I have been listening carefully to my hon. Friend. Does he seriously believe that cigarette companies spend vast amounts of money on advertising purely to persuade existing smokers—an ever-diminishing breed—to give up or change their brand and that they have no interest in persuading young people and non-smokers to join the smoking club?
§ Dr. Fox
It is clear that cigarette companies do not want people to stop smoking; they want people to continue smoking and to use their products. I deeply 666 regret that; I do not believe that smoking should be encouraged. However. I emphasise to my hon. Friend that, under the Government whom he supported, we did extremely well. Smoking consumption was declining through a judicious mix of the three policy elements that I described. However, it is now increasing under a Government who tall, the talk, but do not introduce the policies to product the effect that they claim they wish to achieve. It is not sloganising that makes the difference, but a mixture of Government policy that achieves the desired result.
Let me consider a point that my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West mentioned: banning advertising of a legal product. Doubtless there is a strong libertarian argument that contends that when the Government make a product available without restriction to adults, commercial freedom should be respected and individuals should be able to choose between products. According to that argument, it would follow that advertising was a legitimate method of providing choice between those products.
We already accept the need for restrictions on advertising. Indeed, the last Conservative Government introduced such restrictions. We need to ask in what circumstances we would move from voluntary restrictions to a ban in law, and I know that a genuine debate is taking place about that. Some people believe that there are no circumstances in which a ban could be contemplated. I have disagreed and still disagree with that absolutist view, as I made clear in my response to the Queen's Speech.
Public health considerations must be taken into account, but I do not think it acceptable to ban the advertising of a legal product unless it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that such a ban will work, and unless no alternatives are available to achieve the same end. The ban must also be part of a comprehensive and workable strategy, and not simply a piece of tokenism.
§ Sir Peter Emery
I am sorry to pose what I fear is a difficult question. Is my hon. Friend saying that, if the Bill is passed, we shall repeal it and return to voluntary restrictions?
§ Dr. Fox
I have al ways felt that, just as I had to practise evidence-based medicine, we ought to practise evidence-based policy. We shall find out whether an advertising ban is effective in reducing consumption, because the Bill will become law—we must be realistic enough to recognise that—and we shall see whether it works. We may be proved wrong: we may see a dramatic reduction in consumption. I doubt it.
All I can tell my right hon. Friend is that we shall need to look at the evidence as we find it at the time. I would not, in general, want to depart from evidence. If it is said that consumption has been reduced dramatically as a result of a ban, it is surely common sense to unpick the argument.
§ Mr. Bercow
I am listening intently. Given that approximately 79 per cent. of the cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes goes directly to Treasury coffers, will my hon. Friend—before moving to the next stage of his argument—take us through, as it were, what he presumably sees as the green light that this policy gives smugglers?
§ Dr. Fox
I shall give way in a moment. I know that the hon. Gentleman has a long track record on this issue.
We need to consider the influence of advertising on smoking among children—which my hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Mr. Faber) mentioned—and also the increased number of women who now smoke. Those are both adverse trends. Research conducted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in 1998 failed to find any significant influence on the uptake of smoking by children. The characteristics most likely to be found in children who subsequently began to smoke were gender—girls smoked more than boys, and we know now that that is a continuing trend; having brothers and sisters who smoked; having parents who smoked; living with a single parent; not intending to stay in full-time education after six years; and having relatively newer negative views about smoking.
The question of why girls are increasing their level of smoking is perplexing. There is evidence to suggest that a wrongly assumed effect on weight is one factor. I suggest that the image of waif-like supermodels having a smoke is far more likely to affect consumption in that key and vulnerable group than any brand advertising.
§ Mr. Barron
The hon. Gentleman says that we shall need to see the evidence. I understand that last month, following his public comments about supporting a ban if he found enough evidence in favour of one, he was sent four bundles of independent evidence, including the Smee report, by the charity Action on Smoking and Health. Has he read them, and is he convinced by the arguments?
§ Dr. Fox
This is not a simple yes-or-no case—[Interruption.] Yes of course I nave looked at the evidence sent to us.
As I shall explain in a moment, I do not think that there is convincing evidence that, in the absence of a wider policy, an advertising ban would be as effective as the Government claim. Many of the studies show that an advertising ban can be successful only if it is fully supported by a fully comprehensive anti-smoking policy. Such a policy is, however, profoundly missing in the Government's overall policy. The need for such a policy is amply demonstrated by the single fact—no other is needed—that, under the Government's policy, smoking is increasing. It is as simple as that.
I believe that both the current Government and previous Governments are at fault for failing to listen to the evidence of those who wanted to introduce new education policies. All the evidence has shown that a successful smoking education policy not only requires the right message, but that message must be applied for an adequate length of time and to the right age group. All the evidence suggests that there is no point in aiming an anti-smoking message based on mortality or morbidity at people; in their teens, as teenagers simply have no concept of their own mortality. Effective anti-smoking campaigns must be targeted at people in their mid to late-20s, who are far more receptive to such messages. No Government have taken on board that evidence, but hon. Members on both sides of the House should alter their policy on the matter.
668 In considering whether a ban would work, we must examine the Bill's list of exemptions. No offence is committed if the tobacco advertisement is in communications between those who are engaged in the sale of tobacco products; information sent to consumers who request it; a foreign publication whose principal market is not the United Kingdom; in-flight magazines on non-United Kingdom airlines; a place, or on a website, where tobacco products are offered for sale, as long as it is in accordance with regulations.
There are quite a few exemptions. A shop that sells cigarettes will still be allowed to have cigarette advertisements in the most prominent position in the shop. Advertising within shops is some of the most potent advertising available. Moreover, who decides whether the United Kingdom or somewhere else is the principal market for a magazine? In Committee, we shall explore those technical details.
In his intervention on the Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Bolton, South-East (Dr. Iddon) raised the issue of brand stretching, which is the use of tobacco brand names on non-tobacco merchandise or services—such as Marlboro clothing, Dunhill golf equipment and Camel boots. Is it true that the Department of Health has been in talks with cigarette manufacturers, and that an outline agreement has been reached whereby the Government will accept the continued legal availability of current brand-stretched products on the understanding that no new brand-stretched products will be legally available after implementation of the ban? I think that the House would like to know whether there is such an agreement. I wonder whether the Secretary of State's silence indicates his assent.
If brand stretching is banned, how would the Government control the import of new lines of such products? Would individuals have to declare such products? What regulation would that require? How would such control ever allow diversification, which is the sensible opt-out route for the tobacco industry? If the Secretary of State was indicating a U-turn on the issue in his allusion to it in his speech, we would welcome it.
We must deal with the real reasons why tobacco consumption is increasing in the United Kingdom. If, as I believe, hon. Members on both sides of the House are genuinely concerned with stopping smoking, we must examine the real reasons why more people are using tobacco now than were using it three years ago.
In 1999, total consumption of hand-rolling tobacco was a cigarette equivalent of 21 billion, which is 100 per cent. more than the figure when the single market was introduced. No United Kingdom duty was paid on almost 80 per cent. of that consumption. The Government themselves estimate that, in 1999–2000, total cigarette consumption was about 76 billion, of which 13.6 billion—18 per cent—were smuggled. The Tobacco Manufacturers Association estimated the figure to be slightly higher than that, at some 20 per cent. However, on his own admission, between 1997 and 1999 the Chancellor lost potential tax revenue, excise duty and VAT totalling £5 billion owing to smuggling. Even if the tax take increases for each of the next three years—no one believes that that will happen—it will still be below the 1996–97 figures. So much for extra money for the NHS.
§ Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
Earlier, the hon. Gentleman listed what he seemed to point out were loopholes in, or exclusions from, the ban on 669 advertising. Can we look forward to Tory members of the Committee proposing to block all those loopholes, or was it just a lot of cant?
§ Dr. Fox
I am pointing out the weaknesses in the Government's proposals. The Government said that they had to have a total ban, but then brought in lots of exemptions in different areas. We are questioning not the principle of bringing in a ban, but the workability of a ban, which is a separate issue. There are many issues that Committee members will want to explore.
The Chancellor took two years to take steps to attempt to curb tobacco smuggling. Those steps were too little, too late in terms of the revenue lost. The Chancellor increased by £300 million over three years the resources available to Customs and Excise, compared with his own admitted tax loss of £5 billion.
Tobacco consumption in the UK is rising because the real price of tobacco is falling. The risk of the Government's approach is that, by their mistaken policies on taxation and by getting on the wrong side of the tax yield curve, they will increase smuggling and depress the price. What is worse, a ban on advertising will result in a battle to retain market share that is based on further price cutting rather than on advertising. The Government may, from the best of intentions, get the opposite result to that which they seek.
On 8 March 1998, the hon. Member for Wrexham (Dr. Marek)—a Labour Back Bencher—was quoted in the Sunday Mirror:Cheap cigarettes smuggled in from the Continent have caused a smoking epidemic among children, a Labour MP warned yesterday. Dr. John Marek said that the problem would worsen if Chancellor Gordon Brown increased the tax on tobacco in the Budget later this month.The problem is like an iceberg, plain for all to see. But the Government is pretending it isn't there, even though it is costing the Treasury £800 million a year in lost duties.How right the hon. Gentleman was. Headlines such as "Ciggy pirates prey on kids" and "Rise in child smokers is blamed on bootleggers" are the result, if not the intention, of the Government's policies.
§ Mr. Miller
I have been listening carefully to the difficult arguments being made by the hon. Gentleman. Why did smoking among young people go up during the last five years of the Tory Administration?
§ Dr. Fox
It is a question of getting the balance right between price mechanisms, advertising and other elements. We got the balance right because consumption was going down. That is the ultimate test of the use of taxation in terms of public health: consumption fell all the way to 1996 and has gone up since 1997. That is the test. Is the policy working, or is it just rhetoric? I know that new Labour measures everything by the rhetoric, but what matters is whether consumption is going up or down. The policy is failing.
We find it difficult to take lectures on moral rectitude from a Labour party that was exposed, in the run-up to the election, as having received substantial funding from Philip Morris for a business breakfast for the Prime Minister—as well as the whole sorry Ecclestone episode. The then Minister for Sport wrote: 670The Government will publish a White Paper next year setting out measures to tackle tobacco consumption.After considering the issue of sponsorship in great depth the Government has proposed excluding Formula One from the scope of the proposed EU Directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship which is currently being negotiated. We have always made clear that we are pursuing twin objectives of reducing smoking and of safeguarding sport from any effects arising from the loss of tobacco sponsorship.Bernie Ecclestone gave the Prime Minister £1 million. The Prime Minister gave Formula 1 an exemption. The Government's tobacco policy was up for sale, and it is not for them to lecture anyone else on the moral aspects of the issue.
The arguments are complex, and there is a genuine debate to be held on the matter. However, the Government have failed to say why a ban is the only way forward. Unlike the previous Conservative Government, they have failed to implement a successful anti-smoking strategy. They have failed to reassure us that they can be taken at face value and that their policies are not up for sale. There is no doubt that smoking kills, or that it needs to be reduced. We are all agreed on that. However, tokenism is not enough. We need a proper comprehensive strategy that admits that the increase in tobacco consumption since Labour came into office has damaged health. We need the Government to accept their failures and get us back on the track to reduce smoking. Like most of the Government's public health policies, this one is a failure.
§ Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
I think it is fair to say that the Tories had a parrot opening the debate today: there was nothing in the speech of the shadow Health Secretary, the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) that could not happily have been said by a representative of the tobacco industry. That reflects the attitude of the Tory party.
The hon. Gentleman' s suggestion that the Labour party's tobacco policy could be bought by financial sponsorship must entitle him to the Nobel prize for bare-faced cheek. For 18 years, the Tory party secretly received funds from the tobacco industry and its friends, and complied with everything that the industry asked for. For 18 years, the Tories refused to change the law to ban tobacco advertising. For 10 years, they and their German allies did everything they possibly could to block the European directive to ban tobacco advertising It was only when a Labour Government came into office that the possibility was reached of the blocking minority in the European Union being lifted. That was because we wanted a Europe-wide tobacco advertising ban, which would have been beneficial to everyone. Sadly, as a result of the activities of the tobacco industry and the Tory party's German allies, we lost the case in the European Court. I find it strange to think of the Tories all happily celebrating a European Court decision, because their Eurosceptics do not usually like decisions from that direction.
§ Dr. Fox
During the 18 years of the previous Conservative Government, tobacco consumption fell in the United Kingdom. Over the three years of the present Government, including the period during which the right hon. Gentleman was Health Secretary, tobacco consumption has risen. Which one is the failure?
§ Mr. Dobson
The major failure of the Tories was not to stop the rise in young people taking up tobacco smoking during the last few years of the Government of 671 the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major). Hardly anyone takes up smoking when they are an adult; nearly all smokers start when they are children. There was a large increase in the number of children smoking under the Government of the right hon. Member for Huntingdon. That fed in to the present problem, as the hon. Gentleman ought to understand, because those people are now adults. I agree that the number of children smoking is still increasing, and that is why we need to target our efforts on them.
§ Mr. Dobson
No, I shall not. I do not have a great deal of time.
The Tory party received money for 18 years from the tobacco industry and its friends, and agreed to do everything that the industry asked: to lay off it and not make life difficult for it. The Tories certainly did that. I suppose that we should not expect anything else from a party that recently accepted £5 million from someone who now wants to decide on its European policy and have a veto on who should become its party leader.
Everybody, even the Opposition, recognises the immense damage that tobacco smoking does. The tobacco industry is the only industry in the world that sells a product that will result in the death of half of those who follow the maker's instructions. We read in today's newspapers that some people at Railtrack and Balfour Beatty may be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter over the Hatfield train accident. I am sure that none of them thought that they were running a dangerous railway or knowingly did so. None of them would have expected passengers to be killed. However, the people who run the tobacco industry know that their customers will die, and we ought to introduce some moral equivalence into the debate.
The people who run the tobacco industry kill 120,000 of their customers every year. Consequently, they have to recruit another 120,000 to catch up. That gives the lie to the ridiculous suggestion that, it some way, tobacco advertising is all about competition between brands. The idea that the tobacco industry spends tens of millions of pounds on advertising, but not to increase sales, is absurd. No one could believe that—apart, apparently, from those who propagandise on behalf of the tobacco industry, which sadly includes Tory Front Benchers. We must give the lie to that idea.
The other lie that the tobacco industry constantly peddles is that it does not target its marketing effort on children. Of course it does, because children are virtually the only people who take up smoking. Hardly anybody takes up smoking as an adult, so the tobacco industry—knowingly and malignantly—has attempted to "catch 'em young." Unless it is restrained, it will do everything it can, in any way it can, to do that.
§ Mr. Milburn
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for all the efforts that he made as Secretary of State to deal with precisely those issues. We have repeatedly heard from Conservative Front Benclicrs about tobacco consumption levels, but the July 2000 edition of the statistical bulletin "National Statistics" shows that the overall prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults 672 aged 16 and over was 28 per cent. in 1992 and 28 per cent. in 1996. By 1998, that figure had not increased, but had fallen to 27 per cent. Will my right hon. Friend comment on that, and on the fact that—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Lord)
Order. With respect to the Secretary of State, that is a very long intervention.
§ Mr. Dobson
As one would expect from my right hon. Friend, his intervention was singularly well informed—and rather better informed than the statements of his opposite number, in the sense that it actually contained some facts. Over the years, I have learned not to accept a single proposition made by Conservative Members unless it has been seriously checked. Their propositions are usually wrong. I once foolishly accepted something that one of them said; it turned out to be terribly embarrassing.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
Is it not a fact that, when the right hon. Gentleman was Secretary of State, about 3,000 people a week were giving up smoking for the last time—while alive, that is? Is that level of cessation not rather higher than his successor's stated target?
§ Mr. Dobson
I did not catch what my right hon. Friend said about targets. As far as I remember, when writing the tobacco White Paper, we stretched the targets out and made them tougher. Although we need to improve on past performance, improvements have been made and it would be foolish not to accept that.
However the marketing effort of those who run the tobacco industry is made—through advertising or by other means—it is targeted on young people. That is one reason why we have to introduce the ban as quickly as possible. It will not do everything, but it will help to reduce the incidence of people who take up smoking. It is vital to include sponsorship of sport in the ban because it is clear that it is targeted on sports that will attract the attention and approbation of young people, in particular young men.
I utterly deplore the behaviour of some parts of our fashion industry—a matter to which the hon. Member for Woodspring referred—which have encouraged models who do not smoke at other times to parade on the catwalk smoking. We need to ask whether the tobacco industry is financing some of the organisations involved.
§ Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned sponsorship of sport. If there is one thing that we have learned from the debate, it is that smoking among girls and young women is increasing. Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that the sponsorship of darts by Embassy cigarettes encourages young women to smoke?
§ Mr. Dobson
I am a bit on the chubby side myself, but I admit that the idea of fat guys hurling darts is not likely to provoke many young girls to take up smoking, and that there are other factors at work. Nevertheless, the tobacco industry has not given up on getting boys to smoke. It is still making a huge effort to ensure that more boys than girls smoke. We have to try to reduce smoking by everyone.
The advertising ban has to be part of a wider effort. I know that some people, including, perhaps, some of my colleagues, do not agree, but we tend to assume that 673 teenagers have heard of all the horrors that can result from smoking because we ourselves have heard them. I doubt whether they have. I do not think that those aged 10 to 15, 16 or 17 have been exposed to a substantial campaign on the health dangers of smoking, as people of my age and others were. We need to put more effort into that. It is not true that young people know and completely discount the dangers, although I accept that they may discount them to an extent because people of that age do not think that they are ever going to die. We must publicise the dangers in a better and more effective way.
We also need to emphasise the danger to others. Many people are worried about the impact of smoking on their fellows. Emphasising the danger of secondary smoking would be useful. We must step up the substantial effort that is being made to get people off their addiction to tobacco by building on the special effort which was started by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich and West Norwood (Ms Jowell) when she was Minister for Public Health and which is being continued by Ministers currently at the Department of Health.
If we need to form a judgment about the nature of the tobacco industry, we should remember that, not so long ago, it was denying that tobacco was addictive. Indeed, some of the industry still denies that. It is not long since the industry was denying that smoking was bad for people's health. As I understand it, some people still deny that. Given those recent denials and what we know about the industry's commitment to keeping the tobacco industry going, all we are doing is catching up with the people who sell death to half their customers.
We should try to get ahead of the game. We need to be informed about what the tobacco industry plans for its next effort to build up the smoke force. We therefore need to consider carefully the possibility of requiring the tobacco industry to disclose to the Department of Health all its market and technical research.
We know from published material that 20 years ago the industry was preparing for the possibility that tobacco advertising might be banned. What is the industry planning now? The people of this country are entitled to know what it is planning, so that we can plan to counter it.
We certainly know that the industry plans to sell more and more cigarettes in the third world. In countries where people are already dying from AIDS, malaria and a host of other diseases and from poverty, the tobacco industry—which is virtually all located in the most prosperous parts of the world—wants to sell cigarettes to the most impoverished people so that even more of them will die prematurely. That is a deplorable position for the directors of the tobacco companies to take.
§ Mr. Chope
Is the right hon. Gentleman attacking his own supporters and many others who live in Southampton and work for British American Tobacco? It is a proud company, which exports almost all its products and employs thousands of people in this country. Is he attacking the workers of that company for being involved in the industry?
§ Mr. Dobson
No, not at all. The tobacco industry claims it can diversify into other spheres, and I want it to do so. Perhaps it could use its marketing skills to sell 674 other products. It obviously has great marketing skills, because it has done well in the circumstances that it has faced. I want it to take the opportunity to provide alternative jobs so that people in Southampton work not on something that kills half the company's customers but on something that is good for its customers. I suspect that, provided that they were guaranteed a job, many workers would prefer to do that.
Let us not pretend that the tobacco industry's bosses have ever been concerned about the work force who manufacture cigarettes. Sales have not gone down very much, but the number of people working in the industry has plummeted, because it has mechanised so much. That was the best way of keeping cigarettes cheap. We should not suggest that the management of the tobacco industry are in any way concerned about the people who work in it.
The Government's proposal is a big step forward. I regret that the European directive was delayed and then stopped, but that is all the more reason for getting on with this Bill. I remind the House that we are debating a product that kills half the people who take up using it. It is a serious matter and we need a serious measure to tackle it. This is a serious Bill, and I commend my right hon. Friend and his colleagues for introducing it.
§ Mr. Nick Harvey (North Devon)
It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson). I echo the words with which he concluded his remarks. This is a serious subject, since the effect of smoking on a number of health conditions should not be underestimated. The most obvious of those conditions is cancer, but there can be no doubt that smoking also has a profound impact on cardiac health, diabetes and a variety of other conditions.
Liberal Democrats wholeheartedly welcome the Bill's introduction. Our on regret is that the Government are giving effect to their 1997 election pledge to ban tobacco advertising only in the fourth Session of the Parliament. I accept that the first strategy failed when the European directive ran into a successful legal challenge. Although the Ecclestone affair will not have impacted on the Department's enthusiasm to deal with this matter, it may have caused the Government some embarrassment and subdued their business managers' appetite for putting the issue into the public eye again. In view of that, I appreciate all the more the fact that we are now dealing with a Bill that will make a significant contribution to reducing smoking levels.
How confident are the Government that the Bill can withstand any subsequent legal challenge? The proposition that it might infringe the principles of free speech and violate article 10 of the European convention is as unattractive as it is unconvincing, not least because there are provisions in the convention giving an exemption when issues of health promotion come into play. Advertisers of other products do not enjoy unfettered freedom of expression, and it is entirely right for Parliament to impose such limits as it sees fit. It will be an interesting spectacle to see free marketeers in the tobacco companies, and the r friends in certain quarters on the Conservative Benches, using European measures to curb the right of the United Kingdom Parliament to do as it sees fit.
We have already heard considerable rehearsal of the tobacco industry's argument that its advertising does not increase consumption or encourage people to take up 675 smoking. The industry maintains that advertising is aimed at promoting brand loyalty, persuading people to switch brands or launching new brands. The Secretary of State referred to evidence given by a former chairman of an advertising company that had multi-million dollar tobacco accounts. It is worth dwelling on that gentleman's remarks. He said that that argument was "complete and utter nonsense."
§ Mr. Swayne
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that making cigarettes is a relatively cheap process, with little economy of scale. It is very easy for new entrants to get into the market. That is prevented by creating a marketing economy of scale, with huge expenditure on brand advertising.
§ Mr. Harvey
That may very well be true, but it is not a matter of much importance. The fact is that too many cigarettes are being consumed, and it is clear that the companies' advertising efforts are aimed at expanding the market.
§ Mr. Harvey
No, because if the hon. Gentleman's comment is no more helpful than the previous one, it will not get us anywhere.
§ Mr. Harvey
I am disinclined to believe that.
The former chairman of the American advertising agency said:I am always amused by the suggestion that advertising, a function that has been shown to increase the consumption of virtually every other product, somehow miraculously fails to work for tobacco.He is right: the argument is completely ludicrous.
§ Mr. Harvey
Advertising of all products is designed both to compete with other brands for customers within an existing market and to expand the market.
In 1992, the Department of Health's chief economic adviser carried out a comprehensive study of all the evidence, and concluded:The balance of evidence thus supports the conclusion that advertising does have a positive effect on consumption.He studied the impact of advertising bans that had been imposed elsewhere, and concluded:In each case the banning of advertising was followed by a fall in smoking on a scale which cannot be reasonably attributed to other factors.As I said earlier, that argument was accepted by the then Health Secretary, the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) I did not say that she reached the conclusion that she ought to have reached—that there should he a ban—because, regrettably, she did not. My point was that it was not a study carried out by an obscure official that had gained no credence. The then Secretary of State clearly accepted the burden of the finding. Thus it was that she sent a memo to the Prime Minister saying thattobacco advertising does affect total consumption676 and that bans had a "useful effect". Indeed, the right hon. Members for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) and for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer)—both in the Cabinet at the time—even went as far as to send a memorandum arguing that a ban was "the credible way forward". Regrettably, as has been said, that approach did not win the day in the Conservative party at the time. However, at least these arguments were being advanced, and being advanced by people in a prominent position in the Cabinet.
What a far cry from today's Conservative party, which, to all intents and purposes, is opposing the Bill when—as I read in the Sunday newspapers—at least five of its Front-Benchers have accepted perks and hospitality from tobacco firms, including invitations to prestigious sporting events, during the lifetime of this Parliament. The evidence that the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey accepted back in 1993 was right, as were the efforts of senior Cabinet members. It would be more to the Conservative party's credit if it were to accept that logic now.
Of course tobacco advertising increases overall consumption. What other industry has as urgent a need to recruit new customers as one that kills 120,000 of its existing customers each year—about 330 every day—through the use of its product? An advertising ban means that manufacturers cannot compete for customers on the basis of promotion. The argument goes that that will leave them only one option—to compete more vigorously on price. Needless to say, price is one of the most significant factors in consumption levels. The Bill's success depends largely on the elasticity of demand in the medium to long term, and the willingness of the manufacturers to trim their prices.
Will manufacturers respond to the ban by lowering prices, as they have done in some other countries? If the same happens here, it is to be hoped that the Government of the day in Britain, of whatever colour, will not hesitate to step in with higher levels of tax and duty and redouble their efforts on smuggling.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
I do not want the hon. Gentleman to lose his place, but I am sure that he will find it again easily. If the proportion of teenagers who occasionally, if not regularly, use illegal drugs—when their prices are higher and there is no advertising—is roughly the same as those taking up cigarettes as their main tobacco product, are the lessons to be learned to do with fashion rather than with advertising and possibly even price? Price and advertising must play some part, but the greatest effect on teenagers must surely be peer pressure.
§ Mr. Harvey
The hon. Gentleman makes a good point when he says that fashion has a great deal to do with this subject. Surely it is almost the raison d'être of a great part of the advertising industry to cultivate an idea of fashion. Although teenagers adopt fads and trends to do with all sorts of things that are not commercially advertised, I do not believe that the advertising of products plays no part in determining fashions. It seems self-evident that advertising plays a huge role in doing just that.
The Government ought to be pursuing an agreement for a global ban. I was interested in the point made by the former Secretary of State for Health, the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, that so many 677 cigarettes are exported to developing countries. A few years ago, when I was travelling on the upper deck of a double-decker bus in Jakarta, I struggled to determine whether the pollution was greater outside or inside the bus. As I looked around at my fellow passengers, I noticed that I was the only person on the entire upper deck of the bus not smoking a cigarette. The fact is that, as the going has got tougher in the developed world markets, the tobacco industry is devoting more of its efforts to selling into developing countries.
