WITH THE GOVERNMENT
30. In addition to the considerable research
undertaken or funded by the UK tobacco companies, the companies
have for over four decades been involved in effective dialogue
and co-operation with successive Governments and Government-appointed
bodies. This dialogue has resulted, principally, in a system of
voluntary agreements covering product modification, labelling,
advertising and sports sponsorship. This voluntary framework has
given the Government a system of regulatory control which is flexible,
speedy and effective.
31. The Standing Scientific Liaison Committee:
Following the publication of the second Royal College of Physicians
Report in January 1971 and the conclusion of the first voluntary
agreement on advertising and labelling in the same year (see paragraph
58 et seq), the UK tobacco companies agreed to the establishment
of a Standing Scientific Liaison Committee (SSLC) which would
be composed of scientists from the tobacco companies and scientists
and doctors appointed by the Department of Health and Social Security
32. The SSLC was asked:
"1. To advise the Secretary of State
on the scientific aspects of matters relating to smoking and health,
(a) To advise on the significance to
health of tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes and how such information
can best be made available to the public and how the determinations
should be carried out for this purpose.
(b) To receive data about the consitutents of
tobacco and tobacco smoke and changes in them and to release these
in confidence to bona fide research workers.
(c) To review the research into less dangerous
smoking and to consider whether further such research needs to
be carried out and to advise on the validity of research results
and of systems of testing the health effects of cigarettes and
of their predictive value to human health." 13
33. The SSLC was chaired by Dr RHL Cohen,
Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the DHSS and the members were
prominent and respected scientists from relevant scientific and
medical disciplines together with senior tobacco company scientists.
34. In 1972 the SSLC reported to the Department
of Health. The Committee recommended that:
"The tar and nicotine yields
of all important brands of packeted cigarettes sold in the UK
should be published twice a year."
"Analyses should be undertaken
by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist."
"The published figures should
be accompanied by information which would educate the public about
the effects of tar and nicotine and encourage smokers to change
brands with a lower tar yield. Advice should be sought from publicity
experts on the best method of presenting this."
"The published figures should
be divided into broad groups according to their tar yield and
agreement should be sought with the tobacco manufacturers for
a description of these groups to be indicated on packets of all
brands included in the table." 14
35. Independent Scientific Committee on
Smoking and Health: Following the publication of its Report in
August 1972, the SSLC stood down and in 1973 a new committee,
the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health (ISCSH),
was created. This committee was to be independent of both the
UK tobacco companies and the Department of Health, although its
chairman was appointed by the Department and it enjoyed scientific
support from Department officials.
36. The ISCSH's terms of reference were:
"To advise on the scientific aspects of
matters concerning smoking and health, in particular:
(a) (i) To receive in confidence
full data about the constituents of cigarettes and all other smoking
material and their smoke and changes in these.
(ii) To release to bona fide research
workers for approved subjects such of the above as is agreed by
the suppliers of its.
(b) To review the research into less
dangerous smoking and to consider whether further such research,
including clinical trials and epidemiological studies, needs to
be carried out; and
(c) To advise on the validity of research
results and of systems of testing the health effects of tobacco
and tobacco substitutes and on their predictive value to human
37. The membership of the ISCSH, under the
chairmanship, first of Dr Robert Hunter who became Lord Hunter
of Newington, and then of Dr Peter Froggatt, consisted of prominent
and respected scientists from relevant scientific and medical
disciplines, acting with "complete professional independence".16
The ISCSH was often referred to as either the "Hunter Committee"
or the "Froggatt Committee".
38. The ISCSH readily secured the UK tobacco
companies' co-operation in attempting to develop what it identified
as "lower risk cigarettes". The ISCSH promoted two product
modification initiatives in particular. The first involved the
replacement of a proportion of tobacco in the product by a substitute
material. The second phase of the ISCSH's programme was to seek
"further reductions in the tar yields of conventional cigarettes".17
39. The programme devised by the ISCSH was
given effect through the system of voluntary agreements. Sir Peter
Froggatt, in describing the "production modification programme",
has written that:
"It is sufficient to say here that the programme
designed by the ISCSH, agreed by the tobacco industry, and negotiated
by Government with the Tobacco Advisory Council. ("TAC")
as part of a series of so-called `voluntary agreements' in 1973,
1977, 1980 and 1984 is known as the `product modification programme'.