There is definitely a need for international effort. Pictures of sporting events taking place in countries with no tobacco advertising ban in place will continue to be transmitted to this country. Of 17 venues for Formula 1 racing, only two countries—the United Kingdom, with its current voluntary agreement, and France—prohibit tobacco advertising. So 15 of the 17 venues will continue to carry sponsorship. A global agreement on sporting sponsorship, reached at the World Health Organisation, would have the acceptance of the FIA—the Fédération Internationale de 1'Automobile—which will, in any case, phase out tobacco sponsorship of Formula 1 and world rally championships by the end of 2006. That might be achieved sooner if we engaged in negotiations with the FIA; otherwise, it will be at least six years before exposure to such motor-racing sponsorship is ended.
Without concerted efforts to create an international agreement, it will take much longer to end other types of sporting sponsorship. At the world health assembly, 191 countries agreed to commence negotiations on the framework convention on tobacco control. That offers encouragement for an international effort.
I am concerned about how the Secretary of State and Ministers with responsibility for Scottish matters will interpret advertising at the point of sale. Shops and kiosks are allowed to display products, which they typically do around the till. Will guidelines cover the precise size and location of displays? The lesson from New Zealand and elsewhere is that manufacturers exploit lax regulations. Price lists are blown up to a huge size and are displayed beside counters. Perspex counters are packed with cigarette packets. Shops and kiosks use lighting to display and highlight brand colours.
We need to be clear about what the regulations will mean for direct mailing; manufacturers will test the rules unless they are made explicit. Will a tobacco company be able to mail people whose names are on lists bought from other companies? In many cases, forms and surveys warn that information will be passed on to interested parties unless a box is ticked. If the box is not ticked, will that be allowed to be seen as an expression of interest in a particular brand? If the brand is mentioned in the box caveat—meaning, "We will pass this information on to a particular tobacco company if you do not tick this box"—how will that work under the regulations? The detail is most important.
Under the proposals, manufacturing companies will be able to sponsor events as long as they do not use the name of their brand. However, if cigarette companies can increase consumers' awareness of their products, will not that enable manufacturers to promote their brands more effectively? If, for example, the name of the company is the same as that of its brand, will it still be able to sponsor an event? As we have already heard, certain tobacco 678 companies use their brand name for completely different products. It will be important to consider those developments.
My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Allan) mentioned websites. They should be subject to close regulation, although there is good will. We should ensure that such regulation is effective.
I hope that the Government's estimate that the advertising ban could reduce tobacco consumption by 2 or 3 per cent. will prove to be correct—indeed, I hope that consumption will fall further than that. Such a worthwhile advance would fully justify the legislation. If the UK tobacco trade experienced a fall in turnover of £300 million a yeas—a drop in its profits of about £20 million a year—that would be welcome, especially if there was a concomitant saving for the national health service of between £20 million and £40 million a year.
No one knows exactly what the effects of a ban would be. When the Conservative spokesman, the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox), was challenged by one of his colleagues, he said that, in future, the Conservative view would be evidence-based and that the test would be whether a ban had brought about a dramatic fall in tobacco consumption
§ Mr. Chope
Has the hon. Gentleman seen the letter to Private Eye from Mr. Michael Stewart, who, having analysed tobacco consumption in the 22 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1964 to 1990 in order to estimate the effect of advertising bans in six of those countries, concluded that the consumption of tobacco had increased by 4 per cent as a result?
§ Mr. Harvey
I do not understand how consumption could have increased "as a result." I would take issue with the use of the phrase There has certainly been an increase around the world, and such things have followed different trends and patterns at various times. I acknowledge that none of us knows exactly what the impact will be but, unlike the Conservative spokesman, I do not believe that the test should be a dramatic decrease in smoking; even a modest decrease would mean that the Bill had been a price well worth paying.
If only a few lives were saved or a few families were spared the misery of seeing one of their loved ones die a horrible, lingering death, it would be worth while. If people avoided hiving to undergo expensive and particularly nasty treatments and if that resulted in only a small saving to the national health service, it would be worth while. The suggestion is that the poor tobacco companies will have their freedom of expression curtailed, but that is a small price to pay, even if only a few lives can be saved and just a little misery avoided.
§ 5.6 pm
§ Mr. Sam Galbraith (Strathkelvin and Bearsden)
It is good to speak in the House once again and to see my old friends and comrades who have campaigned on this issue and proposed similar legislation over the years. It is also good to see their labours coming to fruition.
I hope that you will not be upset, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I digress slightly. This important Bill deals with a totally devolved matter—the advertising of tobacco products—yet it is being fully handled by this Parliament, 679 and rightly and properly, too. It is being handled under the convention proposed in the other place by Lord Sewel. He gave an undertaking that legislation on devolved matters would be dealt with by this Parliament only after the approval of the devolved Assemblies. That is a splendid, courteous and decent way to deal with such matters, and everyone in this Parliament is to be congratulated on doing so now, as we will benefit from the fact that we will not have our time taken up with such complex legislation. When people complained about the devolved Assemblies, they used to ask whether we would have two Bills a year. It is clear to me now that Scottish legislation was piggy-backed on to an immense number of Bills, so it is good that the Sewel mechanism is still available to us and that we are given powers under it.
§ Mr. Peter Atkinson (Hexham)
Surely all Scottish law has to comply with the European convention on human rights. One of the reasons why the Scottish Parliament decided not to introduce its own ban—with which many people would agree—was that such an Act was considered to be non-compliant with the convention and, therefore, had to be introduced via Westminster.
§ Mr. Galbraith
No, that had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was all to do with the fact that advertising does not respect boundaries; it does not suddenly stop when one crosses a boundary. As with many matters, it was agreed that it was important to have exactly the same regime on both sides of the border, with minor variations. That is correct and appropriate for many matters. Something similar is happening in another place tonight on stem cell research—a non-devolved matter, provisions on which must apply to both areas. Even when such matters are devolved, it may be necessary that we act together, and I am grateful to everyone for doing so now.
I am particularly pleased to speak tonight because, as a Scottish Office Minister, I led the United Kingdom delegation in the European Union when the directive that we thought would solve the problem was passed. The matter was easily and speedily dealt with when the blocking efforts of the Conservative party and its cronies were ended. The directive went through on the nod, and we thought that our dreams had been realised and everything had been sewn up. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case. I am grateful to the Government for bringing the matter before us once again.
In my speeches, especially those on such matters, I usually like to go into detail and cite the scientific evidence and facts. However, my guns have been spiked by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who dealt at some length with the detailed facts.
When we are at a loss for something to say, we sometimes fall back on moral outrage and rhetoric about how bad, antisocial and deplorable smoking is and how we must stop it. I feel some emotion in that respect because, as one who has had a lung transplant and has grossly impaired lung function, it pains me greatly to see those who should have normal lung function damaging it. However, what really annoys me is the tobacco companies trying to convince people that they should damage their lungs, impair their lung function and reduce their quality of life. That is as close as I come to any expression of moral outrage about the subject.
We have heard the figures concerning the problems and costs of smoking and the number of people in this country who die each year from smoking—100,000, and 10,000 680 of those live in Scotland—so there is no need for me to repeat them. However, in the context of public health, when we are considering how to prevent an individual from doing something and thereby increase his life expectancy, we have to remember that the issues are multi-faceted and that we have to use many different tools.
Many of the things we do that harm our health and that we want to stop are related to our position in society—in other words, social class predetermines people's actions. That is often related to wealth and various other factors. We should constantly remind ourselves that, when dealing with prevention and promotion, the most important thing we can do is to improve an individual's status, well-being and economic position in life.
When people ask me how much we have spent on public health promotion, I am always sure to include the £5 billion that has been spent on the new deal. Giving someone a job, providing structure, and giving them a stake and a future in society are all about health promotion, because they give that individual an interest in society and in living and fighting for the future, and a reason not to indulge in harmful and health-damaging practices such as smoking and other forms of abuse.
It is necessary but not sufficient to address that important aspect of the problem: even if we do all that, we still have a job to do in many other respects. We know that many people want to give up smoking and that many try; the number of those who want to continue to smoke is limited. As the Conservative spokesman said, giving up must be part of a comprehensive anti-smoking strategy. We have such a strategy in place, but people still continue to smoke or take up the habit.
The next line of attack comes under the broad heading of education and knowledge—setting out the facts. My right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) talked about that, but the Opposition decried such efforts, saying that no good is done by talking about mortality or morbidity, and that until the Government get their policy right, we will make no inroads into the problem. That underestimates the value of making clear to people the outcomes of smoking, especially when that is done in connection with raising people's status in society and making them realise that they have a future. Such efforts are important, although their impact is to some extent limited—we all know those who work with people who are dying, whose legs are falling off, who are suffering heart attacks or cancer, but who continue to smoke themselves.
The hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) says that it is important to get the right message to the right group of people, so that we do not talk to them about things that are not part of their experience. The hon. Gentleman comes from Scotland, so I shall be parochial for a moment and suggest that he watches the recent anti-smoking advertising campaign used by the Health Education Board for Scotland: it is a pop video showing young women smoking and men running away from them. HEBS has an excellent track record in getting its advertising absolutely right, and I commend to every hon. Member the HEBS anti-smoking campaign for young women.
§ Mrs. Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. May I, in return, invite him to look at some extremely effective advertising from the 681 United States, which was not allowed in this country, and which shows the impact of smoking on young men? Smoking can lead to impotence, which is, of course, a turn-off to a female audience. I am sure that we can trade many more examples.
§ Mr. Galbraith
Well, I know what my hon. Friend's problem is. A previous hon. Member, Mr. Jerry Hayes, has commented on these matters in the past, so there is no need for me to add to that. Nevertheless, I thank the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) for the advice, which I shall pass on to all my friends.
§ Mr. Alasdair Morgan (Galloway and Upper Nithsdale)
I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the HEBS campaign, which is indeed excellent, but is not one of the problems—the hon. Gentleman may be coming on to this—the fact that for every million pounds that HEBS spends, it is out-spent tenfold by the tobacco companies trying to get the opposite message across?
§ Mr. Galbraith
I agree. That has been a perennial problem. We will not be able to match the value of the tobacco companies' advertising campaigns, although we can match them in other ways.
I mention the HEBS campaign to contradict what the hon. Member for Woodspring said about the failure to get the message right. HEBS always gets it right—for example, in its "Think about it" campaign. Telling people not to do something, on its own, is not necessarily valuable. I once went round groups of younger people in various parts of Scotland, asking them about drugs and smoking. I asked them what would make them start taking drugs, and they replied, "You telling me not to." That provided some useful discipline.
The next issue is the price escalator. All parties agree that it has an effect. The hon. Member for Woodspring suggested that when the price of cigarettes fell in real terms, an increase in smoking followed. Whether he is right or wrong, price is clearly an important factor.
The contentious point is the value of advertising. The hon. Gentleman made a silly point when he asked whether smoking increases or decreases as a result of advertising. He was never known as an academic giant at university, and the reasons for that are obvious from that comment.
The question is not whether smoking increases or declines, as there are variations and trends. The question is whether the situation would be different without advertising—whether any increase would be smaller or whether any fall would be greater without advertising. That is the evidence that should be sought. The relationship is not straightforward.
Without conducting difficult control trials, the matter is difficult to prove. We should not look for one final silver bullet that would resolve the issue, as suggested by the hon. Member for—is it Wood Green? [HON. MEMBERS: "Woodspring."] I knew that it was something like that: thick, wood.
682 We should begin by collecting other information, all of which affects the evidence. Rarely in science does one piece of information provide the final proof. Different methodologies, techniques, populations and interventions are used, and when they all begin to point towards a conclusive proof, that is taken as evidence. We all know that nothing can ever be proven absolutely by science, other than analytical factors. Everything is an attempt at falsification, but the more evidence that is collected and the more it points to one factor, the more useful the exercise.
§ Mr. Eric Martlew (Carlisle)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. We all know that smoking is addictive. I believe that we are going too far in trying to stop people smoking. I understand that Mr. Branson has announced a ban on smoking on Virgin trains, which will affect my constituents and those of my hon. Friend. Does my hon. Friend think it is fair for companies to be able to stop people smoking for six or seven hours, which is the length of the journey at present? [Hon. Members: You're joking.] All right, I am being generous to Virgin.
I agree completely that there should be a ban on advertising and a ban on smoking on public transport. However, as for long-distance travel, we must accept that people are addicted and should make facilities available for them, so long as that does not affect any other passenger.
§ Mr. Galbraith
I am sorry, but I cannot agree with my hon. Friend. However, I do not want to give my "I'm an anti-smoking fascist" speech tonight, although I believe in all of it. Over the years, I have found it offensive to be in carriages with people who are smoking. If a miner can go down a mine for eight to 10 hours and not smoke, surely someone can be stuck on a train or plane and not smoke.
§ Mr. Maxton
Is my hon. Friend aware that British Airways and, increasingly, other airlines have no-smoking policies? Although the previous Speaker, Lady Boothroyd, was furious with British Airways when she flew to Australia on a 12-hour flight and was not allowed to light a cigarette for the whole journey, most people can do it without any bother at all.
§ Mr. Galbraith
Splendid lady, Lady Boothroyd. I liked her very much and I am sorry if she was discomfited, but such measures are important and necessary.
I believe that we should set an example in the House by stopping smoking in the Tea Room and similar areas—[Interruption.] I knew that that would get some support. I am not in for a cheap laugh but, now and again, it happens: there we are.
§ Mr. Barron
Earlier, my hon. Friend mentioned miners—I have had personal experience regarding miners—working underground for long hours without access to their cigarettes. People took snuff and chewed tobacco at that time as a way of getting nicotine into the system. Nowadays, however, we have much cleaner delivery systems, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, for people who are bothered by their addiction on long-haul flights and even long train journeys.
§ Mr. Galbraith
I look forward to the day when I am on a plane, and officials and stewardesses come round and ask if I want a whisky or a nicotine patch.
683 To conclude, I said that most of the evidence in favour of a ban had already been given to the House by the Secretary of State. The hon. Member for Woodspring made claims against that evidence and said that smoking had increased in recent years, so there was a great calumny by the Labour party. I have just been looking at the figures from the statistical bulletin for July 2000 which start in 1978 and, I accept, only go up to 1998. When one looks at the figures, one sees a variation over the years—they go up and down a bit. If anything, the overall figures dropped in absolute terms by 1 per cent. from 1996 to 1998. That is based on a data collection base of 12,295 and sampling within that, so we may wonder just how significant or otherwise that drop is.
When one looks at the age cohorts within those statistics, one sees that the reduction continues year after year for the over-35s, all the way from 1978 onwards. However, presumably because a lot of smokers die, the extent of that reduction decreases. When one looks at groups in which people take up smoking—the 16 to 19-year-olds and 20 to 24-year-olds—one sees a significant increase, all the way from 1992 onwards. That increase has not occurred only since the Labour Government came to power, so the great calumny does not hold, and the situation cannot explained only by the fact that cigarettes are cheaper. Every year since 1992, there has been an increase, and the largest and most significant increases, we all agree, are in the female population.
New people are taking up cigarettes. It is no good blaming that on the fact that cigarettes are cheaper. From the available evidence, there is no question but that advertising has an effect, and the group on which it has that effect consists of young men and—because of the nature of the advertising—especially young women. Although nothing can be proved absolutely, we would be failing in our duty if we did not recognise the effect that advertising has on the consumption of cigarettes, and especially their uptake. As everyone has said, advertising is designed to encourage uptake. It is not about changing brands, but about encouraging an increased uptake at a rate sufficient to offset those who give up or die. The House would be failing in its duty if it did not take some measures to try to alleviate that problem, along with the others. That is why I hope that all hon. Members will support the Government in the Lobby tonight.
§ Sir Peter Emery (East Devon)
I have always believed that when one has any sort of interest in the subject that is being debated, one should declare it I have no financial interest whatever in tobacco, but I have been chairman of the National Asthma Campaign for 12 years and am also chairman of the House of Commons all-party asthma group. As I said, I take no money from tobacco, but giving to related charities has cost me a lot of money, so it is the other way around.
I am in favour of the Bill. It contains weaknesses, but any steps that can be taken to limit the number of young people who are likely to take up smoking deserve the support of all parties. I am sorry that it does not have such support.
Like the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith), I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), who pursued 684 during his years as Secretary of State for Health a policy that tried to deal with the problems of smoking. I am sorry for the right hon. Gentleman, who was most honourable in giving way to pressure to stand for a certain post. I do not think that he wanted that post, and when he did not get it, he was dumped most unceremoniously and in an ungentlemanly manner by his party leader. I think that more hon. Members should make such comments in his support.
I should like to deal with some of the medical evidence that does not come directly from the doctors. The Select Committee on Health posed a number of intriguing questions to cigarette manufacturing companies when it prepared its excellent second report, entitled "The Tobacco Industry and the Health Risks of Smoking." It asked:Do you agree that smoking causes lung cancer beyond all reasonable doubt?British American Tobacco—or BAT—said that it did. That was the answer not of the medical profession, but of a tobacco manufacturer. Philip Morris, another tobacco company, stated:There is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart diseases, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers…smokers are far more likely to develop serious diseases, like lung cancer, than non-smokers.Those are not medical organisations, but cigarette manufacturers themselves. When such evidence is given by the manufacturers, surely we should begin to accept it without any further argument.
The Health Committee went on to state in its report:Bearing in mind that asthma causes 1.400 deaths per year, we do not regard asthma attacks as merely unpleasant and believe that policy goals related to ETS—or environmental tobacco smoke—must take account of the real health risks it possesses.We must realise that asthma is an aspect not only of ordinary cigarette smoking, but of the effects of passive smoking on people in trains, aircraft and all social situations.
It is intriguing to note the National Asthma Campaign's estimate that some 3.4 million people in the United Kingdom have asthma. It estimates that one in 25 adults and one in seven children have the condition, at an annual cost to the UK of £2 billion, including costs to the national health service alone of £670 million-odd a year.
Smoking can cause asthma. Babies whose mothers continue to smoke during pregnancy have an almost 50 per cent. risk of being born wheezy or with breathing problems. Cigarette smoking is a common trigger of asthma, and causes difficulties for up to 80 per cent. of people who suffer from it. When I, as an asthmatic, walk through one end of the Upper Committee Corridor, where smoking is allowed, my asthma is affected. That happens when I simply walk past a place where one or two members of staff are, quite legally, smoking. It is an example of the way in which passive smoking can affect people.
People have a right to expect clean, smoke-free air at home, at work, on public transport and in public places. I am sorry that the Bill does not do more to give effect to that. It presented an opportunity to take further action on passive smoking; that opportunity has not been taken. I am critical of the Bill because of that.
685 It is ungallant of several hon. Members to try to discredit the attempts of previous Conservative Governments, starting from nothing, to limit advertising generally and on cigarette packets. Those were positive measures and credit should be given to the Conservative Government for introducing them.
§ Mr. Bercow
Before my right hon. Friend focuses on the achievements of the previous Government, does he advocate a ban on people smoking in public parks or when walking along the streets?
§ Sir Peter Emery
I do not like to see people smoking when walking along the streets, because it is rather bad manners. However, I do not advocate a ban. One cannot attempt to limit smoking in the open air, and I do not believe that anyone who supports the Bill suggests such a limitation.
The latter part of the reasoned amendment is acceptable. It mentions the Bill's inability to do anything about sporting aspects or the importing of illegal products. Those matters must be tackled, and it is right of the Opposition to criticise the Government when they do not do that. However, I do not agree with the amendment's suggestion that there is "insufficient evidence" that the Billwould lead to a quantifiable reduction in tobacco consumption.I believe that it would. I suppose that it depends on our definition of quantifiable. I do not want to get into that debate, however.
My approach is that, if the Bill leads to any reduction in smoking by young people, it is worth while. That applies especially to young women. The dangers that they face if they continue smoking when they become pregnant have been medically proved time and again. I should therefore like much more of the space on the cigarette packet to have to contain a medical warning. I suggested that it should take up 50 per cent. of the space. I believe that that happens in Australia. We cannot give that warning too frequently.
Let me consider the problem of my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton—
§ Sir Peter Emery
I am sorry, I meant my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope). Christchurch is very near Southampton.
§ Sir Peter Emery
I was about to say that I fully understood my hon. Friend's position. I understand his feeling that he should defend people who may see their jobs put at risk. It is right that a Member of Parliament should highlight that problem, because it is another problem with which the Government will have to cope.
686 I should point out, however, that a further problem—a considerable problem—is posed by exports overseas, which, according to my hon. Friend, account for most production in his constituency. I am not certain that we ought to export illness just to save jobs at home. That is a difficult thing to say, but it needs to be said.
§ Mr. Peter Atkinson
One Member who did not stand up for his constituents is the Secretary of State for Health. Just outside his constituency is a tobacco factory employing 600 people, most of whom live in the constituency, which makes cigarettes purely for export. The Secretary of State said that he wanted the factory to close.
§ Sir Peter Emery
I will not go into that, but my hon. Friend has made his point, and will doubtless expand on it in his own speech.
§ Mr. Morgan
Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that, according to the logic of the Conservative amendment, the Bill will be ineffective and therefore no jobs will be put at risk?
§ Sir Peter Emery
I do not think that that is so, and I think the hon. Gentleman is perverse in attempting to lead me down what my father used to call a "salle de cul"—his description of a cul-de-sac.
Advertising must in some way have an effect on the creation of new smokers. The aim is to lead those who do not currently smoke to start smoking, to make up for the hundreds of thousands who, over the years, die as a result of smoking or else give up. The only way in which the industry can keep going is by attracting new smokers. Where must the industry turn? It must turn to younger people, especially women. It is a little like the Roman Catholic Church, which says that if you catch them young, you are likely to have them for ever.
I do not believe that the Bill will entirely cure the problems, but it is worth supporting if it does something to limit the amount of cigarette smoking by the young. I hope very much that my colleagues on the Front Bench will not oppose it tonight.
§ Mr. David Hinchliffe (Wakefield)
I am grateful for the opportunity to speak. The speeches that we have heard so far—with the exception of the Tory Front-Bench spokesman's—have been excellent. That of my hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) was certainly excellent, and it is a particular pleasure to see him here today. I commend the efforts made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), who had so much to do with the tobacco White Paper. I also thought that the Liberal Democrat contribution made a great deal of sense.
My hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden said that it was interesting to see colleagues and comrades who had been involved with the issue for so long. That applies to none more than my hon. Friend the 687 Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron). It may be "ungallant"—as the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) might say—of me to mention this, but I remember listening for hour upon hour, as a member of the Front-Bench health team, to attempts to wreck Bills that my hon. Friend was trying to introduce. I see a remarkable contrast between my experience of the last Government and what the current Government are doing, and I hope the Bill soon becomes law.
The previous Government's line on the issue is partly echoed in today's reasoned amendment. In the many hours of debate on Bills supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley and by other Labour Members, Conservative Members argued that such legislation would restrict personal freedom and personal choice. I note that today's reasoned amendment states that the Bill would be arestriction of freedom of expression.That argument is nonsense, and we need to puncture it by examining the evidence on the impact of advertising on the decision, particularly by young people, to smoke.
The reasoned amendment is squalid, and I am sad that the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) supports it. I had thought that he had fundamentally changed the Conservative party's position on the issue. It saddens me that they are back to their previous position—hand in glove with the tobacco industry.
The Health Committee, which I have chaired in this Parliament, recognised very early the fundamental importance of the connection between smoking and ill health. Indeed, right at the start of this Parliament, tobacco and the health risks of smoking were the first issues that we identified as requiring an inquiry. We were prevented from conducting a major inquiry into the issue by the legal action being taken against British tobacco companies by former smokers in relation to the health effects that they had suffered. While the matter was sub judice, we were long prevented from examining it. Nevertheless, in our first report at the start of this Parliament, the Committee expressed our concerns about Formula 1's exemption from the sponsorship arrangements.
The right hon. Member for East Devon quoted the Health Committee's 1999 report on the tobacco industry and the health risks of smoking. I was disturbed about many of the issues that we examined in that long inquiry. Although I do not profess to have the detailed knowledge that my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley and some other hon. Members have about the tobacco companies' activities, the Committee spent many months investigating the tobacco companies' knowledge of the health implications of smoking. The fact is that, even before I was born, the tobacco companies were aware of a clear connection between smoking and cancer.
I was amazed to discover that the first statement in the House on the connection between ill health and smoking was made way back in 1952 or 1953. Hon. Members were thus made aware many years ago of the connection between smoking and ill health. I am concerned that, for very many years, the tobacco companies have turned a blind eye and suppressed the evidence that they had on the connection.
In our inquiry, the Committee attempted to assess the motivation of young people who start smoking. We were particularly concerned about evidence which has already been mentioned today on the increasing number of young 688 people who smoke. Using the Select Committee's powers, we required four of the main advertising agencies serving some of the principal tobacco companies operating in the United Kingdom to submit their papers detailing their communications with the companies to which they were contracted. We asked for specific documents, especially those on market research and the creative briefs recording the policy agreed between client and agency.
Several thousand pages of paperwork comprising hundreds of documents were submitted to the Committee. Of the huge amounts of evidence that the Committee assessed, perhaps those documents best laid bare what can only be described as the truly cynical behaviour of the tobacco companies and the advertising and promotional firms that served them. Not even in the litigation in the United States, in the class action suit against American tobacco companies, had such material seen the light of day.
As the Secretary of State said in opening the debate, so far, advertising arrangements have been governed by a voluntary code agreed between the Department of Health, cigarette manufacturers and importers and the Advertising Standards Authority. Among other things, the code requires companies to ensure thatSmoking should not be associated with social, sexual, romantic or business success…advertisements should not link smoking with people who are evidently wealthy, fashionable.Advertisements should…avoid employing any approach which is more likely to attract the attention or sympathy of those under the age of 18…no advertisement should exaggerate the pleasure of smoking or claim that it is daring or glamorous to smoke.The advertising papers that we obtained completely discredited the case for voluntary agreements. We found no explicit evidence that the tobacco companies knowingly and specifically targeted children, but abundant evidence that they went to great pains to portray smoking as cool or glamorous in ways certain to entice youngsters.
The aim of a 1998 CDP/Gallaher promotion was toboost Benson and Hedges image with style-conscious 18–24s.A creative brief for Rothmans suggested:we want to engage people's aspirations and fantasiesso that they will think,I'd like to be there, do that, own that.We concluded that it was hard to see how material intended to engage the fantasies of 18-year-olds would leave 14 or 15-year olds unmoved. Independent research confirms that the preference among children—the vast majority of smokers begin smoking as children—was for premium and heavily advertised brands.
I strongly welcome the Bill, which is long overdue. I hope that it will have an important impact on the health of the nation. Nevertheless, I want to express one or two concerns. I have spoken previously about my concerns about clause 18, and the issue of Formula 1 in particular. The first report of the Health Committee in this Session related to that subject. Evidence to the Committee showed that market research concluded that Formula 1 sponsorship made the Benson and Hedges brand "very powerful" as a consequence of its associations withyoung, fast, racy, adult, exciting, aspirational but attainable environments.Formula 1 was praised for the image of beingfast, furious, dangerous; living life to the full.689 Sadly, we all know that many smokers do not live life to the full, because smoking creates ill-health and shortens lives. Like many of us, I have seen at first hand friends suffering a long-drawn-out death directly related to their consumption of cigarettes.
I cannot accept the Government's argument about the exemption of Formula 1. The arguments used in respect of Formula 1 could have been made by other sports. I have a particular interest in rugby league; the same arguments could have been made to exempt certain sponsorships in that sport. I am glad to see that rugby league is getting rid of its connection with products such as Silk Cut. I hope that the Government will look at the issue again.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras asked what the companies were planning next. My concern is whether the Bill anticipates the future tactics of tobacco companies. Whatever measures the Government take, we can be sure that the tobacco companies and the agencies that they employ will devote enormous resources and ingenuity to their circumvention.
The Committee uncovered plans to advertise heavily in English language newspapers bought by UK nationals in Spain, as well as other projects, including advertising using billboards outside foreign embassies in the UK, since these were not UK territory; starting pirate radio stations; offering golden cigarettes in packs to create millionaires across the country; organising demonstrations in Hyde Park; and even using Silk Cut to sponsor Elastoplast. We need to anticipate those possibilities. They are matters that will, no doubt, be considered in Committee.
Another issue is the failure of the Bill to introduce a tobacco regulatory authority, about which I understand the Government's concerns. Clive Bates of Action on Smoking and Health recently made a valid point in his argument for such an authority. He said:We've got the Food Standards Agency for food, the Medicines Control Agency for medicines. For tobacco we've got one man and a dog—and the dog's dead.That sums up the situation.
§ Mr. Hinchliffe
It has been argued by a number of people, such as my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley over a long period of time, that we need a tobacco regulatory authority to examine product safety. There are many arguments about whether the product is safe, whether it can be made safer, and whether there is any such thing as a safe cigarette. Many of us have grave doubts about that. A regulatory authority could also consider addiction, the arguments about whether low tar is less harmful, and, particularly, marketing strategies. It is nonsensical that nicotine replacement products are currently regulated but cigarettes are not. That seems absolutely absurd.
I understand that the Government have not introduced proposals for a regulatory authority because of a lack of parliamentary time, and because of the need for a Europe-wide regulatory body. I appreciate that, but I hope that, even at this stage, they will give further consideration to the strong arguments that have been made for the introduction of such a body.
690 Despite the qualifications that I have raised, this is a positive Bill. I warmly welcome it, and I hope that it will make a fundamental difference to the health of the nation.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West)
First, may I say that I have, in the past, agreed to be an arbitrator in tobacco suits outside this country? I was not chosen to do so, so I earned no money in that way, but I wanted to declare that interest.
The critical issues are how to reduce the number of people taking up smoking, and how to shorten the time that people are smokers. The Government have not adopted Clive Smee's estimate of a 7 per cent. impact of a ban on tobacco promotion and advertising. In their assessment, they have suggested 2.5 per cent., which I would guess involves a range from nought to 5 per cent. If that is the case, at most, 95 per cent. of the influence on people's smoking is presumed not to involve deliberate advertising or promotion.
As I suggested when I intervened on the hon. Member for North Devon (Mr. Harvey), people are more likely to smoke if those around them smoke. Very few people suddenly say, "I would like to go out and buy some cigarettes, and try them by myself." They are nearly always offered a cigarette by someone else, or they start to think that if people slightly older than them smoke, they ought to try it. That gets them into the experimental phase, and from there they enter the confirmed smoker phase, after which the question is one of how soon they give up.
I suspect that more than half the people who take up smoking as a serious habit give up for the last time while still alive. I am not concerned with people such as Kipling, who found it very easy to give up because he gave up a thousand times. I estimate that many people share my experience, which was to smoke for about 20 years and then stop. I was one of the very few who took it up after the age of about 21, and I took it up because I had a friend who smoked.
If we are seriously interested in knowing what is happening, we should not quote figures in this debate that are two years out of date. When I had responsibility for helping to reduce the incidence of drink-driving casualties, a woman from Coca-Cola, Penny Hughes, came to see me. She showed me a succession of cohort studies that illustrated, in relation to carbonated drinks, what every six-month or one-year age group was doing in every six-month period and beyond.
Why can the House obtain every month the figures for the increase in retail prices to one part in 1,000, if we accept the statistics—or one part in 100, if we listen to the publicity—within a month of those figures becoming available? Why can we all say what the bank rate is? Whenever the rate changes, or even when it does not change, month by month, it is headline news. Why do we know to one part in 1,000 what the unemployment benefit claimant count is every month? We know those figures because they are calculated every month, and because people believe that it is important to know them.
Why, therefore, are we working with figures on the incidence of adult smoking—and for people aged about 15 or 16—that are two years out of date? Why, in the White Paper published in December 1998, are we limited to graphs showing the incidence of smoking in people 691 aged between 11 and 15 with a peak of about 14 per cent., and figures for those aged 16 and over, which show a rate two or three times higher? We should be demanding up-to-date figures and asking Ministers why they do not publish them, if they are available. I bet that the tobacco companies have them. Why do not those who are concerned with reducing the harm caused by smoking publish those figures once a month, once a quarter, or at least once every six months? We could then debate what is changing and what is not, how the circumstances differ from one region of the country to another, and the class figures. Perhaps I should refer to those as the analysis of socio-economic groups, to put it in more politically correct language.
We must also ask why the White Paper on smoking contains nine pictures of people smoking. Page 7 has a picture of a young woman smoking on page 11, a man lights up; on page 19, girls are seen sharing a packet of fags; page 31 shows someone smoking; page 33 shows an older person smoking; a young mother is shown smoking on page 43; on page 68. there is a picture of a young man—I assume—smoking; page 72 has a man smoking; and a girl is shown smoking on page 81. If those who produce a Government document devoted to reducing smoking cannot show a single stub on the ground or a single ashtray—in other words, the things that are likely to make people think—one must wonder whether there might be some kind of spin, rhetoric or presentation involved.
I do not want to make this a party-political argument, because the issue is far too serious and is one in which not enough attention is paid to what I call the other 95 per cent. I shall not, therefore, develop many of the arguments about the ban and the promotion issue, except to say that there is no evidence anywhere in the world that a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion makes a very significant difference, although it might make a significant difference. To those who say, "If it saves only a few lives, it is worth while," I respond that the reason why we have just about the best—perhaps I should say the least worse—road casualty rate in the world is that people such as my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) and I, anl Labour Members when they were previously Ministers, did not implement worthwhile provisions because they might save one life; we did so because they were likely to have a significant influence on what many people were doing, most of the time.
I shall give examples in which there could be a read-across, and from which we can learn a lesson in relation to this smoking business. When it became perfectly plain that parents should belt their children up in the backs of cars, using child restraints or seat belts, it was not until Esther Rantzen and the "That's Life" programme gave nine minutes to a doctor in, I think, January 1986, followed up by a bit of help from the Department and some video evidence—none of which cost much—that the rate of purchases of such restraints for children trebled from 300,000 a year to 1 million a year. The following year, when legislation on the matter went through Parliament, a single Member of Parliament or of the House of Lords could have blocked it, but no one did. That illustrated a change in the popular mood and in the culture.
692 If our first action had been to introduce a law stating that one could not take a child unrestrained in a car if a restraint was available—or that one could not take an unrestrained child in a car at all—there would have been arguments about restraints for 10 years, rather than arguments about protecting children and about what would work best.
Another example—one that I have used before in the House—is that of young men and drinking and driving. In 1987, the number of occasions on which young men drove a car having consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol was roughly 2 million a week. About two years later, that figure had evaporated to 600,000. A habit that was socially acceptable but illegal and body-breaking was reduced by two thirds with no changes in the law, in sentencing and in enforcement.
That change was made because people began to behave more acceptably, and what was acceptable also began to change. With the help of the Central Office of Information and some inspired people in the advertising and promotions world, we in the Department of Transport began to monitor the answers to the question, "Do you think that you have to drink at a party to enjoy yourself, even if you are driving home?" In 1987, the answer was usually yes; in 1989, it was usually no. There was criticism in the newspapers and from the British Medical Association and various others that we were taking the wrong approach, but, by using that question and knowing the incidences, we knew that what we were doing was working. We also monitored the answer to the question, "Will people think that you are a wimp if you say no to a drink because you are driving?" The answer switched from predominantly yes to no.
I want to make two or three recommendations on smoking, but not because they relate to the Conservative amendment or the Bill. We should stop saying to young people of 13, 15 or 17 who smoke, "You are too young." We must say, "You are taking up smoking at the age at which young people are expected to take up smoking. You are doing an expected childish thing." Although these figures are probably out of date, we should add to that, "Do you know that marketing managers are paid £170,000 a year to find their share of the 5,000 replacement smokers needed each week?" Earlier, I asked about the real cessation figures. Again, I may have used the wrong figures or ones that are out of date, but I believe that about 5,000 people a week were stopping smoking and would never do so again—2,000 because they had died and many, but not all, prematurely. Some people, such as Deng Xiaoping in China, died in their eighties, but perhaps he would have made it to his nineties if he had not smoked. About 3,000 people gave up for the last time while still alive. Tobacconists were selling roughly the same number of cigarettes a week, although there may have been a secular decline, which meant that 5,000 people a week were starting to smoke. The marketing people had the responsibility to get at least their share of that number.
If 15 or 16-year-olds want to keep a marketing manager in £170,000 a year, a £25,000 motor car and unchallenged expenses of £250 a week to take people to lunch, all they have to do is fall in line when their turn comes and become a smoker. I do not know the experience of other hon. Members, but when my children learned to speak, their first sentence was, "It's not fair." They had a sense of injustice and of being exploited. One should say to 693 young people not, "Don't smoke, it's no good for your health," but, "Do you know that people out there expect you to fall in line and become a smoker? By the way, if you don't, that £170,000 will drop to £120,000 because the £50,000 a year bonus will go. The next car will cost £15,000, not £25,000, and the £250 a week for expenses will go to someone else." Young people would see the fun in not doing what is expected of them.
We must change our attitude to seeing people smoke. Instead of looking a person in the eye in a challenging way and saying, "What a blithering idiot you are, wasting as much money on fags each day as most people spend on the national lottery in a week," one ought to turn about and appear to wipe away a tear. In the same way that people might be sympathetic if I were wearing a red ribbon because someone close to me might be affected by HIV or AIDS, the signal of wiping away a tear would say, "I'm deeply sympathetic, but I'm sorry—I can't do anything about it." Most people can take criticism; what they cannot take is sympathy. Extending sympathy to those who smoke is a smart idea.
I want the Government regularly to publish up-to-date figures on their three targets: the young, expectant mothers and the overall adult population. About 700,000 babies are born each year, which is not a large number, and there are about 1.4 million new parents—it takes two to tango. It is worth remembering that the figures researched and produced by Arthur and Peggy Wynn show that the chances of a child having an identifiable severe congenital malformation are about 0.8 per cent. if the father does not smoke, but about 2 per cent. if he does. Those figures are worth publicising.
I damn the media for paying so much attention to the triple vaccine and related issues when coverage of smoking could make a significant difference to postponing the deaths of about 2,000 people a week. No one from the media is in the Gallery for the debate, even though smoking is perhaps one of the biggest public health issues. Media efforts could make the work on drink-driving look pretty insignificant, although it was obviously worth while.
Let me make a suggestion to the Government: why not pick out one or two people from, for example, the British Lung Foundation and give them the same honours that have rightly been given to people involved in the heart world? Lungs matter just as much as hearts, and smoking is bad for both, so acknowledging the British Lung Foundation and other organisations would make sense.
My final point takes us back to the facts, or the statistics. We know about smoking and health because of the work of medical statisticians such as Bradford Hill, Peto and Doll. Some have rightly been recognised, but have often had to wait 20 or 30 years. Too often, our debates in the House are not backed by science. Members, whether Ministers or otherwise, are damned if they use statistics, but evidence-based medicine ought to be matched by evidence-based politics. We need people who are persistent on these issues—not just in tackling the law, but by being willing to take up the microphone and speak out, as I and others did over drink-driving. That would probably make a difference for the estimated 95 per cent. of smokers who would not be affected by a ban on 694 tobacco advertising al d might produce a matching impact for those—between 0 and 5 per cent.—who might be affected by a ban.
§ 6.6 pm
§ Mr. Kevin Barron (Rother Valley)
Like the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery), I ought to declare an interest. I am chairman of the all-party group on smoking and health, whose secretariat is the charity Action on Smoking and Health, with which I worked for many years.
It is undeniable that cigarette smoking is the single largest avoidable cause of premature death and disability in Britain today. Reducing smoking would result in massive health gains, particularly for the most disadvantaged sectors of society. The prevalence of smoking in Britain has fallen substantially since the health risks of cigarette smoking were made known to the public, but appears to be stabilising at about one adult in four. To achieve further significant reductions in smoking, we must address the reasons why people begin smoking and continue to smoke knowing that it could kill them.
The Government are taking action in several areas to help to reduce the number of people addicted to smoking. The Bill will greatly add to that reduction and result in an improvement in the nation's health. Conservative Members have decided to table an amendment. I want to comment on that, first by reminding the House of what the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) said in the Queen's Speech debate. I am sorry that he is not in his place. He said:I give the Secretary of State a commitment that I will be open-minded about the issue.—[Official Report, 7 December 2000; Vol. 359, c. 150.]However, he has put his name to an amendment saying that the Housedeclines to give a Second Readingto the Bill. In my view, that is hardly an example of open-mindedness. At the Dispatch Box, the hon. Gentleman produced the red herring of increased tobacco consumption. As the hon. Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) rightly pointed out, the figures are not up to date. As the hon. Gentleman said, smoking statistics ought to be available in the way that other statistics are available, because each day, 300 of our fellow citizens die prematurely of smoking-related diseases. That being so, we ought to have better statistics. Having said that, it is clear that the hon. Member for Woodspring misled the House when he said that consumption is greater than ever before.
The amendment also says thatthere is insufficient evidence that its provisions would lead to a quantifiable reduction in tobacco consumption.That is not true. Several hon. Members have mentioned the report by Dr. Clive Smee, the chief economic adviser to the Department of Health. No one who has read it could argue that there is insufficient evidence on the subject. The report, which was published in 1992, studied countries that had introduced partial bans on tobacco advertising, and discovered only a marginal fall in cigarette consumption. As we all know—or should know—when faced with limited restrictions, the tobacco industry does not reduce the money that it is prepared to spend on pushing its product; it merely switches to other forms of promotion That is why there was only a slight fall in consumption.
695 As soon as those countries introduced comprehensive bans, the picture began to change. Let us consider the statistics that marked that change. They were clearly stated in the Smee report and cannot be denied. In Norway, consumption dropped by 9 per cent; in Finland, by 6.7 per cent; in Canada, by 4 per cent; and in New Zealand, by 5.5 per cent. The average fall in cigarette consumption was 7 per cent. when advertising was banned.
It beggars belief that the hon. Member for Woodspring should again stand at the Dispatch Box, as he did last month, saying that he wants to see the evidence: the proof exists and has done so for many years. People need to have the will to seize on the evidence and decide what action to take.
The Smee report said that the fall in smoking was on a scale thatcannot be reasonably attributed to other factors.That means that it was directly related to an advertising ban. The report concluded:The balance of evidence thus supports the view that advertising does have a positive effect on consumption.Of course it does: millions of pounds are spent each day on advertising products in the media so that we will consume them. It is ludicrous to suggest that tobacco advertising stands on its own in relation to other campaigns because its purpose is not to encourage consumption.
§ Mrs. Spelman
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that, in the first instance, it is the job of the Department to produce up-to-date information? Indeed, the Opposition's role is often hampered by a lack of access to departmental information, especially if it is not centrally held. However, my hon. Friend the Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) made the point that any ban cannot be as effective as the Government might hope while the floodgates are open to smuggling.
§ Mr. Barron
It is hard to accept that criticism from the Conservatives. The Government have put millions of pounds into providing scanners at ports to check lorries and other vehicles for smuggled cigarettes. The hon. Lady should not shake her head. The previous Government never so much as thought about spending that money, let alone having the will to spend it. This Government have had to tackle smuggling—not just of tobacco and alcohol, but of other products—and are acting on it. Once again, the Conservatives are introducing a red herring. The hon. Lady refers to the need for information. The evidence on tobacco advertising, promotion and consumption has been available for a long time—although in 1993, the then Opposition were denied access to details on the Government's decisions in relation to the evidence in the report.
§ Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)
First let me say that I have an interest, to which I shall refer later. Does my hon. Friend agree that the only reason why there is a market for smuggled tobacco is that there is a market for tobacco? Remove the market for tobacco and we remove the need to smuggle.
§ Mr. Barron
That is absolutely right. If there was no demand for the product, that would certainly be the case.
696 I honestly believe that it is stupid to argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove that a ban would reduce consumption. It is not upheld by the facts. The Government are cautious—perhaps even prudent—in estimating that the Bill will reduce consumption by about 2.5 per cent. In light of the evidence of the Smee report, I would expect the figure to be much higher. Even on the Government's estimate, though, 3,000 premature deaths a year—roughly eight a day—will be avoided. Although that is a small fraction of the total number of premature deaths that result from smoking, it equates to the death toll on our roads. It is ridiculous—and inconceivable—for any serious politician to oppose legislation that might prevent deaths on that scale, yet the amendment attempts to defeat the Bill on Second Reading.
The hon. Member for Worthing, West mentioned drink-driving. That issue was tackled not just by getting to know what young men thought about it, but by using advertising to highlight the ills of drink-driving. Advertising works—ask the tobacco companies. We must recognise what has happened before, and the way in which successive Governments have denied the truth about the link between tobacco advertising and consumption.
§ Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)
I also have an interest to declare, which I, too, shall refer to later.
I accept the health statistics and—absurdly for a retailer—I should like tobacco sales to be reduced, but we have got to be effective. On smuggling, hon. Members only have to ask retailers in their constituencies about their sales to discover that a disproportionately large amount of hand-rolling cigarette paper is sold when compared with the amount of tobacco. We need to control smuggling more effectively because that will help to stop cut-price tobacco and cigarettes coming into the country. It is the price that is important to many people.
§ Mr. Barron
It is indeed, and when the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Clarke) was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he used his Budgets to introduce a real increase in tobacco taxes, which reduced consumption. The price mechanism works and I am pleased that the present Chancellor is continuing with the policy. A price increase does reduce consumption.
I agree that tobacco smuggling is serious. There is no doubt that it is much easier for young children to get their hands on smuggled tobacco than it is for them to buy tobacco from retail outlets. Smuggling does undermine retail outlets, but the answer is not to make concessions to the tobacco industry. The industry lobbies us every year for concessions but the fact is that tobacco taxation does reduce consumption. We need to be better at catching criminals who are flaunting and breaking the law and who have outlets for massive amounts of smuggled goods such as tobacco. We should all concentrate our minds on that, as, indeed, the Government are doing.
The amendment contains the word "quantifiable", which seems to be very important to Opposition Members. However, it seems that their argument has been equally important to the tobacco industry, which has consistently prevaricated in the same way. I remind the House of the Health Committee's decision on the European directive. At the time the Committee was chaired not by my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield 697 (Mr. Hinchliffe) but by the hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe). In its report of October 1993, the all-party Committee recommended:The Government cannot continue to procrastinate on the issue of an advertising ban on the grounds that it is awaiting a level of proof about its effectiveness which is, in the nature of things, unobtainable.I know that some Conservative Members are in favour of legislation, but such procrastination, which has been around for decades, is reflected in the amendment that is before us. If Labour Front Benchers had tabled such an amendment, I would have refused to go through the Lobby to support it. It is about time that we had an open and honest debate on the issue. The Opposition's reference to a "quantifiable reduction" is nothing more than a smokescreen, which confirms what many of us already know and firmly believe: the Conservative party as a whole—if not all its members—is addicted to the tobacco industry.
Reference has been made to the correspondence that took place in 1993. I shall quote an attachment to a letter dated 5 November 1993—sent by the then Secretary of State for Health, the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey (Mrs. Bottomley) to the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) and copied to members of his Cabinet—outlining the Department of Health's conclusions on the Smee report. Paragraph 7, headed "The review of the effect of tobacco advertising", said:The Department of Health discussion document on the effect of tobacco advertising on tobacco consumption … was published in October 1992 and comments were invited on it. The substantive comments have been considered. The conclusions from this review are as follows:i. tobacco advertising does affect total tobacco consumption, not just brand share.For years and years, we have heard people inside and outside the House—the Tobacco Manufacturers Association and many others in the tobacco industry—harping on that the issue is about brand share and not consumption. We have even heard that argument today, but it is not true.
The attachment added:Further restrictions on tobacco advertising up to and including a ban could therefore be expected to reduce smoking.ii. other countries have introduced bans which have had a useful effect in their particular circumstances;iii. from the evidence available, it is not possible to quantify the size of the effect of a ban in this country with any degree of certainty.That does not mean that a ban would not reduce consumption in this country, because the first and second conclusions clearly suggest that it would.
I also have a reply, dated 16 November 1993, to that letter which sent to the then Prime Minister by the right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), who was then not only President of the Board of Trade but Deputy Prime Minister. It states:I have seen Virginia Bottomley's minute to you of 5th November on the outcome of her Department's review of the effect of tobacco advertising on smoking and proposing to announce in the Government's Action Plan her intention to renegotiate the voluntary agreement on advertising.698In her minute Virginia takes the view that whilst there are arguments for and against a ban on tobacco advertising the evidence available does not justify that course of action. I find this a surprising conclusion given that the Department of Health's review suggested that further restrictions, including a ban, would reduce smoking, and thus save lives, even though the effect could not be quantified with any certainty. Further, the paper acknowledges the failure to make satisfactory progress in reducing smoking among 11–15 year olds towards the Health of the Nation target.I recognise there is a delicate balance between those who favour a total ban on tobacco advertising and those who believe a tougher voluntary agreement with the industry is the best way forward to achieve the Government's aims in reducing smoking and therefore protecting public health.Nevertheless, I am persuaded by the medical evidence, acknowledged in Virginia's paper, that a ban on tobacco advertising would not only further reduce smoking but would also contribute to improvements in people's health and avoid the damaging economic burdens which the consequences of ill-health place on business.The right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) referred to that point in his speech.
The then Deputy Prime Minister's letter adds:Further, there does seem to me to be an inconsistency in a policy which continues to defend tobacco advertising even in a restricted form with a policy deigned to reduce smoking further through encouraging the prohibition of smoking in public, on transport or in the work place. Indeed, I would argue that if the Government really wishes to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the Health of the Nation targets and to inspire confidence in its actions on reducing smoking and illegal sales, an outright ban instead of some half-way house of severely constrained advertising is the credible way forward.The Deputy Prime Minister in the previous Government wrote that letter to the then Prime Minister just a few years ago. However, although the Conservative party is now in opposition—thank goodness—it has tabled an amendment against Second Reading.
The view of the right hon. Member for Henley was shared by the then Secretary of State for the Environment, the right hon. Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer), who, in a letter to the then Prime Minister, said:I have seen Michael Heseltine's letter to you of 16th November concerning Virginia Bottomley's minute to you on tobacco advertising, dated 5th November.I fully support the views and arguments in Michael's letter. If the Government wants to be seen to be serious about reducing prevalence of smoking and improving people's health the right course of action would be to go for an outright ban on tobacco advertising. A ban on advertising could indirectly help the achievement of my Department's efforts to ban or restrict smoking in public places, by which we contribute to the overall policy on smoking.All the arguments made in those letters—some of them have also been made by Conservative Members tonight—show we could have and should have had a more comprehensive policy against tobacco.
In the bundle that I received there was also a letter dated 9 November from another Cabinet member, passing comment on freedom of expression—a phrase that appears in the Opposition's amendment today. Those words are not new; they have been around for a long time in the politics of tobacco. This letter was from the then Chancellor of the. Duchy of Lancaster, William Waldegrave, who wrote:I strongly support Virginia's intention to tighten further the voluntary controls on tobacco advertising and perhaps also sports sponsorship (indeed, I myself would not have opposed an outright ban if Virginia had felt able to move that far—the argument which her Paper stresses, about whether to curb the freedom to advertise a 699 legal product, was effectively conceded years ago when cigarette commercials were banned from just those media whose methods of advertising were thought to be most effective).We all know very well that the principle that is still thrown around in the debates was breached in 1964 by—and I am pleased to say this—the then Labour Government, who achieved a voluntary agreement to ban the advertising of cigarettes on national television. Initially, the agreement was to ban cigarette advertising before the 9 pm watershed but, in 1965, the agreement was extended to cover the hours after 9 pm. The tobacco industry was no longer allowed to advertise in that powerful national medium, and it is no wonder that the statistics show a decrease in tobacco consumption since that time. Advertising worked. That is why the industry spent money on television advertising. It is interesting that, when that advertising was stopped, tobacco companies switched their money into sponsorship so that they were able to keep their logos appearing on the television screen by sponsoring Formula 1 cars or cricket matches from Lords. They deliberately increased their sponsorship so that they could get their brand names on to television even though the 1964 Labour Government had reached an agreement with them that they should not do that. When we stop them spending money in one area, the companies move into another, if the door is left open. That will be crucial as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
William Waldegrave's letter continued:The more robust we are in our public altitude towards smoking, the more credibility we will have in pursuing our key Health of the Nation targets; in resisting the draft EC Directive on subsidiarity rather than policy grounds; and in refuting the arguments that our drive to improve public health is blunted in respect of tobacco consumption by our need for the revenue that smoking generates.The Health Secretary's letter to the Prime Minister said that the Government would make it clear when they renegotiated with the tobacco industry that they would not support the European directive. That was a major mistake in public health terms, and not only in the United Kingdom. The Bill, which was promised in our manifesto, is being introduced in what could be the last Session of this Parliament, instead of having been introduced in the first. We wanted to remove the blot left by the Conservative party for all those y ears, improving the health not only of this nation but of many other member states.