No country then, or since, has developed such a regulatory system,
and it is described in detail in the ISCSH Fourth Report."
40. In each of the reports of the ISCSH, the
Chairman of the ISCSH noted the co-operation of the representatives
and scientists of the UK tobacco companies. In its third report
in 1983, for example, the Chairman, Sir Peter Froggatt, said:
"Indeed, I am pleased to say that we maintained
a fruitful working relationship with the industry and derive great
benefit from our continuing discussions both with the industry
as a whole and with individual companies." 19
Again, in his forward to the fourth report of
the ISCSH published in 1988, Sir Peter Frogatt stated:
"We continue to maintain a constructive
working relationship with the tobacco industry as a whole as well
as with individual companies." 20
41. Substitutes: An early stage in the product
modification programme was to consider the value of introducing
tobacco substitutes into cigarettes. This required extensive testing
of the substitutes and the substitute/tobacco mixtures and one
of the main tasks of the ISCSH was to construct guidelines for
42. The first two major tobacco substitutes
marketed were Cytrel and "New Smoking Material" (NSM).
Toxicological and other evidence was submitted by the UK tobacco
companies concerned and the ISCSH "concluded that these substances
when smoked alone or mixed with tobacco, were likely to be less
harmful to health than pure tobacco".21 It subsequently conveyed
the findings to the Secretaries of State of the Health Department
and recommended that no objection should be raised to the marketing
of these substitutes. A number of brands containing the substitutes
were then launched in July 1977.
43. "Lower Risk Cigarettes": The
greater part of the ISCSH's work was concerned with the promotion
of a product modification programme aimed at the development of
what it called "lower risk" cigarettes. The strategy
of the ISCSH involved encouraging the companies to develop lower
tar products and establishing a system for the measurement and
reporting of tar and nicotine yields of marketed brands.
44. The ISCSH also acknowledged that "the
(tobacco) manufacturers are engaged in a commercial enterprise
which depends greatly on the acceptability of their products to
the consumer",22 and that the product modification programme
had to promote the development of "lower risk" cigarettes
whilst maintaining consumer acceptability.
45. In furtherance of its product modification
strategy, in 1979 the ISCSH recommended in its second report that
" . . . the Secretaries of the State obtain the manufacturers'
co-operation for the achievement of further substantial reductions
in tar yields".23 In the following year, a voluntary agreement
was concluded on product modification, between the UK tobacco
companies, represented by the TAC, and the Government. The agreement
set a sales-weighted average target (SWAT) for tar of 15 mg by
the end of 1983. The SWAT target was duly met by the UK companies.
46. A further voluntary agreement on product
modification was concluded in 1984 which set a target of an average
yield of 13 mg by the end of 1987. Although no further such agreements
were formally concluded, the ISCSH proposed in its fourth report
a tar SWAT of 12 mg by the end of 1991. These targets were also
47. Following adoption of Council Directive
90/239/EEC in May 1990, the Government enacted the Cigarettes
(maximum tar Yield) (Safety) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/2783).
These imposed a permitted maximum tar yield of 15 mg from 30 November
1992, and 12 mg from 1 January 1998.
48. Additives: The ISCSH recognised that
the use of additives in the manufacture of tobacco products, other
than cigarettes, had a long history and that although their use
in cigarettes was more recent, cigarettes containing additives
had been marketed in many countries outside the UK since the beginning
of this century. In the UK, prior to 1970, the law prohibited
their use in tobacco products without special permission from
the Comissioners of Customs & Excise under Section 176 of
the Customs & Excise Act, 1952. This permission was given
only within very strict limits and mainly in respect of volatile
flavourings in tobacco products other than cigarettes.