Tobacco products have enjoyed unparalleled freedom from the safety regulations that apply to virtually all other food or drug products available in this country. My hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield spoke about nicotine replacement treatment. NRT, because it is a medicine, is highly regulated—one has to ask a pharmacist whether one can buy and use the products—while cigarettes are freely available almost everywhere. That is extraordinary given the damage that smoking does. Nowhere else in our society is there such a lack of controls.
Think of all the money that we have spent on BSE, not only by introducing special beef regimes on farms but by taking other necessary measures such as setting up the Food Standards Agency to give us more independence in food checks. Tobacco, on the other hand, is freely available, yet 300 of our fellow citizens die prematurely from it each day.
The evidence is clear, if people are prepared to sit and read it. Opposition Front Benchers were sent four independent reports just before Christmas, showing 700 clearly that tobacco advertising influences consumption. It is clear from the evidence—if people are prepared to read it—that voluntary agreements between tobacco manufacturers and Government have failed to deliver the potential gains in public health. The evidence is in the Smee report, and in many other independent reports.
Voluntary agreements do not work, and it is time for legislation. I hope that the Government will strengthen the Bill as it goes through Parliament and consider introducing a tobacco regulation authority, as the all-party Health Committee unanimously recommended. We need to regulate tobacco as strictly as we regulate food and drug products that carry far lesser risks.
It is about time we had a comprehensive system for trying to prevent people from starting smoking and getting them to give it up. We need to do more than has been done in years gone by. I am pleased that the Bill has been introduced, alongside all the Government's other strategies, but I think that there is further to go. It dismays me to see Members of Parliament, who ought to know better, trying to block the improvement of the individual health of thousands of our citizens by means of their reasoned amendment.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
I would like to agree with the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), as the sincerity with which he argues his case is appealing, but I fear that in some key respects his argument is flawed.
The Bill is in keeping with a Government policy towards tobacco that is essentially discredited. The Government have certainly increased spending on education and programmes for quitting smoking, but their excessive tax policy, predictably and perversely, is having precisely the opposite effect. They are presiding over an increase in tobacco consumption as a result of smuggling. Thousands of legitimate retail businesses have been seriously affected by the trend, and now we have another misconceived measure that will not achieve what its supporters claim it will.
Supporters of the Bill claim that it will reduce tobacco consumption. There is a danger of losing sight of the market reality that, in the United Kingdom, tobacco companies are competing ferociously against one another in a diminishing legal market. The Government claim in the explanatory notes that the Bill will reduce tobacco consumption by 2.5 per cent. We still await the firm evidence for that anticipated reduction.
The hon. Member for Rother Valley and others have placed great emphasis on the 1992 Smee report. As I understand it, they have correctly analysed, interpreted and summarised its findings, but they have overlooked the fact that subsequent surveys have shown that many of its findings were fundamentally flawed, mainly because they were incompatible with proven consumption trends.
The hon. Gentleman referred, fleetingly, to four recent reports. Perhaps he can tell me after this debate what they are—I would like to read them. In return, I advise him to consult the 1993 Stewart surveys, which said that they did not findany negative effect of advertising bans on tobacco consumption. Indeed … they may have had the opposite effect to that intended.I refer him also to the 1996 KPMG report, which concluded that 701there is overwhelming evidence to support the proposition that advertising bans on tobacco products do not reduce tobacco consumption.Perhaps the key point in the KPMG report is that, in two of the countries that Smee had studied, it found the reverse effect: in Italy and Norway, consumption had increased following the introduction of a ban.
§ Mr. Hunter
I cannot answer that question, but if my right hon. Friend is telling me that that is so, clearly I accept what he says.
The Government claim that the Bill will reduce smoking by children, but the 1990 report of the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, "Why Children Start Smoking", found that advertising had no significant influence, and the McDonald surveys of 1993 concluded:there is no evidence in any of the studies to suggest, if advertising were banned, it would make the least difference to the propensity of children to smoke.If we want to stop children smoking—I am one who does—we must recognise that the most effective way is to limit their access to cigarettes by making the laws prohibiting under-age sales more effective; implementing education programmes designed to discourage children from buying cigarettes and encourage adults to exercise more responsibility; and by clamping down on the illicit importation of cigarettes. I acknowledge that the Government have taken considerable steps in that regard but one has only to go to some outlets, such as two in my constituency and one or two in neighbouring Reading, to see that there is no visible slow-down of the importation of these smuggled goods.
§ Mr. Bermingham
I will declare my interest later, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I catch your eye. In the meantime, does the hon. Gentleman agree that it might be a start if we persuaded tobacco companies not to export British-made cigarettes with British-made health warnings to such places as Benidorm from where they promptly come back in the form of British cigarettes with a British health warning? If the health warnings on those cigarettes were in a foreign language, it would enable people to detect them more easily as they came into the country.
§ Mr. Hunter
If I follow the hon. Gentleman correctly, and sly practices of that nature are being undertaken, of course they are to be condemned. I agree with the hon. Gentleman on that point.
There is a second reason why the Bill may not achieve its objectives and may actually result in an increase in tobacco consumption. Price is the single most important determinant of total tobacco consumption. The Government acknowledge that, via their policy of increasing excise as a means of reducing overall consumption. However, if manufacturers cannot advertise, the only means by which they will be able to compete will be through distribution and price war. Just as consumption falls when prices rise, so consumption will rise when prices fall. If further proof of the effect of price is needed, one has only to look at the current black market in cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.
702 Thirdly, it is right to stress that the Bill infringes fundamental freedoms. It is not against the law in this country to manufacture or import tobacco products, to sell tobacco products—except to children under 16—or to buy and smoke tobacco products. A tolerant society that respects minority interests should not ban things simply because some people disapprove of the informed personal choice made by others. The imposition of a statutory ban on advertising a product that is legally available by retail sale to adults is unprecedented.
§ Mr. Barron
I invite the hon. Gentleman to give his opinion. Given that advertising cigarettes on television has been effectively banned in this country—whether on a statutory or voluntary basis—since 1964, does he believe that only that ban should be enshrined in law and nothing else, and is his a principled position; or is he not happy with any of the restrictions on promoting tobacco that there have been over the years?
§ Mr. Hunter
I am extremely happy, and I believe that the strategy followed by the previous Government was working. We had a combination of education programmes and a controlled increase in taxation. The scale of smuggled cigarette products and rolling tobacco had not reached current levels, and there was a reduction in smoking. That strategy, of which a voluntary advertising code was an essential feature, worked.
§ Mr. Alasdair Morgan
The hon. Gentleman talks about the rights of minorities. Which particular minorities will be affected by a ban on advertising? Is he talking about British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco or some other hard-pressed minority?
§ Mr. Hunter
I will answer that question very directly. The Bill offends against the fundamental principle of freedom of speech. It inhibits the freedom of tobacco companies to inform the public about their goods and the freedom of the public to receive information on products. The reality of that is not changed by the Secretary of State's view that the Bill is compatible with the European convention on human rights and with fundamental freedoms.
§ Mr. Hunter
Not at the moment. The Secretary of State's statement is only an opinion and has no strict legal effect.
Unpopular though this view may be, I argue that the Bill is not simply without public benefit but will inflict damage, because it is counter, and will be proved to be counter, to its objectives. It treats fundamental freedoms, enshrined in the European convention on human rights, with derision. This is an ugly Bill.
§ John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland)
I want to discuss some of the features of the research paper and to give examples of the effect of smoking on the people of my constituency, Anniesland.
I am an asthma sufferer; I carry an inhaler with me at all times. My daughter also suffers from asthma, so I think that I understand what passive smoking does to someone 703 like me. The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter) said that people have rights when it comes to smoking. I have rights as an individual who is affected by passive smoking, and I demand that those rights are upheld so that I am not affected by someone else's carelessness or thoughtlessness.
Tobacco advertising and sponsorship of media events are not a problem to some, as we have seen from the contributions of some Conservative Members. However, we are the elected representatives of the people of this country and we must protect them even when they do not want to be protected.
I want to look at the effect that advertising has on the young in particular. Direct advertising—on billboards, in publications and in shops—provides general advertising of tobacco brands. Some people, such as the hon. Member for Basingstoke, would say that that is quite acceptable. However, the point is that a killer drug is being advertised—tobacco kills people.
Indirect advertising—or hero worshipping, as I call it—is much more sinister. We were talking earlier about Formula 1. Young people would loves to drive those racing cars. Actors who smoke a particular brand on movie screens influence young people to be like them—to get the girl, to get the boy, to be successful, to be cool. Subliminal advertising is perhaps the most sinister of all. With product placement, actors smoke a particular brand, with the pack placed in front of the camera to show the brand name. For example, James Bond has his Turkish cigarettes. There are many other examples, but I am not going to name those brands.
Smoking is anything but cool. The results of smoking are many. People need to clean their clothes because they smell and the people sitting next to them, who do not smoke, also have to clean their clothes. Smoking discolours teeth and hands; and it makes smokers ill, it makes others ill, and it eventually kills.
Some 120,000 people in the UK die from smoking each year, and that is too many. My constituency is part of Glasgow, which has one of the highest percentages—well above the national average—of people who die from smoking-related illnesses.
If reasons were needed to ban advertising, we need only look at the number of children aged between 11 and 15 who were smoking regularly in England in 1996. The figure was 390,000. In 1998, 31 per cent. of all children aged between 16 and 19 smoked. My hon. Friend the Minister for Public Health may have more up-to-date figures.
Anyone who has watched a person die of lung cancer knows why we need to protect the young and vulnerable in our society. My father-in-law and his wife both died from lung cancer within six weeks of one another—if ever anything advertised why not to smoke, it would be watching someone fade away and die from cancer.
Advertisers show smoking as relaxing and calming, and as something that makes people successful. The truth is that smoking costs the taxpayer millions of pounds in health care. In 1997, we spent £2,756,000 on anti-smoking advertising alone. Can my hon. Friend the Minister tell us the health care costs of smoking? How many days are lost? The cost must run into billions of pounds.
§ Mr. Evans
I preface my question by repeating that I want to see tobacco consumption drop. The hon.
704 Gentleman refers to the importance of tobacco advertising. At the bottom of such advertisements, a health warning is printed. When the advert disappears, so will that warning. Does he not think that will be damaging? The warning is far more important to me—I always look at that; it influences me far more than anything a tobacco company could say. What does he recommend the Government do to replace all those warnings on tobacco advertisements that smoking is damaging and that it kills?
§ John Robertson
I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention as he reminds of something that I forgot to include in my speech. If the matter were left to me, I should do away with cigarettes and the tobacco industry altogether.
Familiarity supposedly breeds contempt, and perhaps that may be true when the slogan is always printed in the same place on the pack—people no longer read it. If we were really trying to be good, we should implore the tobacco companies to be more jazzy with their slogan and move it about a bit. However, that would cost them money on their packaging, so they might not want to do it.
I had the impression that the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) did not think that what the Government were doing was much good. He seemed to think it was better to do nothing than try to do something. That is a strange view. Surely, if we want to improve things, we need to do something more rather than leaving things as they are. He said that the number of people who were taking up smoking, and who were smoking, was on the increase. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) might argue with the hon. Gentleman on that point. However, if it is true, perhaps we should do something about it—doing nothing is not an option. We should be finding innovative ways to stop people smoking—as I thought we were trying to do.
I find it sad that Conservative Members are engaging in point scoring on a subject that affects people's health. When 120,000 people are dying each year, should we be bandying points about whether cigarettes are being imported illegally? Should we not be saying that we will do our best to stop that? We should never get away from the fact that we want to stop young people from taking up smoking in the first place. Scoring points off one another—saying, "My Government have done this and your Government have done that"—is not what we should be about. We are trying to protect the young people of this country; we are also trying to protect the rest of the people in this country—to stop them dying.
Some of the comments made by Opposition Members are unbelievable. They made feeble excuses and said that we should vote against the Bill because of tobacco smuggling and because people are smoking more. We need to consider such measures because we are trying to improve the health of the nation.
People in the tobacco industry claim that they do not target the young. If that is so, why do young people begin to smoke? Surely, if there was no advertising—no sight of the product—sales would be affected.
Under the Bill, it would continue to be possible to keep cigarettes near the till in a shop. We need to examine that matter. Young children buy sweets or magazines and if they are confronted with cigarettes in a colourful display, 705 they will think that smoking is okay. They will realise that they can buy cigarettes when they are old enough. I suggest that cigarettes could be kept by the till, but in a cupboard where they cannot be seen. If people want to buy them, they can ask for them. If cigarettes are in a glossy display, that influences our children.
Do children learn about smoking from their parents? That is possible. My mother smoked; I did not take it up but my sister did, so perhaps she was influenced by my mother. However, that does not explain why children whose parents do not smoke take up smoking. Why do they do so? Peer pressure was mentioned earlier; it is probably the most important factor.
We should not represent smoking as being cool. I watched a television interview with Robbie Williams—a particular favourite of a couple of my daughters—during which he was smoking. The media must exercise responsibility. Why was Robbie Williams interviewed smoking? Why did he smoke when he knew that it would influence many young fans—especially those in the 11 to 15 age group that we have mentioned? We must get across to people the message that they must be responsible; just as hon. Members should exercise responsibility, so should people who attract high media coverage. Given his influence on young people, why was Robbie Williams not asked to put out his cigarette? Education is needed—unfortunately, it would appear, for the Opposition as well.
We need to reconsider the provisions in clause 4 on the display of tobacco products near tills. Under clause 8, free samples and gifts of money or coupons are to be prohibited. The short-term effect of the provision is to prevent branded products—such as cigarette lighters—being given away, thus stopping the advertising of tobacco brands. That is a sensible measure and the Government are to be congratulated on it. There may be a loophole, though. The research paper notes that people will be exempt from prosecution if they can show that they didnot know and had no reason to suspect that the purpose of the free distribution was to promote a tobacco product.That is not acceptable, and that aspect of the Bill should be strengthened. It is inconceivable that a person would not realise that a cigarette brand name has something to do with a tobacco product.
Clause 9 deals with the prohibition of tobacco sponsorship. The Government want the matter to be dealt with quickly. I want it to be even sooner than the date of 1 October 2006 referred to in clause 18–30 July 2003 is mentioned in the research paper. That extra few years is too long.
Some of the targets cited in the research paper are on the safe side. We shall be forgiven for not meeting targets, but we shall never be forgiven for not trying. Although I accept that it is better to be realistic than adventurous, the best work is usually done when targets are challenging but attainable. The target set for 2010 could and should be met earlier—perhaps by 2008. I should be interested to hear whether the Minister agrees with that. Perhaps she could explain why we need to wait until 2010 to achieve modest improvements.
706 I am pleased that the education campaign is high on the agenda, with an emphasis on young people. I am also pleased that tighter regulation and enforcement is a high priority. I congratulate the Secretary of State on the Bill, and I hope that it receives the vote that it deserves tonight.
§ 7 pm
§ Mr. Peter Atkinson (Hexham)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) in the debate, because at least he was honest; he said that if he had his way, he would abolish tobacco. I am afraid the denizens of the Labour party at its headquarters in Millbank may be circling around the hon. Gentleman, because although the Government may not know how the ban will affect cigarette consumption, as sure as eggs is eggs they will know how many Labour party supporters smoke. The hon. Gentleman's remarks, although honest, will not be well received by the Labour party.
I was struck by a remark made by the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron). He accused the Conservative party of being addicted to the tobacco industry, but I am addicted to personal freedom. The essential point is that the Bill represents a serious restriction on the freedom of companies to advertise a freely available and legal product.
§ Mr. Barron
May I be more succinct and ask the hon. Gentleman what is the difference between the Bill and the ban, which started more than 30 years ago, on advertising cigarettes on television? Why has he never proposed that we get rid of such voluntary agreements, which have been accepted and negotiated with the tobacco companies since 1964?
§ Mr. Atkinson
Surely the hon. Gentleman can understand that there is a fundamental difference between something that is compulsory and something that is voluntary. Irrespective of whether people like tobacco or think it dangerous, the proposal is that we should tell the companies, whose product is legally available for sale, that they cannot advertise it. That is a form of censorship. If this were the United States, there would be outrage at the Government's proposals because they represent an attack on freedom of the press and the individual, and freedom of expression.
§ Mr. Barron
Let me put another point to the hon. Gentleman. Pharmaceutical products are licensed, restricted and regulated in this country. I cannot get them free because I have an income, but I can get them on prescription from my doctor. They are controlled and cannot be advertised because, although they can improve health, they can also damage it. The product that the hon. Gentleman defends damages health to the extent that 300 people die prematurely each day from its legitimate use. How can he say that it is wrong to restrict its advertising if that is done with pharmaceutical products, which can also endanger life?
§ Mr. Atkinson
The hon. Gentleman is wrong. I said that people are permitted to advertise a freely available product. Aspirin and other products that can be bought over the counter can be advertised freely, but restricted medicines, which are available to pharmacists, cannot be advertised. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman cannot understand that there is a world of difference between the two.
707 Some hon. Members like to demonise the tobacco industry, but it is important and employs thousands of people, including many in the constituency of the Secretary of State for Health. They have rights, too. They have the right to have their case properly argued. The Government have failed to produce the figures on which they base their contention that tobacco consumption will fall if there is a ban on its advertising.
§ Mr. Alasdair Morgan
The hon. Gentleman said that he was interesting in protecting personal freedom, but surely there is a world of difference—to use his phrase—between personal freedoms and corporate freedoms, especially as we are talking about large multinational corporations.
§ Mr. Atkinson
That shows the nonsense of the Government's view. There is no difference. The hon. Gentleman is seeking to demonise international corporations as though they were sinister bodies.
§ Mr. Atkinson
There we have it. That was never more obvious than when the former Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), accused the tobacco companies and said, in a rather brutal speech, that the previous attempt to stop tobacco advertising was blocked by the tobacco industry and its German allies. I am surprised that he did not talk about Krauts, because he was clearly playing the world-war-two card.
In fact, the tobacco industry and its German allies went to the European Court of Justice and said that the directive, passed by the European Commission, was unlawful and the European Court of Justice agreed. The directive had to be scrapped because the court found that it was a public health measure which had been wrongly introduced as a single-market measure.
The current Secretary of State for Health also had a go at the tobacco industry when it went to the High Court. Any citizen is entitled to go to the High Court to seek redress when someone—including the Government—behaves wrongly. The industry won; the High Court ruled in its favour and the Secretary of State said:I am appalled that the tobacco companies are trying to undermine a clear manifesto commitment for which there is such widespread public support.That is a disgraceful remark, given that someone had gone before one of the highest courts in the land and won the case.
The reason why we are here tonight is, of course, cynicism. We all know that the Secretary of State has failed to improve the national health service and cut waiting lists—one of his key manifesto pledges. We also know that he does not want another manifesto pledge—to abolish tobacco advertising—to be added to his blacklist. That is why he is trying to push the Bill through, even though I suspect that, in his heart of hearts, he knows that his statement that the Bill complies with the European convention on human rights will be challenged and may not be sustainable.
The hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) said that he was glad that the Scottish Parliament had decided not to proceed with a similar Bill 708 but to support United Kingdom legislation. Under the Scotland Act 1998, all Scottish law has to comply with the European convention on human rights, and the Scottish judges will strike it down if it does not. The Scottish Parliament did not grab the opportunity to make a few headlines, because it knew perfectly well from its clear legal advice that the Bill does not comply with the European convention and is likely to fall. I do not understand why the Secretary of State and the Minister will not wait to find out what happens to the European directive. That would have been the obvious solution.
§ Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
The hon. Gentleman fails to understand why many hon. Members on both sides of the House feel such passion about the Bill. Surely he misses the fact that the tobacco companies have a track record of cynically aiming their product at young people and targeting the developing world. My particular concern has always been the fact that young people are not protected from advertising, product placement and all the other wiles of a tobacco industry which, on the record in the United States and the United Kingdom, is not like other companies, does not have the same standards and has to be watched carefully at every step in terms of management, competence and strategy. That is the difference.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. If he had been in his place earlier, he would have heard my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) make an excellent speech, explaining precisely why—he certainly convinced me—he believes young people start smoking. They start smoking not because of advertising but because of peer pressure and their friends' behaviour. There are many reasons why they start smoking, as my hon. Friend said in an intervention. Sadly, many young people take recreational drugs. Those drugs are outlawed and not advertised, yet they still take them in increasing numbers. It is by no means clear, to say the least, that advertising has any effect on that. If the hon. Gentleman cannot prove beyond all reasonable doubt that advertising affects young people and will cause a fall in the consumption of cigarettes, we should not take away the freedom of expression to which the tobacco industry and its clients are entitled.
§ Mr. Sheerman
Is the hon. Gentleman not concerned about the large amount of data showing the relationship between exposure to advertising and people taking up a particular product? If that relationship does not exist, why on earth do people advertise in the first place? There is a relationship between brands, selling, marketing, advertising and consumption: that has been clear since commerce began. Furthermore, the tobacco companies' track record causes some of us to remain concerned that, even if the Bill is passed, they will get round it. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that free cigarettes are given to many pop icons so that they will smoke on television—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
Order. The hon. Gentleman's intervention is becoming more of a speech.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am not aware of such a practice and I should be surprised if such a thing were done and television companies allowed it. To my regret, I have now forgotten the first point made by the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman).
709 If one is going to take away people's freedom to express their views, to promote their legally available product and to tell their customers what is and is not available, the evidence has to be 100 per cent. copper-bottomed, but it is manifestly not so in this case. Tonight, several hon. Members have bandied around the Smee report. When it was originally published, claims were made that the report stated that banning tobacco advertising would cut consumption by 16 per cent. However, a week later, the newspaper concerned was forced to publish an apology, saying that Mr. Smee hadlooked at the conflicting evidence of bans in other countries and made no estimate for the UK.We see how figures can be manipulated.
I have remembered the point made by the hon. Member for Huddersfield. The reason why companies advertise—so market research people tell me—is to encourage brand loyalty. I am neither a market research expert nor an advertising person, but I suspect that the claims of such people are as valid as those made by the militant anti-smoking lobby. I give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow), who looks as though he wants to intervene.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I beg my hon. Friend's pardon.
Several speakers have rightly identified as one of the problems causing the recent increase in tobacco consumption the amount of smuggled cigarettes and rolling tobacco coming into this country. I represent a constituency in the north-east of England, and there can be no doubt that the north-east is the capital of the bootleg cigarette. One of the tobacco companies recently conducted a project whereby it paid cleaners at certain football stadiums—I am not allowed to say which ones—to pick up empty cigarette packets after matches; the company has now revealed that one in every three packs is imported. We know that vast quantities of cheap cigarettes are coming into the north-east. I am told that in parts of Durham and similar places, one can pop into a club, leave an order and get a carton of 200 cigarettes a few days later.
Such activities are no longer regarded as an offence. By forcing up tax on tobacco to an unsustainable level, the Government have turned loads of people into acquiescent criminals. Buying bootleg cigarettes is no longer perceived as wrong.
§ Mr. Bercow
I found intervening irresistible in the face of my hon. Friend's eloquence. On the question of motivation, one can speak only for oneself. I briefly smoked cigarettes at secondary school, not because of any advertisement, but because two of my schoolmates did so. However, does my hon. Friend accept that, on discovering that one of them was a member of the Socialist Workers party, I thought it inappropriate to be seen in his company, whether smoking or otherwise?
§ Mr. Evans
Does my hon. Friend accept that tobacco smuggling on a large scale has a double-whammy effect? First, people are able to get tobacco products very cheaply; secondly, the tax lost to the Exchequer is money that does not go into the national health service, education, law and order and other essential services, which is a real problem for the Government.
§ Mr. Atkinson
My hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) is quite right. It is estimated that very large sums are lost—perhaps as much as £5 billion, as my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) says. Problems arising from high taxation forced Canada to reduce the price of cigarettes, with the result that the authorities made more money than they had before because people stopped bringing bootleg products over the border from the United States.
I have another point to make about how the proposed ban will affect smoking habits. It can be argued that, because advertising aims to identify brands and make individual brands popular, the brands advertised are often premium brands that many young people like to smoke. The danger of banning advertising is that it might make bootleg brands even more popular: their tar content is often higher than that of premium brands; they are, therefore, far more dangerous cigarettes than the premium brands sold in this country. Perversely, a ban might damage young people's health, not help it.
To return to my central point, the Government have failed to produce any figures that convince me that a ban on tobacco advertising would reduce consumption of cigarettes. The individual liberty of the citizen should therefore prevail.
§ Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)
I begin by declaring a series of interests. I was for many years a smoker; I am not now. I took ill as a result of smoking, suffering a major heart attack three and a half years ago. I have for years represented in the courts smugglers, crooks and criminals who have smuggled, fiddled and defrauded—and been acquitted, usually owing to my efforts—in connection with cigarettes, alcohol and just about every other substance one can think of. I have been a guest of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association at Lords cricket ground and rugby league cup finals, where the hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) has sat at the same table and joined the same company as me. I have represented tobacco agents; I have attended operas, shows and musical entertainments, all declared and all paid for by the tobacco industry.
§ Mr. Bermingham
I have a track record about which I can be truly appalled. Tonight, I hope to try to bring some sanity and levity to what is not merely a serious argument but a deadly one: how do we stop people smoking?
711 I stopped because I had a heart attack. Believe me, dying is not a pleasant experience—I know that only too well. Coming back is quite a frightening experience—the broken ribs, the red marks on my chest. The look of sorrow on the faces of my family who still cared for me and who realised how stupid I had been in walking into a self-imposed death sentence—that is something that will never leave my mind. To those in the Royal Free hospital here in London who saved my life, and to the nurse whose name I do not know who taught me how to stop smoking, I will owe eternal gratitude, as will my wife, my family and my sons.
I say that in all seriousness and sensibility, because the cause of my being in that hospital was my own crass stupidity. Forty years or more ago 1, like so many young people, thought that I, a fit, robust, handsome idiot, could play rugby, smoke my fags, down my pints and get the girls. I thought that it was clever. I did not realise that my clothes smelled; I did not recognise the stink and inconvenience that I caused to other people, or the damage that I would cause to my family and friends. However, time has taught me something, which is why I rose to speak in tonight's debate. If nothing else, I hope that the lessons that I have learned in life will persuade at least one person not to smoke again, one retailer not to sell cigarettes, or one smuggler not to bother smuggling; then, my experience will have served a useful purpose.
What does tobacco do for people? It relaxes them, we are told. It also clogs up their arteries. It makes people suave and sophisticated, we are told. They have smelly breath and smelly clothes. It is cool, we are told. Is it? Who is cool with a piece of ash dangling from his or her fingers? No one. It took me 50-something years to learn that. I have learned, but I do not condemn others who smoke. I merely ask them to learn from my example.
People speak about human rights, as the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) did a few moments ago. I know a little about human rights, having practised for more than 30 years. Human rights and the convention have been around a lot longer than since October last year. They have been around since the early 1950s, long before I became a practising lawyer.
Human rights are a two-way process. When I smoke and my smoke invades someone else's space, it is that person's right that I have invaded, and that person's human right that I am abusing. I am asking someone else to endure or enjoy what I am taking upon myself. When I encourage someone to do something, I invade that person's human rights, because the behaviour in question may be harmful. Do I have some privilege that entitles me to do that? Surely the other person is equally entitled to the right to clear air. Surely the customers at the table next to me in the restaurant are entitled to enjoy their meal without my pollutant passing quietly past their noses. Let us forget the human rights argument. It does not take us anywhere.
We have the commercial right to sell a product. If we had had this debate in 1901, I could have suggested that we adjourned to the local cocaine or heroin den. Those were legal. Tobacco was legal, too. We remember why the licensing laws were imposed: it was feared that the ladies in the munitions works in the years from 1914 onwards might drink too much gin before they filled the shelves.
712 Legality is only what society rules it should be. There are those who argue that cannabis should be legal. That is a legitimate argument, although I do not agree with it. People have long argued that tobacco should be legal. I understand the argument, but what about heroin, cocaine and cannabis? What about alcohol?
I argue against myself, because I cheerfully admit that I do not mind the odd drop myself, even if I break the occasional toe—as was reported in the press on Saturday—when my shoe does not fit and I kick the shoe off and hit the wall instead. That is one of those tragedies.
Let us consider what is contained in the Bill. It is no radical measure. It merely states that tobacco shall not be advertised. As has been pointed out, we agreed some time ago that there should be no tobacco advertising on television. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) made a simple and telling point when he said that if we think that cigarettes are bad for people, and that it is rather silly to smoke, we should persuade others by example that our point of view is right. As a society, we should begin to behave responsibly about such matters.
I was watching television last night—which programme does not matter—and throughout the film, I could see the cigarette packet. Those cigarettes were not just invented. At the beginning of the century in Ireland, for example, one of the brands of cigarette available was Carrolls.
Why do we not take the sensible point of view? Why do we not acknowledge that smoking is not good for people, and that it is rather a silly pastime? Pop stars are the icons of our young, as we well understand, and they should not give a bad example by smoking. They should not be filmed for cinema or television while they are smoking: as has been said, they should be asked to put their cigarette out.
How many times was I asked, when I smoked, to put my cigarette out before an interview and before filming began on the green or somewhere round the House? Hundreds of times. Why do we not insist, in films, television plays and the soaps to which we are all to some degree addicted, that there is no smoking?
§ Mr. Barron
One of the answers to that question, as regards movies made in America, is that actors such as Sylvester Stallone have had contracts to promote tobacco while they were making films.
§ Mr. Bermingham
That is precisely my point. If society were responsible, and it became known to those who make films that we would not tolerate smoking, they would not portray smokers in their films. If we make it obvious to them that that is what we demand, as a society and as a European market—a massive market—we will find the Americans rather quick on the uptake when it comes to brass. If they know that no such contracts will be permitted in films to be shown in the United Kingdom and on the continent, we can bet our bottom dollar that Sylvester Silverstone or whatever he is called—a Freudian slip, perhaps—will soon cease to require such contracts and the makers will not be able to enforce such terms.
If we have the will, there is no problem. We must also deal with other aspects, such as smuggling. I shall give a simple example. I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will pass on to the Treasury a message that there is a little thing that Customs officers could do that would help. 713 At present, people can bring into the country enough cigarettes and so on for their own needs. I shall return to what that means. Customs officers will not confiscate the excess number of cigarettes that people have.
In a recent case, I asked a Customs officer what he considered enough for one's personal needs, and he said "several thousand". I said, `What?" In the old days, when people came in from abroad, 200 fags was the maximum. Now they can bring in a van load, and stack the booze up to the roof—"It's all for me own consumption, guy. I've got four crates of wine here, two pallets of beer, two and a half thousand fags. We're going to have a party." People say it every day, coming through Dover, Folkestone and God knows where else.
If we were serious, we should say, "Two hundred fags—that's your lot. The rest will be confiscated." We would be surprised how quickly the incoming amount would go down.
I know from professional knowledge and experience that in the south-east of England, 83 per cent. of all hand-rolled tobacco is smuggled. There is a town in Belgium, whose name I shall not advertise for fear the mole might seek to use it, where there are seven warehouses that do nothing but provide hand-rolled tobacco for southern England. We are aware of that, but the Belgian Government will not co-operate because it is not an offence in Belgium, so we cannot extradite anyone to stand trial in this country. I should hate to tell the House how much the Revenue lost in that case in which I was involved. Lorryloads—not truckloads—of tobacco were coming in.
For once, let us get real about the present situation concerning cigarettes. In Benidorm, there are warehouses stuffed full of English manufactured cigarettes with English health warnings on the packets. They are brought back in, having been shipped out. Provided they are brought back a couple of thousand at a time, the whole lot will come through.
§ Mr. Barron
Does my hon. Friend agree that that is different from a family or tourists returning from holiday in France and bringing in a few bottles of wine and, perhaps, cigarettes in their car? Is that not different from the white van trade, in which people leave the country on ferries at heavily discounted rates, late at night, and return before dawn with vans full of goods? No one knows where those goods come from because there are no retail outlets open during the night over in France and Belgium.
§ Mr. Bermingham
My hon. Friend makes a good point. I am not against Mr. and Mrs. Smith and baby Smith coming back with 200 fags for mum, 200 for dad, a few bottles of wine and the odd bottle of whisky. That is fine. I am against what is actually happening. There are two or three guys with a van loaded with 2,000 or 3,000 cans of beer, boxes of whisky and wine, and 4,000 or 5,000 fags. We all know what happens. They go down to their local club, go round the back and say, "Mrs. Smith, did you want 400?" or "Mr. Jones, you wanted a crate of wine too, didn't you?" That is criminal activity, and it must be stopped.
The minute one starts cutting that down, one cuts down the market. It is all very well to say that, of course, one got three containers-full at Felixstowe the other week.
714 Felixstowe gets containers' full every week, as do the country's other ports. Believe me, from what I understand, we are merely scratching the surface. Once we get rid of the ethos in society of "owt for nowt"—meaning the smuggled amount—and its not being very naughty when people do such things, we will begin to cut smuggling and start to destroy the differential. The policy of jacking up revenue costs will then work. However, if we jack those costs up each year and the volume of stuff coming in grows, that policy is counterproductive.
§ Mr. Evans
I disagree with hardly anything that the hon. Gentleman has said. However, surely it would be far better for the Government to direct all their attention to smuggling and get away from the existing price differential? Two tiers of cigarettes and tobacco are available in this country: that which is smuggled, which is very cheap, and that which is obtained over the counter—which I deal with—which is very expensive. Banning advertising will have hardly any impact either way. The price differential and the availability of cheap cigarettes are a real problem.
§ Mr. Bermingham
I disagree, because people will then go back to asking what advertising is all about. Advertising makes a product known. When I was seven—well, I concede that there were not many advertisements then, as we were just coming out of a world war, although that is another story. As advertising was not prevalent then, I had better move on a few years to the time when I was a young man. In those days, advertising billboards encouraged people to smoke cigarettes—whether Philip Morris, Players, Capstan, Craven "A" or whatever. I am beginning to show how many cigarettes I know about.
Of course, that encouraged people, as we began to choose and market-test. We would test one brand against another. There should be no advertising, and no billboards for Silk Cut, Benson and Hedges, Marlboro, or any other of today's cigarettes. After all, we are seeking to discourage young people from smoking and, if we can discourage people from smoking at 15 and keep them from smoking, we will have taken real customers out of the market. Discouraging a 60-year-old from smoking does not take so much out of the market.
That is why the Bill has value. Nothing should be advertised and, with a bit of luck, we can begin to persuade people to adopt a culture in which smoking is not encouraged and in which people on television do not smoke. On the radio, it does not matter, because one cannot see people—which is why I have always thought that radio was quite a good medium. Furthermore, if tobacco is not in the papers, although people who smoke will, presumably, learn about brands by word of mouth they will not know the difference between one and the other. With a bit of luck, that will continue to discourage people.
If we have an attack on smoking which combines education, disincentive, denial of advertising and persuasion, with a bit of luck, someone reaching the age I was a few years ago will not go through what I went through. As a result of my own stupidity, I suffered a major heart attack which, frankly, was caused by smoking. It just ain't worth it. If we can get that message 715 across with the aid of the Bill and other measures, perhaps we will have done something useful at the beginning of this century.
§ Mr. Alasdair Morgan (Galloway and Upper Nithsdale)
I shall try to be brief, as we have rehearsed most of the main arguments for and against the Bill.
Many of us probably have a personal interest in this matter. In my case, my father, who was a heavy smoker, died shortly after he retired. I have no wish to see my grandchildren seduced by advertising when they grow up, and, potentially, have their lives cut short. The proposals are long overdue. The voluntary ban on all television advertising was agreed in 1965, but what is the difference between advertising on television and all the other kinds of advertising in which the tobacco companies are involved? As the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) said earlier, the tobacco manufacturers have always found alternative ways around whatever ban we have put in place. Even now, they are trying to find a way around the bans that we are planning.
We should see the Bill as part of a process. The scale of profits involved in that industry are such that tobacco manufacturers have a huge incentive to find ways around the Bill, so we may well have to return to the subject. Ministers will need to be robust when they consult on the regulations which the Bill, if enacted, will allow them to impose. Over the years, we have seen the way in which the industry has been able to prevaricate and string out the negotiations about health warnings, for example.
The right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) read out from the Select Committee report confessions from some companies that smoking caused cancer. British American Tobacco was one company that admitted that. However, the right hon. Gentleman did not read out the comments of other companies, which still tried to deny that their products caused cancer or heart disease. We are against many major manufacturers who still refuse to admit that they are peddling a lethal product. The hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) was right that those companies know just how lethal their product is, but have no willingness to admit it to the electorate.
§ Mr. Bercow
I understand the vantage point from which the hon. Gentleman approaches the subject. However, with reference to what he said about regulations, will he confirm that he is not suggesting that they should be subject to the negative rather than the affirmative procedure of the House?
§ Mr. Morgan
It is more important that the regulations should be robust and that they should achieve something rather than be something that we can get around in a hurry. I am quite happy for those that are intended to be subject to the affirmative procedure.
We should not have any sympathy for the tobacco industry which, for many years, has been a cynical manipulator of its clients and potential clients. One has only to look at the evidence that the Select Committee obtained from the industry's advertising agents to see how true that is. Nothing could be more cynical than the industry's sponsorship of sport, which was designed to 716 improve its image and the attractiveness of the product by associating it with health-giving activities that are full of life. Recent research at the university of Strathclyde showed that children as young as six associate certain brands of cigarettes with excitement and fast cars. If that is the message that is being conveyed to children as young as six, it is certainly getting across to children and young adults who are in the cigarette manufacturers' target range. Of course, the bitter irony is that the more that people consume the product, the less fit they are; indeed, they will be less able to participate in the activities that are being associated with it.
The tobacco manufacturers' main objective is to recruit new smokers. We must all be worried about the increase in the number of young smokers. It has been pointed out that it is considered fashionable to smoke, but that fashion is assiduously developed and reinforced by much of the advertising that manufacturers target at the particular brands that young people are seen to be willing to take up.
The manufacturers are also keen on putting people off giving up smoking. That is why they try to associate certain health messages with particular brands. For example, some brands are sold as low-tar cigarettes. In other words, they are alleged to be less of a risk to those who smoke them. Of course, much of the evidence suggests that it depends on how people smoke the cigarette rather than on which cigarette they choose. Low-tar brands can be just as dangerous as high-tar brands. The manufacturers' other objective is to make their consumers into addicts. The product does that naturally and without effort, so no effort at all is required from them in that respect.
We must be concerned about slippage on the Bill, especially if comments on the timing of the general election are to be believed. Perhaps the next debate, which is on the programme motion, gives us some hope in that regard, but there are obviously no guarantees on what happens to the Bill in the other place. I hope to hear from the Minister for Public Health that the Government intend to push the Bill through the House of Lords just as vigorously as through the House of Commons.
Of course, the Bill is not the only measure that is necessary. Many hon. Members have rightly alluded to the problem of smuggling. There is no doubt that the availability of bargain cigarettes that are seen as very cheap will increase consumption, especially among the groups that have access to such products. As the hon. Member for Rother Valley said, the sale of such products has a double disadvantage, as it avoids all the legal restrictions that are currently in place, including those that relate to children under a certain age, which are of particular concern. Pressure must be stepped up, to try to cut smuggling, but we should not allow it to become a red herring. The availability of a cheap product is more likely to increase consumption if advertising has already made that product desirable. A product sells not merely because it is cheap, but because people want it; cheapness will be a bonus.
We must question the morality of cigarette companies that achieve huge sales of their products in other countries of brands that are not smoked much in those countries. As other hon. Members have pointed out, it is often clear that such brands are meant for the United Kingdom 717 market because of the health warnings that they display. The Select Committee on Health was informative about that matter. I know that the loophole has now been closed, but the Committee told us that imports to Andorra amounted at one stage to seven packets per head for every man, woman and child of its population. The tobacco companies have a great moral responsibility for what is happening to their products. They must be responsible for allowing them to be sold to such countries in the full knowledge that they will come straight back to the United Kingdom, without, of course, incurring duty.
We have heard the argument that the advertising ban would deprive companies of the ability to convey information about their products to the consumers. The tobacco companies have had decades to convey to consumers the information that their products kill. They have not taken that opportunity during the past five or so decades, so, as far as I am concerned, they have forfeited their right to convey any other information about their products.
The Bill has obvious gaps. The hon. Member for Wakefield mentioned the need for a regulatory body and it was pointed out that there are regulatory bodies for medicines and food. It is ironic that we have regulatory bodies for products that are, by and large, good for people, but not for tobacco, which everybody apart from its manufacturers says is bad for people. We would be well advised to establish such a body.
I might repeat some of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) about Scotland, as many of the hon. Members now present were not in the Chamber to hear his speech. The Bill affects Scotland. Many of its provisions deal with matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, which has decided none the less that they should be considered in Westminster. The Secretary of State mentioned in his opening remarks the comments made on the Bill some weeks ago by the Scottish Tory health spokesman, but his research was not quite up to date.
Last Wednesday afternoon, the Scottish Parliament debated and agreed to what is known as the Sewel motion. As the hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden explained, Lord Sewel agreed during the passage through the House of Lords of the Bill that became the Scotland Act 1998 that, even if the Westminster Parliament was to legislate for devolved matters in Scotland, it would not do so until the Scottish Parliament passed a resolution in agreement. I do not think that Lord Sewel ever thought that his name would go down in Scottish constitutional history during his tenure in office. None of those listening to him thought so either, but there it is.
Interestingly, the so-called Sewel motion received all-party support and went through unopposed. I know that the House of Commons has no Conservatives who represent Scottish seats, but because of proportional representation in the Scottish Parliament—a policy that the Tories opposed at the time—there are Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament.
§ Mr. Morgan
One swallow does not make summer.
718 The Conservatives' leading and only speaker in the debate on the Sewel motion was Ben Wallace, a Conservative regional Member for North-East Scotland.
He said:The Conservatives support the aims of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill. As a unionist, I recognise that some legislation, especially on subjects that impact on all of us in the British isles, is best dealt with in a Westminster context.Mr. Wallace had some reservations about the Bill, but most of them related to the fear that it would fall because of an imminent general election. His other reservations were based on the view that the Bill did not go far enough. He went on to say:Perhaps the Scottish Parliament should decide on its own bill, which could encompass not just advertising, but point-of-sale materials, sales to those who are under age, and more enforcement.—[Scottish Parliament Official Report, 17 January 2001; Vol. 10, c. 279–280.]As the Scottish Conservatives are contesting the Westminster election, those of us who have votes in Scotland must ask whether they are in favour of the Bill, or whether they are under the control of the English Conservatives, who are against it. Perhaps they are saying one thing in Scotland and another thing elsewhere. The hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) might want to tell us about that.
Following the comments of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson), I point out that, given the significantly higher incidence in Scotland of heart disease, lung cancer and so on, tobacco advertising is clearly of great importance. If the Bill can reduce even by one the number of deaths in Scotland, it will have done its job. I think that it will do a lot more, however, and I trust that it will make speedy progress here and in the other place.
§ Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)
I support the Government's objectives in the Bill, which is very important. Hon. Members from all parties made many contributions and advanced honest arguments, but choices have to be made. As somebody who used to smoke, I have been on both sides of the fence. It is said that the worst people are those who are reformed, but I have also benefited from the tobacco companies as a former director of a rugby club that was financially supported by them. I believe that the tobacco industry puts money into rugby because that sponsorship has influence. Much of today's debate is about whether advertising influences. I believe that it does.
The prime example is Formula 1. The purpose of advertising in that sport is to influence people and to increase the power of the tobacco industry. People ask whether advertising really has an effect. Of course it does. Young children have toys that bear the advertisements. Very young people recognise a racing car that is covered in sponsorship from a tobacco company. That has an influence on children, who are vulnerable. We should end that.
Let us consider the sports that are sponsored. Rugby league has benefited for many years from one of the longest periods of sponsorship, through the Silk Cut challenge cup. That is an annual event that has been played at Wembley and, dare we say it, at Edinburgh, and it may go to Wales. Rugby, fishing, darts, greyhound 719 racing and clay pigeon shooting have all benefited from sponsorship. I do not detract from the benefits that the tobacco industry has brought those sports, but there comes a time to recognise that sport and tobacco are not compatible. Far from it; they should be separated. The tobacco industry did not benefit t lose sports because it believed in them, but because it believed that advertising had influence. We revert therefore to the argument about influence. The sports that I have mentioned continue to benefit from sponsorship.
The Government acknowledged that sport needed financial support. In 1997, when we came to office, we rightly set up a taskforce chaired by the then Minister for Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks), who was challenged to find alternative sponsorship. The taskforce had many members. I do not how successful they were, but they should have succeeded. The Government should be obliged to find alternative sponsorship for the sports that will lose the income that they have had for many years. I thank the tobacco industry for what it has lone for sport, but I believe that the two cannot continue together.
Young people recognise brands of tobacco. Youngsters who play rugby league at Wembley see that the cup is sponsored by a tobacco company. They can see representatives of Silk Cut and the tobacco kiosk that is set up outside the ground. That can encourage young people—perhaps the next generation of young rugby stars—to take up tobacco through their involvement in the sport.
Although I cannot detract from what tobacco companies have done for sport, it should not be sponsored by a killer. Tobacco kills people. As I have said, if children's toys carry tobacco advertisements, something is sadly wrong. Surely the time has come to change that.
The figures are awful. Those for 1998 show that 31 per cent. of 16 to 19-year-old men and 33 per cent. of 16 to 19-year-old women smoke. That makes 1998 one of the worst years since 1978. That is unacceptable. Smoking is considered trendy; we ought to do something about that and put people off.
Perhaps some hon. Members believe that banning advertising will affect only a few people. I acknowledge that statistics can be made to support both sides of an argument. However, if the statistics claim that we can deter 3,000 people a year from smoking, that should be a sufficient reason for banning advertising. If it deters one person, that is good enough. I believe that thousands of people are influenced by advertising and that banning it would benefit not only those whom we deter from smoking but the national health service.
People ask why I felt that I had to speak in the debate. Doctors and consultants who came to my surgery in 1997 shortly after the new Government were elected said that they believed that the Government were right to ban tobacco advertising. For some, banning advertising will never go far enough, while others will never accept such a ban. However, we must strike a balance. When those doctors and consultants expressed their views, I listened to them and took their opinions on board. Those views were reinforced by visiting a hospice and talking to people who said, "I wish I'd never smoked." We should take account of their regret in our debate.
720 If we can save 3,000 people, or only one person, a year, that is a justifiable and sufficient reason for banning tobacco advertising. Those doctors and consultants were right, as are the people who work in hospices and contacted me. We should listen to those experts in health who believe in saving people's lives and in a better quality of life. We can play our part by supporting the Government to ensure that people—perhaps thousands of people; we shall never know—are saved.
We must acknowledge the fact that the tobacco industry employs people in well paid jobs in this country, but we must not let it stop us. The companies that have made billions of pounds over many years should consider alternative employment for people who work in the industry. We should persuade them to look for alternatives and re-employ people. There is nothing wrong with considering alternatives for the futures of those who have had good-quality, well paid jobs. They have a right to work, and we should not dogmatically say, "You must stop tobacco production tomorrow." We will not do that.
The Bill is a stepping stone, onto which we can all step today. Some hon. Members may have a personal interest in not banning tobacco advertising, but if they can stop a young person smoking by banning tobacco advertising, they should cross that first stepping stone. It is important to have a healthy nation. We can begin by ensuring that people do not smoke. Smoking is the biggest killer if we take account of lung cancer, heart disease, other related diseases and passive smoking, which although easily dismissed some years ago, is now acknowledged as a killer.
If we can begin to deter people by banning advertising, we should do so. All hon. Members who know someone who has died through smoking should think about that person's family and how they suffered. They should consider how those people started smoking: through a nudge and a wink at school or because they saw some trendy advertising.
Let us return to the issue of Formula 1. Some of the onlookers will be members of the international set who want to be involved in Formula 1 racing, but some will be young people who want icons—and their icons will be the drivers whose cars are covered in tobacco advertisements. That, surely, is wrong. Is this really about a belief that racing cars are important to the tobacco industry? No: it is about the tobacco industry getting a return on its investment in advertising on those racing cars. That is the reality—and the reality is also that young people are influenced, and young people are vulnerable. For that reason, whichever sport is involved—and not many are involved now—we should end tobacco advertising. The House has a moral obligation to ensure that that happens, so that young people have a chance not to be influenced.
Many would like to take the proposals a stage further. The time for that will come—not in the short term, but when reports are produced in the longer term. People will then begin to recognise that tobacco results in serious illnesses, and to take account of the number of deaths caused by smoking in this country and throughout Europe.
As we begin to allow the export of misery—for that is what we are doing in ensuring that people in the third world will die because of the tobacco industry— 721 the industry, given all the money it has made over many years, should stand up and say "We are seeking alternative employment for the workers, but we should also seek alternatives to make the shareholders happy. We ought not to make them happy through the export of misery and death, and we ought not to make them happy with tobacco advertisements in sport." The time has come for the industry to reconsider its future. It is a global player with many interests, and it ought to think about where it wants to be next.
§ Mr. Swayne
Is there not every possibility that the tobacco industry will be laughing all the way to the bank? Advertising is a powerful economy, excluding new entrants to the market. Making cigarettes is cheap, but manufacturers are prevented from doing so by the huge costs involved in marketing. The hon. Gentleman's proposals would end that: they would institutionalise the exclusion of new entrants, at no cost to the manufacturers.
§ Mr. Hoyle
I did not realise that we would hear the cuckoo so early in the year. Yes, cigarettes are exported, and yes, they are very cheap to manufacture, but it should not be forgotten that advertising is very cheap in third-world countries. It is the expensive Formula 1 advertising that we should end. That is what influences young people. People aged 16 to 19 are increasingly attracted to smoking because of advertising in high-profile sports such as Formula 1. Such advertising must end because, whichever way we look at it, it is ultimately about death and misery.
We should embark on the first stepping stone now, and our action should be replicated throughout the world. It is no use saying that making cigarettes in the third world is cheap, because what we are talking about is brand image. People do not buy the cheapest cigarettes from third-world countries; far from it. They buy cheap cigarettes, but well-known brands, which they see advertised on racing cars. The Opposition are not facing up to that. Those are the high-profile brands that are being smuggled into the country.
We are not talking about the smuggling of an unknown brand of cigarettes which people do not smoke. That is the whole point. I realise that smuggling is a major problem. The hon. Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) mentioned it earlier, and he must have an interest in ensuring that it does not happen, because tobacco sales will no doubt have fallen in his shop. I agree with him that we must do something about smuggling, because it is a problem for the Exchequer, and it means that cheap cigarettes are on the streets where young people may be able to get hold of them. I am not talking about cheap cigarettes that are not advertised on racing cars or elsewhere in sport; I am not talking about unknown brands. Brands of influence are being sold on the streets.
§ Mr. Evans
My heart is warmed by the hon. Gentleman's generous sentiments about my business. He says that people do not smoke brands of cigarette that are not advertised. He will know that a brand of hand-rolling tobacco that was not available in shops in the United Kingdom, and was therefore not advertised in the United 722 Kingdom, obtained an enormous market share simply because of its price and availability generally. His argument in that regard is thus completely destroyed. Let us attack smuggling rather than concentrating on advertising, which has a lot to do with brand but nothing to do with market share.
§ Mr. Hoyle
What we should be talking about is brand cigarettes, which I am talking about. At the end of the day, it is not unknown brands that are sold through smuggling. I think even the hon. Gentleman might just see the connection between brand awareness and the smuggling of brands that are sold. However, I understand his point about hand-rolling tobacco. The majority of such tobacco now being sold is smuggled: in fact, one would be hard pressed to find a shop that is moving hand-rolling tobacco. Similarly, pipe-smokers favour particular brands, but if a brand is cheat enough they will smoke it.
At the end of the day, we are talking about finished cigarettes. Without doubt such cigarettes are smoked because of brand awareness. No unknown brands are being sold on the streets: recognised brands are what are being sold, apart from hand-rolling tobacco, which is in a different category.