49. The Finance Act 1970 and the resultant
Tobacco Substitutes Regulations 1970 provided for tobacco duty
to be charged on additives and substitutes used in the manufacture
of smoking products. This opened the way for the Commissioners
of Customs & Excise to relax the long standing restrictions
that had been applied for revenue reasons on the ingredients that
could be used in tobacco manufacture. However, the statutory powers
under which the restrictions were applied remained in force until
the taxation system was radically revised on 1 January 1978. Effective
statutory control over the materials used in the manufacture of
tobacco products had therefore ceased. In these circumstances,
a voluntary undertaking by maufacturers and importers was given
to Health Ministers not to introduce new products containing additives
other than those found acceptable to the ISCSH, and to notify
the use to the Department of Health and Social Security.
50. The first report of the ISCSH acknowledged
the willingness of the UK companies to co-operate with it and
to market tobacco products containing additives only if the ISCSH
had no objection. 24 The ISCSH drew up guidelines, in conjunction
with the TAC, for the testing and use of such products containing
additives. These guidelines were attached to the first report.
51. The second report of the ISCSH revised
the guidelines for the testing and use of additives to include
the general requirement of an inhalation study and data on transference
to smoke for any new additive. The ISCSH raised no objection to
additives used in Western Europe and North America over the previous
20 years but the UK tobacco companies were asked to inform the
DHSS of the quantities of any of these additives used at the time
products were maketed for sale in the UK. Where companies proposed
new additive usage they were required to make submissions to the
ISCSH in accordance with guidelines attached to the report.
52. In its third report, the ISCSH, having
reconsidered its role in the evaluation of additives, expressed
its belief that this role should be extended to include assessment
of all substances to those parts of tobacco products intended
to be burnt. The ISCSH therefore wished to receive submissions
on all new additives in cigarette papers through a procedure similar
to that used for other tobacco additives.
53. The fourth report of the ISCSH acknowledged
that the system set in place, primarily in the second report,
had been working well. The Committee stated that it "will
continue to ensure the safety of additives used in all smoked
tobacco products." 25
54. The recommendations of the ISCSH with
regard to additives were incorporated into the voluntary agreements
on product modification. The 1981 Voluntary Agreement on Advertising
Promotion and Health Warnings, Product Modification and Research
provided that the UK tobacco companies would continue the arrangements
set in place following the second ISCSH report relating to the
control of substitutes and additives. Specifically:
"(a) Companies will follow and comply
with the agreed guidelines on testing and marketing products containing
tobacco substitutes and/or additives.
(b) Companies will notify the DHSS of additives
and/or substitutes to which the ISCSH has given its consent for
commercial use, and will inform the DHSS which of these are included
in products at the time when the products are marketed for sale
to the public in the United Kingdom.
(c) Companies will similarly notify the DHSS
when any changes are made to the information given under (b)."
55. The 1983 Voluntary Agreement on Tobacco
Product Modification and Research was in similar terms. In 1984
the revised Tobacco Product Modification Voluntary Agreement with
regard to additives and substitutes extended the existing arrangements
to include all new additives in cigarette papers. Today the use
of additives is governed by the 1997 Voluntary Agreement on the
Approval and use of New Additives in Tobacco Products in the UK.
This agreement provides that the scrutiny of additives rests with
the Department of Health, acting on behalf of the UK Health Departments,
taking advice from the Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health
and its Technical Advisory Group (TAG) (or any successor committees)
as appropriate. At appendix one of this agreement, guidelines
for testing and use of new additives in tobacco products in the
UK are prescribed.
56. The ISCSH also made recommendations in its
reports concerning the need for independent research into the
possible effects on the health of smokers of modifications to
tobacco products. The UK tobacco companies agreed to fund this
research under the terms of the voluntary agreements. The funds,
which were made available through the TAC, were administered by
a charitable trust, known as the TPRT.