The hon. Gentleman takes every opportunity to appear on television or on Radio Lancashire. If he is serious about people's health, here is a chance for him to promote the health of people in the north-west: he can take that small step today. I look forward to seeing him in the Lobby if he really does care about the health of those people, especially young people. That is what we must end: the influence of tobacco advertising on young people through sport and other media.
§ 8.8 pm
§ Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle), because we both serve on the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, but I am disappointed that he belittled one of the most successful British export manufacturing activities—the production of tobacco products. He apparently thinks that everyone employed in that industry should be fired and given alternative employment. That argument must be offensive to all who are employed in wt at is a very responsible industry. Surely we should allow individual sovereign nation states to decide for themselves whether they wish to make tobacco illegal. If a foreign country allows tobacco to be lawfully consumed, why should not British exporters have a chance to take a share in the market?
§ Mr. Swayne
Does my hon. Friend agree that the Bill is welcome in one respect? Previously, the Government attempted to pursue their policy by using the European Union. Is it not infinitely preferable that the measure is being considered in this place, rather than imposed on us by that alien and evil empire?
§ Mr. Chope
Although I understand my hon. Friend's point, I have to tell him that, unfortunately, the Government are still intent on using an alliance with their European partners to stop United Kingdom tobacco manufacturers exporting to countries outside the European Union products to the specification that those countries want for their consumers.
723 Although I share the concern of the hon. Member for Chorley about the incidence of smoking among young people, the examples that he gave are based on a fallacy. He cited motor racing, rugby league, fishing, darts, greyhounds and clay-pigeon shooting and suggested that the glamour of tobacco sponsorship for those sports leads young people to smoke. Given that the incidence of smoking is much higher among young women than it is among young men, I could use those same facts to argue that young men who follow those sports realise that, to be successful in sport, one must be fit and that it is bad to smoke. One could also argue that more women choose to smoke because they do not follow those sports or gain exposure to that glamour. The hon. Gentleman's argument on that point is fallacious.
The hon. Member for Chorley is the type of person who would read The Independent, so I am surprised that he was not influenced at all by its leading article, on 9 December 2000, attacking the Bill. The article states:There is no evidence that advertising encourages young people to smoke who otherwise would not. It is all a matter of persuading existing smokers that one brand is preferable to another. Young people take up smoking because it is cool in a sub-culture beyond the reach of billboards or racing car logos or because they want to lose weight. Or because they want to do something of which grown ups disapprove.I think The Independent has hit the nail on the head.
One of the Government's first Bills was designed to introduce a total ban on handguns, including those used in the Olympic sport of pistol shooting. Public safety was the avowed justification for a ban, which it was said would reduce the number of armed robberies involving handguns. Since then, however, as the latest Home Office statistics show, the incidence of violent crime involving handguns has mushroomed. That legislation did not achieve its avowed purpose, but it did succeed in restricting freedom and depriving very many British sportsmen of an opportunity to participate internationally.
The justification for this Bill is that an absolute censorship of tobacco advertising will increase public safety. The facts, however, do not support the Government's argument—which is a similarly bogus argument to the one deployed, at the very beginning of this Parliament, on handguns.
I shall not repeat the points made so ably by my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), who tore apart the Smee report and drew attention to KPMG's much more recent report. In an earlier intervention, I quoted from a letter from Mr. Michael Stewart—about which some hon. Members said we require expert advice. The letter, which appeared in Private Eye on 12 January 2001, states:A few years ago I analysed tobacco consumption in the 22 countries of the OECD over the period 1964 to 1990, in order to estimate the effect of tobacco advertising bans in the six countries which had introduced such a ban. The best estimate of the effect of total advertising bans was of an increase of about 4 per cent. The probability of the effect being a decrease in tobacco consumption was only one in 40.For hon. Members who are interested, the full report can be found at www.mikestrt.dircon.co.uk.
The report was done by an independent expert. Some Labour Members suggested that, because KPMG was paid for its objective work by tobacco manufacturers, that work must be unsound. It could be said, equally, that Mr. Smee was beholden to the Department of Health because it paid 724 for his work. Ultimately, however, he had to write a letter to The Times to stop the arguments that he had deployed being traduced by the Government.
Fortunately, we come to the House not only with evidence, but with our inherent common sense. Cannabis, Ecstasy and cocaine are not advertised, but their use is increasing. Attempts by the Government to engage in counter-advertising to highlight the risks have been a total failure. There can scarcely be an adult who is unaware of the adverse health effects of smoking. Indeed, I do not think that any children aged 12 to 16 are unaware of the adverse health effects of smoking. Under the national curriculum, all those children have classes that tell them about both legal and illegal drugs and substances.
Young people cannot be under the illusion that smoking does not have a health impact. However, they think that smoking will not affect them. Moreover, quite often, the Government's arguments are undermined by counter-arguments suggesting that, if one gives up smoking after 15 years, one can overcome any ill health effects occasioned. Such an argument leads particularly young people to believe that they can smoke for the first 10 or 15 years of their adult life, give up smoking and still be healthy. We shall have to see the impact of arguments that cigarette smoking may cause young people to be unable to conceive. I fear that such arguments will have no effect.
Banning advertising of a lawful product is not justified on the evidence presented by the Government, and it is certainly not justified in principle. The Bill, however, is bad on another count, as it seeks to cover up the Government's complete failure to achieve their avowed manifesto and public health objective of reducing smoking, particularly among those under 16.
In their first Budget, in July 1997, the Government increased tax on a packet of 20 cigarettes by 19p, with effect from 1 December 1997. The justification for the increase, as stated at paragraph 2.23 of the Red Book, was thatThe Government is committed to increasing tobacco duties on average by at least 5 per cent. a year in real terms (compared to the previous Government's 3 per cent. commitment) as one measure aimed at reducing tobacco consumption and dissuading young people from starting smoking.The Government also said that they were alert to the problem of tobacco fraud, smuggling and cross-border shopping, and announced a review to report by the end of 1997.
Those were the Government's intentions, but what has happened in practice? Successive duty increases—in March 1998, 1999 and 2000—have resulted in the tax on cigarettes increasing by about one third. Cigarette consumption has remained more or less constant—I believe that it has increased slightly—whereas the yield from tobacco duties has decreased.
Whereas in 1997–98, £8.3 billion was raised in tobacco duty, this year's pre-Budget report, which was issued in November 2000, shows that the Exchequer expects to obtain £7.4 billion from tobacco duty in the current year. That is £900 million less than was raised in the Government's first year. The projections for next year are that, despite an increase in tobacco duty in line with inflation or above, the yield will still only be £7.6 billion.
§ Mr. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)
Is the hon. Gentleman about to say that a future Conservative 725 Government would reduce taxation on tobacco because doing so would increase revenue and have a negligible effect on tobacco consumption and, therefore, on health?
§ Mr. Chope
The hon. Gentleman anticipates my argument. On the Government's information, we expect that, this year—as the tax has been increased by one third and consumption has stayed the same—the yield from tobacco tax will only be £7.4 billion. There is a shortfall of £3.5 billion per annum in tax revenue for the Government. In the same way as the last Conservative Government recognised the law of diminishing returns in relation to high levels of income tax, I hope that, in preparing our manifesto in opposition, we shall be robust and face up to the fact that it is better to repatriate control over tobacco to the lawful elements of this country than to have one third of it controlled by unlawful elements. We could then get the revenue from that tobacco. If we reduced tobacco tax by about £1.20 a packet, it would result in increased income for the Government and increased control over tobacco in this country.
§ Mr. Taylor
In the 1960s, my two sisters and I lost a father to chronic bronchitis and emphysema from heavy smoking. I predict that many thousands of families in future generations will neither forget nor forgive a Government who encourage tobacco smoking, as the hon. Gentleman predicts for an incoming Conservative Government—which, hopefully, will be many decades away if that is typical of the policies that they espouse.
§ Mr. Chope
In giving way to the hon. Gentleman, I had not realised that he was going to completely misrepresent my argument. My argument is that one third of the cigarettes consumed in this country are available to young people at a quarter or a third of the price in newsagents. That is generating the increase in smoking among young people. It is offensive and I hope that the next Conservative Government will change it.
§ Mr. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge)
My hon. Friend is making a powerful point. Does he agree that the evidence suggests that smuggled tobacco products sold in this country are sold disproportionately to the most vulnerable groups in society?
§ Mr. Chope
Absolutely. The Government's White Paper gives the example of a couple on income support who are smokers. In 1994, they were spending some 15 per cent. of their income on tobacco. Now, following the sharp increases in tax, that has increased to 20 per cent. or more. Is it any surprise that they seek opportunities to buy tobacco at reduced prices? That is happening in the marketplace. I know that Labour Members do not understand the marketplace but, for those of us who do, it is gratifying to realise that, as a result of the Government's ludicrous policy of increasing tax, the market is intervening and showing the policy to be totally counterproductive.
I have never smoked, but I am full of admiration for those who do. If they did not, the public programmes for which they pay through their taxes would have to be funded to a greater extent by me. However, as a lawyer, I am concerned about the application of the law of 726 diminishing returns, which results in us having by far the highest tobacco taxes in Europe. I am concerned also about the way in which otherwise law-abiding citizens are forced to engage with or aid and abet, the new criminal underclass, which is engaged in the tobacco smuggling that the Government have created.
On 2 October last year, the Daily Echo—my local newspaper—carried on its front page the headline "Smugglers Smoked Out." Incidentally, the newspaper had a splendid photograph of packs of 200 Superkings and Lambert and Butler cigarettes; I do not know whether that will still be allowed if the Bill becomes law. The story described the discovery of 19 passengers on a late-night flight from Tenerife to Bournemouth international airport with 32 suitcases filled with 650,000 cigarettes. Nine people were questioned while another 10 vanished without bothering to collect their luggage.
Customs and Excise estimated the value of the cigarettes to be £130,000, which should have carried a duty fee of £104,000. It was claimed as the biggest seizure of cigarettes from a single plane in the UK. The nine passengers arrested—five men and four women—were not from my constituency, but from the Worksop and Chester area. They may have missed their jackpot on that occasion but, on the latest evidence from Customs, more than £3 billion in tobacco duty is being avoided this year. That is the equivalent of the contents of 30,000 flights like the one that Customs was lucky enough to find at Bournemouth last year. What use are 1,000 extra enforcement officers in bucking the market in contraband which the Government have done so much to bolster with their high tax policy?
§ Mrs. Eileen Gordon (Romford)
Is the hon. Gentleman, like me, looking forward to the DTI report on the alleged collusion by British American Tobacco in smuggling?
§ Mr. Chope
The DTI is looking into the matter, but the Treasury Committee reported before Christmas that there was no basis whatever for the wholly unfounded allegations made against the British manufacturer in question. In accordance with my belief that a person, company or corporation is innocent until proven guilty, I shall wait to see the evidence without jumping to any conclusion, which I fear the hon. Lady is intent on doing. Those of us who believe in the market are seeing that it is working, and I hope that the Government will now face up to reality.
I wish to refer also to the EU tobacco fund. I do not know whether Members are familiar with it, but it is something to which we all contribute as taxpayers in this country. One of the roles of the EU fund is to identify, and spend money on research into a less harmful form of tobacco. Let us assume that, unlike most European programmes, this one is successful in identifying a less harmful form of tobacco. How will that product obtain market entry without advertising? I give that as an example of the absurdity of restricting advertising of consumer products and consumer access to information about them.
§ Mr. Barron
The hon. Gentleman knows that people become addicted not to tobacco but to the nicotine content of cigarettes. Tobacco is one of the dirtiest and most unhealthy ways of taking nicotine into the system. 727 In terms of nicotine replacement therapy, there are many ways of treating or satisfying someone's addiction to nicotine without having to smoke tobacco. The hon. Gentleman is scoffing at something that scientists are looking into seriously to stop the daily deaths of people who smoke tobacco.
§ Mr. Chope
I am not scoffing at the idea. I hope that we shall be able to find a less dangerous form of tobacco. If we succeed in so doing and the product is marketed by a tobacco company, how will the company be able to inform the market at which it is aiming of the virtues of its new, healthier cigarette if it cannot advertise them? The hon. Gentleman has not answered that question.
§ Mr. David Taylor
The hon. Gentleman is obviously convinced that the market is working well in terms of tobacco advertising and consumption. To what extent does he believe that the following should be factored into marketing calculations: the cost of national health service treatment; the premature cessation of employment of people who retire for reasons of ill health, as my father did at the age of 50; and the loss of a father from a family 20 or 30 years before the end of the natural lifespan that he might otherwise have enjoyed? How are those issues to be factored into the market that the hon. Gentleman so admires?
§ Mr. Chope
The hon. Gentleman's Government have already factored the issues in by saying that the cost to the health service is between £1 billion and £1.5 billion a year. The yield from tobacco duties to the Exchequer was, under the Conservative Government more than £8 billion; it has now dropped to £7.4 billion. The difference between those two figures is £700 million or so; one could spend quite a lot of that on nicotine patches and counselling for smokers. However, the Government are losing that revenue at present, because it is going into the black—and very dirty—economy.
§ Mr. Bercow
My hon. Friend makes an interesting point about the attempt to find and promote a less harmful tobacco substitute. Does he agree that probably the least effective way to secure take-up of such a new product would be to arrange for the European Union to promote it? If it were to do so, minimal take-up would be the most likely consequence.
§ Mr. Chope
I am sure that my hon. Friend is right. I am very sceptical about whether the money being invested in the tobacco fund will help it to achieve its avowed objective. I note with dismay the fact that we, as taxpayers, are still subsidising to a large extent tobacco growers in the rest of Europe who produce tobacco of such low quality that it is, apparently, fit to be exported only to the third world.
There are all kinds of pragmatic arguments against the Bill. However, its most offensive aspect is that it proposes a total ban on the advertising of a legal, much-used product and denies consumers information that would enable them to make an informed choice. Last week, the House was reminded that Hitler's Government were the only previous European Government to achieve a ban on foxhunting. Over the weekend, we heard that the Government intend to take DNA samples from people who have been arrested as suspects but then acquitted.
728 One is bound to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller, a Protestant minister who spoke out against the Nazis so courageously during the second world war. [Interruption.] Labour Members may not want to be reminded of the first couplet, which states:First they came for the Jews. I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.The updated new Labour version would read, "First they came for the handguns. I did not speak out because I do not shoot with pistols. Then they came for the huntsman. I did not speak out because I do not hunt. Then they came for the tobacco advertisers. I did not speak out because I do not smoke." We know that the Government will go for the smokers, the drinkers, the fishermen, and the shotgun-owners. All those people will be in line for regulation by this intolerant, oppressive Government. I oppose the Bill vehemently.
§ Mr. Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich, West)
I support the Bill, and I make no apologies for saying that my attitude to smoking and tobacco advertising has been determined from a young age by my experience of the suffering caused by tobacco in my family. I suspect that many other people who take the line that I do have seen their families similarly touched by this appalling manifestation of the market economy.
My first involvement with death was when I was seven. I saw my grandfather—a jovial, 6 ft 4 in giant of a man, full of vitality and a marvellous example to his grandchildren—reduced within six months to a white, skeletal, hacking wreck: he died of lung cancer through cigarette smoking. My father was so affected that he gave up cigarette smoking. When I saw my father's X-rays shortly before he died, the surgeon pointed out the damage that had been done to his lungs by his years as a cigarette smoker 30 years before.
In that context, I must take issue with the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope), who said that young people smoke because the Department of Health has told them that they can give up later in life and the damage will be rectified. The Department has never said that. It has said that it is worth giving up smoking at any stage because one's life will be prolonged compared with those of people who continue to smoke. I saw that in my father: he lived longer than he would have lived had he continued to smoke, but the damage done to his lungs by years of smoking was a significant factor when he died.
I grew up determined that, whatever other health risks I might face in life, smoking was one that I could well do without and that I would do everything in my power to ensure that others did without it. My opposition to smoking is reinforced by my experience in my constituency of West Bromwich, West. Deaths from lung and heart disease are 20 per cent. above the average, which is a major reason why the area is a health action zone. The Smee report, which I heard derided earlier, estimates that a ban on tobacco advertising would reduce smoking-related deaths by about 2.5 per cent.—perhaps 1,500 or 1,600 a year. That represents only a small fraction of the 120,000 who die annually, but it is well worth the Government taking action to save those lives.
To turn the argument around, if a natural disaster or a train crash killed 1,600 people, many of those Members who defend the rights of tobacco advertisers would be up 729 in arms demanding that the Government take action. Deaths from lung cancer occur quietly each day, are spread across the country and are witnessed only by hospital staff and grieving relatives so they do not have the public impact of a spectacular disaster killing 1,600 people. None the less, 1,600 such deaths cause as much misery, grief and suffering for those left behind as the same number of deaths in a disaster.
For a long time, my particular concern has been the impact of smoking on young people—teenagers and, in particular, young women. My hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) referred to statistics showing that the number of smokers is falling nationally, although it is rising among teenagers and especially among young women. That is no surprise. We have had a long battle with my 18-year-old stepson, trying to stop him smoking. Smoking is part of the cool image, and young teenagers are insecure and sensitive to being kept out of social circles. It is so easy for them to succumb to the temptation to have a cigarette when a packet is passed round.
§ Mr. David Taylor
Given the statistics that my hon. Friend has mentioned and his description of the particular problems facing young people, is he not astonished—even nauseated—by Conservative Members who, when given the choice of safeguarding children's health or backing a tobacco industry that pollutes the atmosphere and poisons its patrons, go so unerringly for the tobacco industry?
§ Mr. Bailey
I welcome my hon. Friend's comments and agree entirely. What concerns me is that young people are bombarded with images of a certain predetermined, glamorous way of life, and the tobacco industry has been clever in attaching itself to that image.
I have heard much this evening about the association of tobacco advertising with Formula 1 racing. It is obvious that young people who are interested in the fast cars of the motor racing circuit will associate that glamorous life with cigarette smoking, given that the logos are so prominently displayed on the cars. I do not pretend that we will change all that in one fell swoop by banning tobacco advertising or sponsorship, but we will eliminate one pressure that affects young people's behaviour and encourages them to take up cigarette smoking.
I especially welcome the proposed end of tobacco sponsorship in other sports. It has always been a source of amazement to me that sports such as rugby league and cricket, which demonstrate athleticism, vitality, health and vigour, should be used as a vehicle for promoting a habit that will destroy all those qualities. Tobacco manufacturers have again been clever in associating themselves with those sports. They know that the participants are icons and appear to promote the habit, even if they do so without their agreement.
I welcome the Bill. It is totally inappropriate for a Government to invest money in the health service and promote a health policy if they leave out this part of the equation, which will improve our health standards. The banning of tobacco advertising was a key manifesto commitment in the last election, and I am proud to have the opportunity to back it. I look forward to the day when 730 we realise our health targets secure in the knowledge that the Bill has played a part in reversing a trend that has done so much damage to sc many people over so many years.
§ Mr. John Greenway (Ryedale)
The Bill is well intentioned. As my hon. Friend the Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) said, smoking is bad. Labour Members, in particular the hon. Member for West Bromwich, West (Mr. Bailey), have said much about how bad smoking can be, and mentioned the illness and death that it causes. However, the issue for many Opposition Members is whether the Bill goes beyond what is reasonable in respect of a legal product.
My first declaration is that I am a lifelong non-smoker. It would not bother me if everyone gave up. In fact, many of us suffer in polite tolerance the smoking of our colleagues and friends. I suspect that many other right hon. and hon. Members who have never smoked would agree with my observation that smoking in restaurants has ruined many a good meal. I find that practice extremely distasteful. I want to make it clear from the outset that the less people smoke, the happier I am.
There has been a welcome noticeable reduction in consumption in recent years. We have been told how a mixture of policy-voluntary agreements on sports sponsorship, a ban on television advertising and the promotion of health education—has made a major contribution to reducing smoking by two-fifths in the past two or three decades. However, the central question that the House must ask is whether a ban on what remaining advertising and promotion is permitted within voluntary agreements and existing regulations will achieve a further reduction in smoking, which is the justification for the Bill.
I confess that I had not appreciated the extent to which consumption is rising as a result of the illegal import of cheap cigarettes. That should not have come as too much of a surprise to us, because we all know—however rural or urban our constituencies may be—that such products are available. In fact, two of my constituents are postal workers and they were recently arrested at Hull docks with a car full of £17,000 worth of cigarettes. They went to prison for three months, and admitted to a previous offence. Cigarette smuggling should not come as a surprise, because the same problem arises in respect of cheap drink.
For reasons that my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) enumerated, it is a cause of considerable sadness and concern that the decline in tobacco consumption appears to have halted.
§ Mr. Hawkins
My hon. Friend will understand why I was surprised when, in response to my intervention on his speech, the Secretary of State said that smuggling was not on the increase. In addition to our mutual concerns about smuggling—he mentioned one case—my hon. Friend shares my passion for sport. Does he share my concern that the Bill, far from controlling smuggling, will have a harmful effect on sport? We may both be non-smokers and we may both wish to discourage smoking, but will it do any good if the Government smother an industry that employs many people, damage sport and encourage 731 smuggling? Is that not typical of this Government? The road to hell is paved with good intentions—intentions which actually do a lot of damage.
§ Mr. Greenway
My hon. Friend makes his own point. I was going to use less provocative language, because I want to encourage the Minister to meet us part of the way. I wanted to speak because of my concern about what will happen to some sports in the next three or four years and the danger of a possible ban on other products. I shall return to that issue shortly.
I declare another interest: for the past 13 years or so, I have advised the sales promotion and incentive industry. That industry has accepted the Government's position that there should be a complete ban on the promotion of tobacco products. Indeed, several years ago, some companies involved in the manufacture and sourcing of promotional products decided that they no longer wished to be involved with the tobacco industry. I assure the House that I am not in any way lobbying for change.
That approach, however, has had an impact of which the House should be aware. Many small businesses, manufacturers and sourcing agents suffered severely financially when the Government tried to rush through a ban based on the European directive, which was eventually declared illegal. A central feature of that was the ban on loyalty coupons in cigarette packets, which caused some tobacco companies to cancel contracts. One of the major high street retailers, Argos, is involved in coupon redemption to a substantial extent. We are not talking about tacky, cheap products: we are talking about some of our most prestigious manufacturers of cut glass, china, hi-fis, televisions and so on. Whatever line we take on whether a ban is justified and what impact it will have, we must be careful about the speed with which we introduce it, since there could be an adverse impact on legitimate businesses. Some of the industries concerned may operate in our constituencies. The potteries have had a bad time in the past 25 or 30 years—
§ Mr. Greenway
No, it is because of overseas competition. The hon. Gentleman should not be silly.
Coupons are to be banned under clause 8. I hope that the Minister will look into that in Committee, because it is capable of differing interpretations. The idea is that it is wrong to have coupons because they promote the product, but the incentives industry would say that they are there to reward loyalty.
I note that the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) is laughing, but the fact is that coupons tie people to a brand over a long period. There is a finely balanced argument about whether people smoke more in order to collect more coupons. If the Government's argument about price is justified, people cannot afford to smoke more, and the industry's research does not come to that conclusion. Manufacturers seek to defend their market share, and if the market overall is diminishing, they seek to do so all the more.
732 Many other products—teabags, toothpaste, breakfast cereals—have promotional product attached to them from time to time that is focused on keeping people loyal and stopping them purchasing the cheaper alternative with a Tesco, Sainsbury's or Asda label.
§ Mr. Dobson
My understanding is that the coupons are there to keep people buying what they have been buying. As one of the biggest problems with an addiction is that it is hard to get off it, surely we do not need a commercial incentive for people to stay on the product. Perhaps we could come up with a coupon that is redeemable only when one gives up.
§ Mr. Greenway
That is a contradiction in terms. Many people have given up cigarette smoking—and the more the merrier. The people who collect the coupons are regular smokers who stick to the same brand in order to get their bone china or their television. The impact on their smoking habit is at most negligible.
The industry has accepted that the Government want to ban the coupons, so to that extent the argument is over. I made my point simply to draw attention to the fact that measures can have unforeseen adverse consequences.
The voluntary agreement largely regulated sports sponsorship for many years. I believe that it contributed hugely to the reduction in smoking over recent years. The hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) who, sadly, is not in his place, raised the question of the taskforce. I would like to contrast the fortunes of various sports, all of which are reliant on tobacco sponsorship.
A number of right hon. and hon. Members have mentioned Formula 1 motor racing. From what has been said, one wonders why it has been given an extension. We understand that the global argument is the reason. Formula 1 and snooker have been given until 2006—continuing with existing sponsorships; they cannot have new ones—to find alternative sponsors.
That contrasts sharply with the world of darts, which has to terminate its present arrangements by 2003. A few months ago, I received a letter from the British Darts Organisation, and the position has not changed since then. It referred to the taskforce and to the unfairness of the situation. The general secretary/director, Olly Croft, made this point:The "Task Force" was simply a gesture to give the impression we were being given assistance. In truth, there probably isn't a business out there which can replace the funding we receive from Imperial Tobacco … Our main concern is that we only have until 2003 to save our sport.I hope that the Minister is listening, because there is a need for fresh thinking. The letter continues:What would help enormously is an extension to 2006 like Formula One and snooker. We can fulfil the Government criteria of being a global sport …The number of countries which are members of the World Darts Federation or associate international members of the British Darts Organisation shows that that claim can be justified.
It seems to me, and to many others who have considered the matter, that it is perverse for the Government to say that two sports are global and can have the extension to 2006, while other sports, such as darts and one or two others that have been mentioned, cannot. I hope that the Government will reconsider that issue.
733 I believe that clause 9 is capable of conflicting interpretation. In all these sponsorships, the products themselves are not promoted. In many instances, the name of the tobacco manufacturer is promoted, rather than the product.
I am concerned that when promotional activity comes to an end, the health warnings that have been associated with it—particularly in sport—in recent years will also come to an end. It is important that the Government appreciate that if they introduce a complete ban on all tobacco advertising and sponsorship, they will also have to introduce substantial advertising in relation to the health issue. I share the thoughts of some Labour Members and of some of my right hon. and hon. Friends about the evil of tobacco and of smoking.
Much has been said about young people, particularly girls, smoking. It flies in the face of logic to think that Imperial Tobacco sponsoring the world darts championships somehow encourages teenage girls to smoke cigarettes. I cannot see the link. It is much more likely that young girls think that smoking is cool and regard it as a way of keeping their weight down. They do not see the promotional material associated with sports; rather, in every television programme that they watch, young women of their age and slightly older—the people they look up to—smoke cigarettes as part of the plot. Earlier, we heard that even catwalk models have a cigarette in their hand—to show glamour.
The Government have a duty to examine such matters. If they believe that influences such as advertising, promotions and so on encourage smoking, they must pay attention to all the behaviours that persuade young people to smoke.
§ Mr. David Taylor
If the Government were to pursue the course outlined by the hon. Gentleman and dissuade the arts and entertainment industry from such product exposure, is it not possible that Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen and Daily Mail leader writers would leap to their word processors and describe that as the latest example of iniquitous political correctness?
§ Mr. Greenway
I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, but our society discourages the showing on prime-time television of a number of behaviours. I merely make the point that it is illogical for the Government to single out advertising and promotions where clearly there is no link between that vulnerable age group and the activity that they want to ban, while other activities—as the House in general agrees—do encourage such young people to smoke.
§ Mr. Dobson
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that as there is such a high incidence of models and supermodels 734 smoking on the catwalk, it would at least be a good idea to examine the relationship between the tobacco industry and the fashion industry?
§ Mr. Greenway
I have made that point. I suppose that I am trying to make two points at the same time. The first is that what the Government have singled out is not the cause of the problem that they want to solve. The second is that, if the Government are serious about solving the problem, that relationship is one of the matters that must be tackled.
There is a third element: whatever the provisions of the Bill, the tobacco industry will rightly find other forms of promotion to ensure awareness of the major manufacturers. For example, the Bill would permit Imperial Tobacco to sponsor a production by Opera North in Leeds—heaven knows the company could do with the money—
§ Mr. Greenway
Carmen would be a good choice. However, all that Imperial Tobacco could show was that the production was sponsored by Imperial Tobacco—for that small mercy, we give much thanks. Imperial Tobacco would not be able to blazon its name all around the Grand Theatre—nor would it want to do so.
Given that this matter has a European origin, there is real concern in sport—as well as in other organisations—that, when the ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship is a done deal, the Government will turn their attention to something else, and that that could well be alcohol. When the Secretary of State responded to my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh), he rightly said that alcohol in moderation does not pose the same problems as tobacco. The case for a ban on alcohol advertising and promotion could not be made on the basis of those criteria. However, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, or the Under-Secretary in winding up the debate, can assure the House that the Government realise that a similar draconian ban on alcohol promotion would be a disaster for many sports.
It is interesting that Carling has given up its sponsorship of the premier league, but the only real bidder to take over as sponsor is Budweiser—another drinks manufacturer. One of the world's premier steeplechases is sponsored by Martell. The House must be alert to the damage that would be done if such sponsorships were ended. That damage goes way beyond any case that has been made by those who support the ban.
I have made it clear that I personally regard smoking as a distasteful habit I would not worry if everyone gave up smoking. However, a ban on the promotion of any legal product raises a difficult issue of principle. That principle is conceded in the Bill. Tobacco is a legal product, yet the House is being asked to ban its promotion and advertisement. That leaves wide open the prospect that the same argument will be extended to other products.
My personal view is that strengthened voluntary codes, which has achieve I much so far, would have been preferable. I hope that the Government achieve their modest but important objective of a 2.5 per cent. cut in tobacco smoking, although I suspect that they might have achieved it any way and that, if they do not, it will be 735 because of the problem of illegal importation. Having listened to much of the debate, I think that the differences between the parties have been over -stated; our objectives are shared, it is our methods that are the cause of disagreement. The significant reduction in smoking under the previous Conservative Government convinces me that we have every right to put our arguments and concerns about the Bill before the House tonight.
§ 9.7 pm
§ Mr. Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)
Sometimes the historic significance of legislation is not always understood when the House passes it. For example, Harold Wilson's Government will be remembered for many things, but their most important and enduring legacy is their Open university legislation. This debate has not been widely attended. Nevertheless, the Bill will probably be one of this Labour Government's more important measures and will have an enduring and positive impact on the lives of many people in this country. I am therefore proud not only to vote for the Bill, but to have caught your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to speak in its support.
I approach the Bill as a socialist. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ooh!"]. I shall tell the House why I do so. This is an example of how the interests, influence and clout of the big battalions—those industries with lots of money that can lobby effectively to maintain a pernicious, evil trade—are used to persuade decent people that it is somehow wrong to begin to curtail she industries' selfish interests. That underlines what is often wrong with our society, and we must start to tackle it.
I also speak as a socialist in response to all that has been said about the age groups to which the marketing of tobacco products is directed. Those who are most vulnerable are the poorest and most disadvantaged members of our society—groups whose indices of poor health are among the highest. I am thinking many of my constituents who would do all they could to break away from addiction to tobacco products; they know that they are addicted. They would we I come Parliament's intervention to begin the process of diminishing the likelihood of such products being purchased by them and future generations.
§ Mr. David Taylor
My hon. Friend says that the marketing of tobacco is often focused on certain age groups and social groups. Is there not a risk that, as tobacco consumption in western countries steadily decreases, as it has been doing, tobacco companies will try in all sorts of illicit ways to find a market for their noxious weed in developing countries?
§ Mr. Mackinlay
If my hon. Friend will be patient, I shall address that point, which is a side issue to the Bill.
Alas, the Bill does not go far enough. One of the things I was going to say in my peroration—I may repeat it still—is that I hope that the Bill is only the start of a comprehensive strategy both to drive down demand for tobacco here in the United Kingdom and to frustrate and prevent the efforts of those evil companies to market their products elsewhere in the world where people are extremely vulnerable. The Bill does not deal with that, 736 but my hon. Friend, other hon. Members and I give the Government notice tonight that we intend to press them again and again on the subject, because it is a moral issue.
§ Mr. Mackinlay
Before I do so, let me tell the hon. Lady that although neither I nor any other hon. Member is indifferent to the impact of a ban on existing jobs, the Bill will not have an immediate effect. No sudden social or political armageddon will afflict those employed by the tobacco manufacturing industry tomorrow morning—the process will be a gradual one. No one can rely on arguments about the impact on jobs. Slave traders could have used such arguments—no doubt, they did—a century and more ago.
§ Mrs. Spelman
I rise to help the hon. Gentleman put pressure on the Minister to examine the sale of tobacco in developing countries by making him aware that my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Devon (Mr. Streeter), who is my party's international development spokesman, has written to tobacco companies appealing to them to extend the voluntary code themselves to sales in developing countries.
§ Mr. Mackinlay
That is like banging on a door with a wet sponge—the companies are not going to do that. They have duties to their shareholders to maximise profits and minimise losses. If the hon. Lady is so naive as to expect them to do as they have been asked, we might as well give up. The fact is that law is required to protect and promote those who have a social conscience and who want to change the basis of their trading. I shall deal with the pathetic Opposition in a moment. First, I turn my attention to the Government, to award some plus marks, to tell them that they could do better, and, in one area, to offer the criticism that is my trait.
My hon. Friend the Member for North-West Leicestershire (Mr. Taylor) mentioned what was happening in other countries. My notes contain the phrase "West cigarettes". The gangsters of the tobacco companies have, of course, got in on the new and burgeoning market economies of central Europe, where they have the audacity to market a product called West cigarettes in a deliberate effort to convey to the young people of central Europe the notion that the product is sophisticated and all part of the great leap forward to freedom that started in 1989. That scandalous, spiteful, petty and corrupt marketing ploy is illustrative of the point my hon. Friend was making in his intervention.
Mention has been made of the disparity in the treatment of darts and Formula 1. I think it is disgraceful that the Labour party ever tainted its hands with that Formula 1 money. We beat our breast and recognise that. I always welcome the sinner who repents, and we will never do it again—we had better not, anyway. I am convinced that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and others know that it was wrong, and that it must not happen again. Will we get a comparable undertaking from the official Opposition?
The hon. Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) spoke fairly well and I listened to everything that he said, but he went off at a tangent. No one is suggesting that there should be legislation to reduce sponsorship by the alcohol industry.
737 As so often happens, the Opposition are trying to play it both ways. On a moral level, many Opposition Members share our concern that this wretched product is killing people, but they are under instructions from their leadership, and to some extent they have been bought by the industry. They convey a message of social concern, but acquiesce in an absurd and wicked trade.
The Opposition claim that the promoters of the Bill do not understand the market incentive industry. I do. We have been told repeatedly that the objective is to maintain market share and to prevent others trespassing into that market. That is true, but another objective is to promote the product and to lock people into addiction. There are sometimes different strategies for each objective, but the strategies are complementary. Of course, tobacco promotion is designed to lock people into addiction—
§ Mr. Mackinlay
No, I cannot give way. The Whip has, rightly, been making signals to me. I hope that my hon. Friend will understand.
The Opposition amendment criticises the Government for not doing more to combat smuggling and bootlegging. That is what I find most repugnant about the Opposition—if they had tabled an amendment calling on the Government to do more, that would have been legitimate; but they are using their charge as an excuse for not doing any of the things outlined in the measure. The Bill and other measures are required on the statute book, but there should be increased prosecution of bootlegging.
It is interesting to discover from a parliamentary answer that I received tonight that, prior to 1996, there are no figures for the loss to the Exchequer from tobacco smuggling. That lot—the Opposition—acquiesced in the corrupt smuggling when it began, and now it has got out of hand. The Government should do more.
When I watched a fly-on-the-wall television documentary about four weeks ago, I was disappointed by the way in which Customs and Excise were pursuing the matter. Someone who had a carload of bootleg products was allowed to go through, despite the fact that he had been warned previously and that was on record.
The Government should put some effort into stopping the sale of tobacco products out of bags in markets, invariably to people who are already disadvantaged, but in my view the Government are not doing enough to hit the big battalions. Much more could and should have been done both by the Conservative Government and by the present Labour Government. I welcome the introduction of new technology to combat smuggling in the port of Tilbury in my constituency, for example, but we needed more, and sooner, in all the principal ports of the United Kingdom.
I received a parliamentary answer tonight to my question about the extent of smuggling of bootleg products from countries in the European Union and outside. It is obvious from the reply that the Government do not know. It is an important issue, but I imagine that the Foreign Office is sensitive about it. There is clearly a great deal of smuggling via Mediterranean countries outside the EU. The Government's not knowing the extent of the problem underscores the fact that, to coin a phrase, 738 there is insufficient joined-up government in tackling it. I hope that once various Departments have read tonight's debate, which is front; d by health spokespersons but with innocent parties also involved, there will be joined-up government resulting in a greater strategy being brought to bear on combatine smuggling, especially that from outside the European Union.
I shall wind up, as I have described the way things are. Basically, as win a lot of things in the House, the Government and the Opposition are both to blame and, in some respects, are boll the same—or both their arguments have legitimacy. The Government need to do more to combat bootlegging. Other hon. Members will have experience of legitimate retailers, desperate not to buy bootleg products but no longer able to compete and so falling into a difficult situation. We owe it to them to combat bootlegging.
As I said, criticisms must be made now, but it was the Conservative Government who allowed the matter to get out of hand. We could and should have done more, but we are addressing the matter now. Equally, however, the Opposition, in coming along and voting against this moral measure, are simply revolting. Decades from now, people will look back in amazement at the fact that the Conservative party whipped its Members into supporting an industry that was killing large numbers of people every day. Conservative members will stand condemned by history for having done so. At least the Government have begun the process or' fighting back against a pernicious trade.
§ Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)
I had better declare my interest straight away as possibly the only person to take part in the debate who retails tobacco products. I speak with a lot of experience, as my grandfather started the business in the 1920s, my father took it over and I have worked in it for many years.
It is always a delight to follow the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mack inlay). If he was as full of common sense as he was of p fission, we might have made progress on the issue. At least my heart is warmed by the fact that he and the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) have spoken up on behalf of businesses just like mine and wish to protect our businesses by introducing the Bill and by cracking down on smuggling.
My father died of cancer at the age of 59. He was a 40 to 60-a-day man and, as a child, I remember him smoking good old Woodbines, Capstan, Players and Senior Service. I d o not think he could have smoked stronger cigarettes. Only when he was dying did he switch brands to Silk Cui and eventually gave up smoking altogether. Sadly, however, it was all too late. I come to this argument not only as someone who now owns a business and retails what is a legal product. I would like to see an enormous reduction in the consumption of tobacco, but, even if the Government banned tobacco, we would not attain zero consumption in this country.
We ought to look carefully at the arguments about how to ban tobacco consuumption and ask whether we will be able to do that by means of the Bill. My answer is that we will not. However, I urge the Government to consider retailers when introducing any regulations under the Bill, and to use common sense. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) suggested that everything 739 should be served behind shutters—almost under-the-counter stuff. I ask him to spend a day with his local newsagent or tobacconist and m e how practical his proposal is then. It is simply not realistic, and we need realistic regulations. I am sure that tobacconists, newsagents and retailers will hell whenever they can, especially to get across the message about just how damaging cigarette and tobacco consumption generally is. That will not damage my business too much, and it will not damage many other businesses. The exception is perhaps the specialist tobacconist, if which this country has far too few these days.
There has been a general decline in consumption, but also in the percentage of profit that is made on the price of cigarettes. Tobacconists cannot rely on tobacco these days; it is on other products that they make a lot of money. When people give up cigarettes, they tend to go on to confectionery pretty sharply. In percentage profit terms, more money is made on a quarter of sweets—we do not want any of that metric nonsense hi re—than on a packet of cigarettes, so I am sure that other avenues will be found.
The problem is how to get the message across. I am sure that peer pressure influences many youngsters. Advertising will not have such an influence. Young people will not open their newspapers, look at advertisements and say, "Ah yes, I must go out and buy some Silk Cut or Marlboro or whatever". Much of the current advertising seeks to entice people to change brands. A number of companies, many of which are international, are involved in the cigarette and tobacco business, and they want to promote their brands in whatever way they can.
§ Mr. Swayne
Has it occurred to my hon. Friend that tobacco manufacturers produce a number of brands that they market heavily to compete against other brands of their own? The reason for that is precisely the same as that which makes a toothpaste manufacturer use such marketing: it is a means of discouraging new entrants into the market who will be deterred by high marketing costs, but not by low production costs. That is the reason for such behaviour.
§ Mr. Evans
I agree with my hon. Friend. There are a number of brands that we call own brands, of which Red Band is the one that my business sells. Such brands are sold on price, as many people on limited incomes go for the cheapest cigarette, whatever it happens to be. I suspect that the price of many brands will be reduced if advertising goes out of the window. There will be price competition, but the legitimate tobacco price is extremely high. Indeed, I do not know how anybody can afford to smoke these days, it is so expensive. A lot of price cutting will occur if we ban advertising, as that will be tobacco companies' only means of inducing consumers to buy their products.
I gave the hon. Member for Chorley an example involving hand-rolling tobacco. Some time ago, a brand that was not advertised at all in this country achieved a huge share of the market because of the enormous amount of smuggling that was occurring. The two well-known tobaccos are Golden Virginia and Old Holborn: this one came from nowhere. About a third of customers were smoking a hand-rolling tobacco of which I had never 740 heard, as it had never been advertised and was never available from my wholesaler. People were buying it merely on the basis of price.
There are two prongs to my attack. I shall mention them later, but the Government need to adopt those suggestions more than to introduce the Bill. I believe that the Bill is probably mere political correctness. That is what it is all about. I am sure that the Government are well intentioned, but I do not think that the Bill will have any effect. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway), I think that the warning displayed on tobacco products and advertisements is far more persuasive than the advertisements themselves. A tobacco company can put anything into advertisements. One has to look long and hard at some of them before one can work out what they are promoting and what brand they involve. It is likely to be the warning underneath an advertisement that tells people that it relates to a tobacco product. That is far more persuasive to me than anything else.
We know that, even if we ban advertising, introduce proper education and stop smuggling, it will not mean that everybody gives up. Indeed, although it is beyond belief, there are nurses and doctors who smoke.
§ Mr. Evans
I suspect that everybody who smokes wants to give up. I do not know anybody who does not smoke who wants to start. I have not spoken to anybody who says, "I don't smoke, but I'd love to take it up some day." Of course, it happens the other way around, and smokers are all looking for an excuse or reason to give up. Smoking is addictive, and there are nurses and doctors who see and live with the consequences every day who continue to do it.
Speaking as a retailer, I believe that the measure will have no impact. However, education will have an effect. As vice-chairman of the all-party drugs misuse group, I believe that we should do more to educate on all substance abuse—that covers tobacco. We should consider a good programme of research and education for our youngsters. We cannot start too early; we should ram home the message time and again. I have heard people suggest that smoking is cool. However, proper education can convey the message that it is unattractive.
We should also act on smuggling. The price of cigarettes is a more important factor than others. There must be a reason for the increase in smoking in this country since 1996. I believe that it is due to the price mechanism. In my business, we are selling more hand-rolling tobacco papers than ever. However, sales of hand-rolling tobacco have almost dried up; we are hardly selling any. My business is not unique because that is happening throughout the country.
My business is in Swansea, and although the tobacco arrives at our ports, it gets to wherever there is a market. That happens because of prices. Will the Government consider the measures that they should take? The hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham) mentioned indicative levels. People can bring in thousands of cigarettes and claim that they are for their use. That is unrealistic. The Government should reconsider the measures that are being introduced to clamp down on smuggling. The illicit trade exists; it has no health warnings and no bans on sales to under-16s. The only consideration is how to make a quick buck, and the illicit trade does that wherever possible.
§ Mr. Kelvin Hopkins (Luton, North)
I strongly support the Bill and I wish that it had been introduced many years ago. The measure should go further; for example, the deadlines should be brought forward. Additional measures should be introduced—perhaps not in the Bill—to counter the attractions of smoking, especially to the young.
I accept that advertising is about market share, but it is also about suggesting that smoking is respectable, cool and stylish. When I was young, I smoked 35 cigarettes a day. I was foolish then; perhaps I have learned a little wisdom in the 32 years since I gave up. I have also become much richer. I estimate that I have not spent £50,000 on cigarettes. I use that sum when I speak to young people to try and persuade them not to smoke. The financial argument is persuasive.
Cigarette smoking is strongly and quickly addictive. Smuggling is about encouraging a loss leader. The Government and the retailers, not the tobacco companies, make the loss. The idea is to get people addicted: catch them young, get them hooked and sell to them for the rest of their lives. I found it difficult to give up. Perhaps young people believe that they can give up smoking. However, I know many people of my age who desperately want to give up but cannot because the addiction is too strong.
Addiction means that there is no free market. The hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) referred to the market often. However, markets depend on elasticity of demand, which can be reduced by making a product addictive. People are prepared to pay more for the same quantity because they have to have the drug.
Young people and poorer people smoke more cigarettes than others. Their health is damaged in other ways, because they spend perhaps less on good food, and on going to the swimming pool and activities that would make life healthier, more enjoyable and possibly longer.
I support the Opposition's view that we must have stronger measures to control smuggling, not only to benefit retailers but to prevent young people from buying cheap tobacco and becoming addicted. Smuggling also creates an atmosphere of petty criminality. It is not good for society when people get into the habit of effectively breaking the law daily. We should have stricter controls on the smuggling not only of cigarettes but of alcohol and illicit drugs. I emphasise that point, which I have made in writing to Ministers several times.
§ Mrs. Eileen Gordon (Romford)
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Hopkins). I entirely support the Bill, which I also see as a tribute to my late friend Audrey Wise, who felt strongly about the issue. When we took part in the Health Committee's inquiry into the tobacco industry, she really went to town on the industry representatives and the advertisers.
I have the minutes of the evidence here. What haunted me as I heard it—and several of my colleagues felt the same—was the thought of a friend who had died of lung cancer. I had seen him, once a fine strong man, gradually turn into a bag of bones.
The tobacco companies are killing off 120,000 of their customers each year in this country. They have to replace them, and advertising is part of that—which is why we should ban it.
§ Mrs. Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
I shall begin by testing the House's collective memory of English literature. I wonder who else remembers Rudyard Kipling's "A Smuggler's Song":
For "the wall", we might as well read "the advertising"; and "the Gentlemen"?—well, the white van trade. Nothing much has changed since Kipling's day, because nothing will work as long as society is complicit in the illegal import of tobacco. While that continues, we have a major problem on our hands.
- Five and twenty ponies,
- Trotting through the dark—
- Brandy for the Parson,
- 'Baccy for the Clerk;
- Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
- Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
§ Mr. David Taylor
Will the hon. Lady give way? Mrs. Spelman: I want to make a little progress.
Here we all are, discussing tobacco and debating legislation that misses the most important aspect of the problem facing the country. That was the major motivation for our amendment. It is true that smuggling is a serious problem, but again the Government have failed to define it correctly, and are therefore unable to tackle the cause.
The prevalence of smoking has increased under the Government, notwithstanding efforts to educate people about the health risks Money was thrown at the problem at the time of the millennium—I well remember the "quit smoking" campaign—but the prevalence is rising. Such measures, like those in the Bill, ignore the fact that most of the increase in smoking is due to the steep rise in illegally imported tobacco.
There are no accurate figures to quantify the volume of tobacco products that enter the country illegally. My hon. Friend the Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) drew attention to the gap that had been caused by our inability to obtain answers to our questions. Questions have been tabled to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the level of illegal imports, and to the Home Office on how many people have been stopped and how successful prosecutions have begin; but the information is, as I have said, very difficult to obtain. How are we supposed to do our job as an Opposition if we cannot get information from Government?
The Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), seems to find it funny that the Government cannot answer our question about how much illegal tobacco has come into our country, bum I think that that is serious. All that the hon. Lady and I can rely on is the tobacco industry's own estimate that one in four cigarettes is illegally imported. How does it reach that estimate? It is rocket science: people go to football stadiums and pick up cigarette packets the t have been dropped. That enables the industry to "guesstimate" the percentage that has been imported illegally.
Just in case the Secretary of State begins to feel a bit comfortable, let me tell him that he has a real problem on his hands. While average of one in four cigarettes may be illegally imported, in his neck of the woods the figure 743 rises to 48 per cent. That, surely, is a serious matter. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to point out that some of the more vulnerable members of society live in parts of the north-east, and have succumbed to an addiction to illegally imported tobacco. It is a fact that 80 per cent. of lone parents smoke, and that 60 per cent. of the unemployed smoke. The Government are currently failing to protect those vulnerable people with any substantial measure that would successfully tackle addiction.
Having established that the Government are ignoring the real problem associated with tobacco, let us consider the workability of the Bill. That, after all, is what we are here to do.
§ Mr. Dobson
Does the hon. Lady accept that every one of those smuggled cigarettes is produced by an allegedly reputable tobacco company? Is it not about time that tobacco companies did something about the smuggling of their product—[H0N. MEMBERS: "The Government."] No; that is like saying that the Government are responsible for smuggling. Smugglers are responsible for smuggling. It is quite clear that the tobacco companies themselves make a fortune from smuggled cigarettes. It is their job to stop it.
§ Mrs. Spelman
The right hon. Gentleman made a substantial speech, and he has now made a long intervention. Just in case that intervention should create a false impression, I should reiterate the statement of my hon. Friend the Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) —that the Opposition have no love of tobacco companies. We want vulnerable people to be protected, the law to be upheld and smuggling to be curtailed. Any suggestion that there is an alternative motivation is completely wrong.
It is worth recalling that the Bill started life as botched European legislation. This would not be the first time, and may not be the last, that we have had to pick up legislative fragments from that part of the world. Nevertheless, the Opposition share the Government's aim of reducing the prevalence of smoking. It is of cow se unacceptable that 125,000 people die each year from smoking-related causes.
§ Mrs. Spelman
No, I shall not; I have already had to take a long intervention in my short speech from the right hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson).
The question is about the Bill's practical workability. I invite hon. Members to go to their local newsagents who supply a large variety of magazines—273 different magazines in the case of my newsagent—and to talk to them about the practicalities of looking through each of those magazines. How are newsagents supposed to look through each magazine to establish whether it carries tobacco advertising? The provision is simply unworkable.
Those who have spoken for retailers have made the point that they are the casualties of the Government's failure to legislate on smuggling. Retailers have lost their quite legitimate businesses because of the Government's failure to legislate on smuggling.
The Government will have to tackle the fact that the tax differential between British tobacco and continental tobacco is so great that it is driving quite legitimate 744 electronic trade in the product, using modern media methods. I have severe doubts that the Bill will succeed in tackling the internet sale of illegal tobacco. Where do any of those websites, as global businesses, reside?
This is a funny Bill that is constructed in an extraordinary way, specifying tobacco-sales offences on which people may be found guilty, but then providing a series of defences and reasons why they should be let off the charges. One defence provided in the Bill is that someone simply did not know what he was doing or was unable to foresee the effects of his action. Such a defence seems, in the words of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson), substantially to reduce the Bill's effectiveness.
A large part of the Bill is devoted, more seriously, to brand sharing. I think that we would all do well to be aware that many non-tobacco products are sold bearing names that originally derived from tobacco companies. One trading company—World Wide Brands International—sells clothes, bags, shoes and other products using the name Camel, and initially it used the Camel tobacco logo. Subsequently, it completely changed its logo, and it now calls itself Camel Active. However, its products would be banned by the Bill.
Consequently, the Government have invited that company to suggest amendments that recognise the type of diversification that it has undergone. I am disquieted at the idea that it is all right for that company to diversify, and that a provision to help it may be cobbled together for inclusion in the Bill, but that the Government are not quite so keen—unless I misheard the Secretary of State earlier—on the tobacco companies diversifying. Surely we want the tobacco companies to diversify, if at all possible, and to produce something other than tobacco.
We had a substantial exchange on the issue of sports advertising and tobacco, and various Labour Members quite rightly pointed out that the preferential treatment enjoyed by Formula 1 and snooker creates a very unlevel playing field for other sports. It is perverse that Formula 1 would have no difficulty in replacing its tobacco sponsorship; in fact, tobacco sponsorship is already declining. However, Formula 1 has an extension, no doubt because of the special relationship that the Government enjoy with Bernie Ecclestone. Yet sports such as darts—referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) —and other minor sports will have much less chance of replacing tobacco advertising. The Government could at the very least have created a level playing field.
Why cannot we take a lead from other countries where sports are now sponsored by health funding sources to relieve them of tobacco advertising, sending the strong signal that sport does your health good? If that can happen in other places, why not here?
We are legislating for a ban on tobacco advertising on the eve of a general election, ticking the box on the last of Labour's manifesto commitments with a token measure that entirely misses the whole problem with tobacco in this country. That is a familiar pattern that the Opposition are used to. This is yet another failure of the Labour Government to make a correct diagnosis of a problem and propose legislation to deal with the cause of it. Resources are then misplaced and the electorate is disappointed in the end by a failure to deliver.
§ The Minister for Public Health (Yvette Cooper)
I welcome the opportunity to wind up what has been a detailed and thorough debate on the Bill. We have had some informed contributions, and I pay particular tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) for his speech on the impact of advertising on children, for his work in setting in train a lot of the action on smoking and for his work on health inequalities.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) mentioned the marketing strategies of the tobacco industry. I thank the Health Committee for its work on eliciting fascinating and comprehensive information from the tobacco companies. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron)—who was the first to propose a private Member's Bill on the subject—made a strong argument about the evidence in favour of a ban on advertising. My hon. Friend the Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith) welcomed the fact that the Scottish Parliament decided to act under the Sewel convention for United Kingdom-wide legislation.
I pay tribute to the right hon. Member for East Devon (Sir P. Emery) who, against the views of those on his Front Bench, referred to the health risks of smoking, particularly in pregnancy and to those with asthma. I welcome the comments of the hon. Member for North Devon (Mr. Harvey) about the strong evidence in favour of a ban. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay), the hon. Gentleman raised the issue of global action. I certainly support that and we are taking that initiative forward through the World Health Organisation. He raised a series of points that we will discuss in Committee, although I will try to cover them in the time that I have left.
The hon. Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) referred to statistics. I can tell him that the biennial surveys of smoking have become annual from 2000; that will help us to get more up-to-date information. I am happy to look at further proposals to improve the information available to us.
The hon. Members for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) and for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) refused to accept the evidence that exists and decided instead to defend the freedom of the tobacco companies to promote their lethal product in any way they choose.
My hon. Friends the Members for West Bromwich, West (Mr. Bailey), for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle), for Glasgow, Anniesland (John Robertson) and for Luton, North (Mr. Hopkins), as well as the hon. Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Morgan), set out the benefits of the advertising ban.
The hon. Members for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) and for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) used a curious argument; we should not ban tobacco advertising as we would be getting rid of the warnings as well. If the tobacco companies thought that the combined effect of their advertising and the warnings was to reduce tobacco consumption, they would pull their advertisements. We only need the warnings because we have to handle £100 million of tobacco advertising.
§ Yvette Cooper
That is nonsense and I will come later to the issue of tobacco advertising increasing consumption.
The hon. Members for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) and for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) did their best, but once their party decided, in the words of the hon. Member for Woodspring, to chow e the tobacco industry rather than public health, they were always going to find it rather sticky to come up with health arguments to defend their case.
§ Yvette Cooper
The hon. Gentleman said a month ago that, faced with the choice between the tobacco industry and public health, he felt that public health should take priority. The evident e presented throughout the debate has shown that public health will derive huge benefit from a ban on tobacco advertising, and the hon. Gentleman has clearly chosen the interests of the tobacco industry over the interests of public health.
I shall come to the hon. Gentleman's claims about the wonders of the voluntary agreement, and the question of whether tobacco advertising affects children, in a minute. Let us start with a few facts. The hon. Gentleman claimed that the number of smokers fell throughout the Conservative Administration and rose under Labour. In 1948, 52 per cent. of the population were smokers. That proportion fell steadily for 46 years, until, in 1994—under the Conservative Government—it stopped falling.
In 1994, while Conservative Ministers were talking about the importance of voluntary agreements and opposing an advertising ban in Europe, the trend of 46 years stopped. Between 1994 and 1996, under the Tory Government, smoking prevalence rose for the first time since 1948, from 26 per cent. to 28 per cent. So much for the hon. Gentleman's marvellous voluntary agreement and his party's marvellous smoking policy.
The latest figures which cover the first year of the Labour Government show smokers falling from 28 per cent. to 27 per cent. of the population in 1998. It is true that smoking among young people has continued to rise, but it has been rising since 1992. It rose throughout the whole of the previous Parliament.
I agree that the causes of the rises and falls in the numbers of smoker are complex and many. However, the difference between the Labour party and the Conservatives is that the Conservatives believe that we should carry on with the Tory policies that were no longer bringing smoking rates down. They were policies that left smoking rates rising and failed to address the deep-rooted inequalities related to smoking.
The Government believe that that is just not enough, and that we have to do more to ensure that the falls in smoking are echoed across every group in society. That is why we are rolling cut the biggest programme of publicly 747 funded smoking cessation in Europe, with Zyban and—shortly, I hope—nicotine replacement therapy available on prescription. That is also why eve are funding major sustained health education campaigns, with particular support for pregnant women and ethnic minorities, and why we have—for good reason—introduced the Bill to ban tobacco advertising.
Many hon. Members have described the links between smoking and ill health. Each year, 120,000 people die in the United Kingdom—more than 13 people every hour—from illnesses caused by smoking. Smoking is also one of the biggest causes of the health inequalities that pervade our society.
§ Yvette Cooper
The hon. Gentleman did not contribute during the debate, and I must try to respond to all the points that have been raised.
I strongly support adults' right to choose to smoke, and to choose to spend their money on legal products. That is their choice, and it is not under threat from the Bill. Nothing in the Bill will stop adults having the choice to smoke, to purchase tobacco or to receive information about the tobacco products in which they are interested. It will stop the tobacco companies having the right to use their considerable profits to bombard children and adults, smokers and non-smokers, with seductive messages to persuade them to smoke.
The tobacco companies have made billions over the decades by selling an addictive pre duct that kills. They use £100 million of those profits each year to promote those products afresh, not only to current smokers considering which brand to buy, but to current smokers struggling to give up, to former smokers trying to maintain their resolve, and to non-smokers who might be tempted to start.
Given the health risks, I believe t tat it is right that we should support smokers who want to give up and right that we should work to reduce the number of children who start smoking. The tobacco advertising ban is key to that. For a start, tobacco advertising clearly makes it harder for people to give up. In the last few years, a Silk Cut Ultra advertisement has carried the huge strapline:JAN ONE: What better time to move to 1 mg?As hon. Members may know, on 1 January many people make the new year's resolution to try to give up smoking, but that advertisement explicitly trios to persuade them that shifting brand is a better new year's resolution after all. That explicitly challenges someone's right to choose to give up smoking. Even though 70 per cent. of smokers say that they want to stop, smoking is addictive and hard to give up and tobacco advertising makes giving up harder.
Tobacco advertising also makes it more likely that children will start smoking. Many Members, including my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, described the evidence that tobacco advertising is targeted at and appeals to young people and also affects children. I want to cover a couple of points in particular. The tobacco industry claims that it targets only young adults, not children, and the Tories claim that a voluntary ban is sufficient to protect children. How aver, between June 1998 and May 1999, the committee monitoring the voluntary advertising agreement found 11 examples of posters carrying tobacco advertising in sight of schools.
748 The idea that children see tobacco advertisements only in sight of schools is ludicrous. If the tobacco industry accepts that there is a case for removing advertising in sight of schools because it affects children, it should also accept the case for removing hoardings anywhere else where children might see them. The Conservatives accept the case for removing advertising hoardings near schools. Why can they not accept that there is absolutely no logic to stopping advertising outside the local primary school while tolerating it opposite the swimming pool, the toy shop or the bus stop where children get the bus to school? Children do not open their eyes only when they walk through the school gates. They have their eyes open on the way to school, on the way to the shops and in the car as their parents drive them around.
Hon. Members raised a series of specific issues which I am sure we will cover in Committee. In particular, they raised questions about brand sharing. While there is no intention to undermine genuine business diversification, as hon. Members pointed out, the potential for tobacco companies to get round the ban with branded T-shirts, boots and micro-scooters is considerable. That is why the matter is covered in the Bill.
The issues surrounding sponsorship have been rehearsed many times in the House. The Government signed up to the European Union directive and the Prime Minister made it clear in the House that it is not the intention of the tobacco advertising ban to harm sports, but the bottom line is clear: all tobacco sponsorship will be banned by 2006 at the latest—of sports, of theatrical events, of music, of everything else as well. Hon. Members asked about proposals to prevent advertising on the internet. We will need to discuss that in Committee.
All the talk about tobacco smuggling is a complete red herring. Action on smuggling and action on advertising are not alternatives or an either/or. I support action on smuggling, which is why I support the measures taken by the Government, who are investing more than £200 million to counter it. However, that is not a reason not to support a ban on advertising as well. It is absolutely right that we ban tobacco advertising and take action on smuggling as well.
The Opposition set out their priorities: to back the tobacco industry over protecting health and to back the rights of the tobacco industry over the rights of our children and support for a healthy start to their lives. The Bill will not prevent individual choice, but it will prevent the tobacco industry from using its mighty financial muscle to advertise and promote a product that kills. For the sake of the children who will be tomorrow's victims of lung cancer, coronary heart disease and other diseases, I commend the Bill to the House.
Question put, That the amendment be made: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 127, Noes 316.751
|Division No. 70]||[9.59 pm|
|Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)||Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)|
|Amess, David||Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia|
|Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James||Brady, Graham|
|Baldry, Tony||Brazier, Julian|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||Browning, Mrs Angela|
|Bercow, John||Burns, Simon|
|Beresford, Sir Paul||Butterfill, John|
|Blunt, Crispin||Cash, William|
|Boswell, Tim||Chope, Christopher|
|Clappison, James||McIntosh, Miss Anne|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)||MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Maclean, Rt Hon David|
|Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey||Major, Rt Hon John|
|Collins, Tim||Maples, John|
|Cormack, Sir Patrick||Mates, Michael|
|Cran, James||Maude, Rt Hon Francis|
|Davies, Quentin (Grantham)||May, Mrs Theresa|
|Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)||Nicholls, Patrick|
|Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen||Norman, Archie|
|Duncan, Alan||O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)|
|Duncan Smith, Iain||Ottaway, Richard|
|Evans, Nigel||Page, Richard|
|Fallon, Michael||Paice, James|
|Flight, Howard||Prior, David|
|Forth, Rt Hon Eric||Randall, John|
|Fox, Dr Liam||Redwood, Rt Hon John|
|Fraser, Christopher||Robathan, Andrew|
|Gale, Roger||Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)|
|Garnier, Edward||Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)|
|Gibb, Nick||Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)|
|Gill, Christopher||Ruffley, David|
|Gillan, Mrs Cheryl||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Gorman, Mrs Teresa||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Gray, James||Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian|
|Green, Damian||Shepherd, Richard|
|Greenway, John||Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)|
|Grieve, Dominic||Soames, Nicholas|
|Hague, Rt Hon William||Spelman, Mrs Caroline|
|Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie||Spicer, Sir Michael|
|Hammond, Philip||Spring, Richard|
|Hawkins, Nick||Steen, Anthony|
|Hayes, John||Streeter, Gary|
|Heald, Oliver||Swayne, Desmond|
|Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David||Syms, Robert|
|Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas||Tapsell, Sir Peter|
|Horam, John||Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)|
|Howard, Rt Hon Michael||Taylor, John M (Solihull)|
|Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)||Taylor, Sir Teddy|
|Hunter, Andrew||Tredinnick, David|
|Jack, Rt Hon Michael||Trend, Michael|
|Key, Robert||Tyrie, Andrew|
|King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)||Viggers, Peter|
|Kirkbride, Miss Julie||Walter, Robert|
|Laing, Mrs Eleanor||Waterson, Nigel|
|Lait, Mrs Jacqui||Wells, Bowen|
|Lansley, Andrew||Whitney, Sir Raymond|
|Leigh, Edward||Whittingdale, John|
|Letwin, Oliver||Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann|
|Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)||Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)|
|Lidington, David||Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)|
|Liliey, Rt Hon Peter||Yeo, Tim|
|Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)|
|Loughton, Tim||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Luff, Peter||Mr. Peter Atkinson and|
|Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas||Mr. Stephen Day.|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Beard, Nigel|
|Ainger, Nick||Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Beith, Rt Hon A J|
|Allan, Richard||Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)|
|Allen, Graham||Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)|
|Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E)||Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)|
|Bennett, Andrew F|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary||Benton, Joe|
|Ashton, Joe||Bermingham, Gerald|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Berry, Roger|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Blears, Ms Hazel|
|Austin, John||Blizzard, Bob|
|Bailey, Adrian||Blunkett, Rt Hon David|
|Banks, Tony||Boateng, Rt Hon Paul|
|Barron, Kevin||Bradley, Keith (Withington)|
|Battle, John||Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)|
|Bayley, Hugh||Bradshaw, Ben|
|Brand, Dr Peter||Gidley, Sandra|
|Breed, Colin||Gilroy, Mrs Linda|
|Brinton, Mrs Helen||Godman, Dr Norman A|
|Brown, Russell (Dumfries)||Goggins, Paul|
|Browne, Desmond||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Buck, Ms Karen||Gordon, Mrs Eileen|
|Burnett, John||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Burstow, Paul||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Butler, Mrs Christine||Grocott, Bruce|
|Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)||Grogan, John|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)|
|Cann, Jamie||Hall, Patrick (Bedford)|
|Caplin, Ivor||Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)|
|Casale, Roger||Hanson, David|
|Caton, Martin||Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet|
|Cawsey, Ian||Harvey, Nick|
|Chaytor, David||Healey, John|
|Clapham, Michael||Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)|
|Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)||Hendrick, Mark|
|Clark, Paul (Gillingham)||Hepburn, Stephen|
|Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)||Heppell, John|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)||Hewitt, Ms Patricia|
|Clwyd, Ann||Hill, Keith|
|Coffey, Ms Ann||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cohen, Harry||Hoey, Kate|
|Coleman, Iain||Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey|
|Colman, Tony||Hope, Phil|
|Cooper, Yvette||Hopkins, Kelvin|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)|
|Corston, Jean||Hoyle, Lindsay|
|Cotter, Brian||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Cousins, Jim||Humble, Mrs Joan|
|Crausby, David||Hurst, Alan|
|Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)||Hutton, John|
|Cummings, John||Iddon, Dr Brian|
|Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)||Illsley, Eric|
|Ingram, Rt Hon Adam|
|Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)||Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Jenkins, Brian|
|Darting, Rt Hon Alistair||Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)|
|Darvill, Keith||Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)|
|Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)|
|Davidson, Ian||Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Jones, Helen (Warrington N)|
|Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)||Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)|
|Dawson, Hilton||Joyce, Eric|
|Denham, John||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Dismore, Andrew||Keeble, Ms Sally|
|Dobbin, Jim||Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)|
|Dobson, Rt Hon Frank||Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)|
|Donohoe, Brian H||Kemp, Fraser|
|Doran, Frank||Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)|
|Drew, David||Khabra, Piara S|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Kidney, David|
|Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)||Kilfoyle, Peter|
|Edwards, Huw||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Efford, Clive||Kumar, Dr Ashok|
|Ellman, Mrs Louise||Ladyman, Dr Stephen|
|Ennis, Jeff||Lammy, David|
|Fearn, Ronnie||Lawrence, Mrs Jackie|
|Fisher, Mark||Laxton, Bob|
|Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna||Lepper, David|
|Flint, Caroline||Levitt, Tom|
|Follett, Barbara||Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||Lewis, Terry (Worsley)|
|Foster, Don (Bath)||Linton, Martin|
|Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)||Livsey, Richard|
|Foster, Michael J (Worcester)||Lock, David|
|Galbraith, Sam||Love, Andrew|
|Galloway, George||McAvoy, Thomas|
|Gapes, Mike||McCafferty, Ms Chris|
|Gardiner, Barry||McDonagh, Siobhain|
|George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)||Macdonald, Calum|
|Gerrard, Neil||McDonnell, John|
|Gibson, Dr Ian||McFall, John|
|McIsaac, Shona||Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)|
|McKenna, Mrs Rosemary||Salter, Martin|
|Mackinlay, Andrew||Sanders, Adrian|
|McNulty, Tony||Savidge, Malcolm|
|MacShane, Denis||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Mactaggart, Fiona||Shaw, Jonathan|
|McWalter, Tony||Sheerman, Barry|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Mallaber, Judy||Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)|
|Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)||Singh, Marsha|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Martlew, Eric||Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Maxton, John||Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|Meacher, Rt Hon Michael||Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)|
|Merron, Gillian||Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)|
|Michael, Rt Hon Alun|
|Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)||Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)||Smith, John (Glamorgan)|
|Milburn, Rt Hon Alan||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Miller, Andrew||Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)|
|Mitchell, Austin||Snape, Peter|
|Moffatt, Laura||Soley, Clive|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Southworth, Ms Helen|
|Moore, Michael||Spellar, John|
|Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)||Squire, Ms Rachel|
|Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)||Steinbeng, Gerry|
|Morley, Elliot||Stewart, David (Inverness E)|
|Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)||Stinchcombe, Paul|
|Mountford, Kali||Stuart, Ms Gisela|
|Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie||Sutcliffe, Gerry|
|Mudie, George||Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)||Taylor, David (NW Leics)|
|Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)||Taylor, Matthew (Truro)|
|Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Naysmith, Dr Doug||Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)|
|Norris, Dan||Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)|
|O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)||Timms, Stephen|
|O'Neill, Martin||Todd, Mark|
|Organ, Mrs Diana||Tonge, Dr Jenny|
|Osborne, Ms Sandra||Touhig, Don|
|Palmer, Dr Nick||Trickett, Jon|
|Pearson, Ian||Truswell, Paul|
|Perham, Ms Linda||Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)|
|Pickthall, Colin||Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Pike, Peter L||Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)|
|Plaskitt, James||Turner, Neil (Wigan)|
|Pond, Chris||Tyler, Paul|
|Pope, Greg||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Powell, Sir Raymond||Wareing, Robert N|
|Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)||Watts, David|
|Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)||Webb, Steve|
|Primarolo, Dawn||White, Brian|
|Purchase, Ken||Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Rammell, Bill||Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd|
|Raynsford, Nick||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)|
|Rendel, David||Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)||Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)|
|Roche, Mrs Barbara||Winnick, David|
|Rogers, Allan||Wood, Mike|
|Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff||Woolas, Phil|
|Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)||Worthington, Tony|
|Rowlands, Ted||Wright, Tony (Cannock)|
|Roy, Frank||Wyatt, Derek|
|Ruane, Chris||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Ruddock, Joan||Mr. David Clelland and|
|Russell, Bob (Colchester)||Mr. Clive Betts.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 62 (Amendment on Second or Third Reading):—752
§ The House divided: Ayes 316, Noes 11.754
|Division No. 71]||[10.17 pm|
|Abbott, Ms Diane||Cummings, John|
|Anger, Nick||Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack (Copeland)|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)|
|Allan, Richard||Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)|
|Allen, Graham||Dalyell, Tam|
|Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E)||Darling, Rt Hon Alistair|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary||Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)|
|Ashton, Joe||Davidson, Ian|
|Atherton, Ms Candy||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)|
|Atkins, Charlotte||Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)|
|Austin, John||Dawson, Hilton|
|Bailey, Adrian||Denham, John|
|Banks, Tony||Dismore, Andrew|
|Barron, Kevin||Dobbin, Jim|
|Battle, John||Dobson, Rt Hon Frank|
|Bayley, Hugh||Donohoe, Brian H|
|Beard, Nigel||Doran, Frank|
|Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||Drew, David|
|Beith, Rt Hon A J||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)||Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)|
|Benn, Hilary (Leeds C)||Efford, Clive|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield)||Ellman, Mrs Louise|
|Bennett, Andrew F||Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Benton, Joe||Ennis, Jeff|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Faber, David|
|Berry, Roger||Feam, Ronnie|
|Blears, Ms Hazel||Fisher, Mark|
|Blizzard, Bob||Frtzsimons, Mrs Loma|
|Blunkett, Rt Hon David||Flint, Caroline|
|Boateng, Rt Hon Paul||Follett, Barbara|
|Bradley, Keith (Withington)||Foster, Rt Hon Derek|
|Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)||Foster, Don (Bath)|
|Bradshaw, Ben||Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)|
|Brand, Dr Peter||Foster, Michael J (Worcester)|
|Breed, Colin||Galbraith, Sam|
|Brinton, Mrs Helen||Galloway, George|
|Brown, Russell (Dumfries)||Gapes, Mike|
|Browne, Desmond||Gardiner, Barry|
|Buck, Ms Karen||George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)|
|Burnett, John||Gerrard, Neil|
|Burstow, Paul||Gibson, Dr Ian|
|Butler, Mrs Christine||Gidley, Sandra|
|Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies (NE Fife)||Gilroy, Mrs Linda|
|Godman, Dr Norman A|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Goggins, Paul|
|Cann, Jamie||Golding, Mrs Llin|
|Caplin, Ivor||Gordon, Mrs Eileen|
|Casale, Roger||Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)|
|Caton, Martin||Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)|
|Cawsey, Ian||Grocott, Bruce|
|Chaytor, David||Grogan, John|
|Clapham, Michael||Hain, Peter|
|Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)||Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)|
|Hall, Patrick (Bedford)|
|Clark, Paul (Gillingham)||Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)|
|Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)||Hanson, David|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)||Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet|
|Clwyd, Ann||Harvey, Nick|
|Coffey, Ms Ann||Healey, John|
|Cohen, Harry||Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)|
|Coleman, Iain||Hendrick, Mark|
|Colman, Tony||Hepburn, Stephen|
|Cooper, Yvette||Heppell, John|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hewitt, Ms Patricia|
|Corston, Jean||Hill, Keith|
|Cotter, Brian||Hinchliffe, David|
|Cousins, Jim||Hoey, Kate|
|Crausby, David||Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey|
|Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)||Hope, Phil|
|Hopkins, Kelvin||Miller, Andrew|
|Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)||Mitchell, Austin|
|Hoyle, Lindsay||Moffatt, Laura|
|Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)||Moonie, Dr Lewis|
|Humble, Mrs Joan||Moore, Michael|
|Hurst, Alan||Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway)|
|Hutton, John||Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)|
|Iddon, Dr Brian||Morley, Elliot|
|Illsley, Eric||Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)|
|Ingram, Rt Hon Adam|
|Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)||Mountford, Kali|
|Jenkins, Brian||Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie|
|Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)||Mudie, George|
|Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)||Mullin, Chris|
|Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)|
|Jones, Rt Hon Barry (Alyn)||Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)|
|Jones, Helen (Warrington N)||Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)|
|Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)||Naysmith, Dr Doug|
|Joyce, Eric||Norris, Dan|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||O'Brien, Bill (Notmanton)|
|Keeble, Ms Sally||O'Neill, Martin|
|Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)||Organ, Mrs Diana|
|Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)||Osborne, Ms Sandra|
|Kemp, Fraser||Palmer, Dr Nick|
|Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)||Pearson, Ian|
|Khabra, Piara S||Perham, Ms Linda|
|Kidney, David||Pickthall, Colin|
|Kilfoyle, Peter||Pike, Peter L|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Plaskitt, James|
|Kumar, Dr Ashok||Pond, Chris|
|Ladyman, Dr Stephen||Pope, Greg|
|Lammy, David||Powell, Sir Raymond|
|Lawrence, Mrs Jackie||Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)|
|Laxton, Bob||Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)|
|Lepper, David||Primarolo, Dawn|
|Levitt, Tom||Purchase, Ken|
|Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)||Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce|
|Lewis, Terry (Worsley)||Rammell, Bill|
|Linton, Martin||Raynsford, Nick|
|Lock, David||Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)|
|Love, Andrew||Rendel, David|
|McAvoy, Thomas||Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)|
|McCafterty, Ms Chris|
|McDonagh, Siobhain||Roche, Mrs Barbara|
|Macdonald, Calum||Rogers, Allan|
|McDonnell, John||Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff|
|McFall, John||Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)|
|McIsaac, Shona||Rowlands, Ted|
|McKenna, Mrs Rosemary||Roy, Frank|
|Mackinlay, Andrew||Ruane, Chris|
|McNulty, Tony||Ruddock, Joan|
|MacShane, Denis||Russell, Bob (Colchester)|
|Mactaggart, Fiona||Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)|
|McWalter, Tony||Salter, Martin|
|Mahon, Mrs Alice||Sanders, Adrian|
|Mallaber, Judy||Savidge, Malcolm|
|Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)||Shaw, Jonathan|
|Martlew, Eric||Sheerman, Barry|
|Maxton, John||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert|
|Meacher, Rt Hon Michael||Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)|
|Merron, Gillian||Singh, Marsha|
|Michael, Rt Hon Alun||Skinner, Dennis|
|Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)||Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)||Smith, Angela (Basildon)|
|Milburn, Rt Hon Alan||Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)|
|Smith, Miss Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)||Truswell, Paul|
|Turner, Dennis (Wolvem'ton SE)|
|Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)||Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)|
|Smith, John (Glamorgan)||Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)|
|Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)||Turner, Neil (Wigan)|
|Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)||Tyler, Paul|
|Snape, Peter||Walley, Ms Joan|
|Soley, Clive||Wareing, Robert N|
|Southworth, Ms Helen||Watts, David|
|Spellar, John||Webb, Steve|
|Squire, Ms Rachel||White, Brian|
|Steinberg, Gerry||Whitehead, Dr Alan|
|Stinchcombe, Paul||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Stringer, Graham||Wigley, Rt Hon Dafydd|
|Stuart, Ms Gisela||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)||Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)|
|Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)|
|Taylor, David (NW Leics)||Willis, Phil|
|Taylor, Matthew (Truro)||Winnick, David|
|Temple-Morris, Peter||Wood, Mike|
|Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)||Woolas, Phil|
|Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)||Worthington, Tony|
|Timms, Stephen||Wright, Tony (Cannock)|
|Todd, Mark||Wyatt, Derek|
|Tonge, Dr Jenny||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Touhig, Don||Mr. David Clelland and|
|Trickett, Jon||Mr. Clive Betts.|
|Bell, Martin (Tatton)||McIntosh, Miss Anne|
|Cash, William||Redwood, Rt Hon John|
|Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||St Aubyn, Nick|
|Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hunter, Andrew||Mr. Eric Forth and|
|Leigh, Edward||Mr. Christopher Chope.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
Bill read a Second time.10.29 pm
§ Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your guidance regarding the extremely unfortunate and wholly improper intervention by the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), via his private secretary, for the purpose of securing an English passport for a substantial donor from whom the right hon. Gentleman had succeeded in suckering a large amount of money for the dome. Can you advise me on the best authorities within the House to whom I can refer such a gravely serious matter and what would be the best way in which to go about it?
§ Mr. Speaker
I understand that the Home Office has already answered a parliamentary question on the matter to which the hon. Gentleman refers. No doubt he will be able to find ways in which to follow up that answer to seek further information.