57. By the time the TPRT was wound up in
July 1996, over £8,000,000 had been committed by the tobacco
companies to the research administered by the TPRT, 37 projects
had been completed, over 100 articles had been published in scientific
journals and three international symposia had been sponsored,
of which two were conducted jointly with the Department of Health.
The work of the TPRT was described in detail in the Sir Peter
Froggatt and Mrs Cheryl Swann report, "The Tobacco Research
Trust 1982-96". Sir Peter Froggatt's preface to this report
concludes with the comment that:
"The sole monies available to the Trust
were the principal sums from the tobacco industry through the
Tobacco Advisory Council and the interest earned on these in the
hands of the Trust and, for a time before that, in those of the
ISCSH. Without these funds there would have been no research programme
and no Trust! The industry, especially though not exclusively
the companies' scientific research staff, took a healthy interest
in the progress and results of the research programme, and in
all ways relationships between the Trustees and the industry were
amicable and constructive. This contributed greatly to the success
of the research programme. I like to think that also in a wider
sense both parties benefited. I certainly did and I believe that
others did as well." 27
58. Voluntary Agreement on Advertising and
Labelling: In 1971 Sir Keith Joseph, the Secretary of State for
Social Services, met representatives of the Tobacco Advisory Committee
to discuss what measures should be taken by the UK tobacco companies
and the Government in relation to smoking and health. The ensuing
discussions led the Government and the companies to enter into
what was to be the first voluntary agreement on advertising and
labelling. In announcing the agreement to the House of Commons
on 16 March 1971, Sir Keith Joseph stated:
"The tobacco manufacturers have agreed voluntarilyand
I would like to pay a tribute to the responsible and helpful way
in which they have approached these discussionsto print
in a clear type a warning on each cigarette packet." 28
59. The agreement introduced, among other
things, health warnings on packeted cigarettes. The warning read:
60. The agreement was revised many times
over the subsequent years in response to changing circumstances
and in line with the recommendations of the ISCSH. For example,
in 1974 it was revised to increase the range of material which
carried the health warning to include cinema films and promotional
literature. By 1976, following further consultation between the
UK tobacco companies and Government, it was agreed that tar yield
groups would be printed on packets and advertising. Also, cinema
advertising would be restricted to "X" certificate films.
By 1977 it was agreed to modify the wording of the warning. The
61. The agreement was revised again in 1980.
The UK tobacco companies agreed, among other things, that they
would reduce total expenditure on advertising across all brands
and to provide material to retailers on the law regarding sale
of cigarettes to children under 16. The 1980 agreement also introduced
two further warnings:
"DANGER: HM Government Health Departments'
WARNING SMOKING MAY COST YOU MORE THAN MONEY", and
"DANGER: HM Government Health Departments'
WARNING THE MORE YOU SMOKE THE MORE YOU RISK YOUR HEALTH."
The 1980 warnings were to be printed randomly
in equal proportions on all packets and were to be increased in
62. The agreement was further revised in
1983 and 1986. The 1983 agreement provided for further reductions
in advertising expenditure and a prohibition on advertising of
brands yielding 19 mg or more of tar. The agreement also provided
that tar yield groups were to be printed on the sides of packets
other than that bearing the health warning. The 1986 agreement
prohibited advertising of brands yielding 18 mg or more of tar.
Restrictions on placements of advertising were introduced. There
would be no advertising near schools and no advertising in magazines
with a female readership of 200,000 or more or where more than
33 per cent of those women were aged 15 to 24. This agreement
also provided for a new range of warnings and the size of these
warnings to be increased:
"Warning: SMOKING CAN CAUSE FATAL DISEASES"
"Warning: SMOKING CAN CAUSE HEART DISEASES"
"Warning: SMOKING WHEN PREGNANT CAN
INJURE YOUR BABY AND CAUSE PREMATURE BIRTH"
"Warning: STOPPING SMOKING REDUCES THE
RISK OF SERIOUS DISEASES"
"Warning: SMOKING CAN CAUSE LUNG CANCER,
BRONCHITIS AND OTHER CHEST DISEASES"
"Warning: MORE THAN 30,000 PEOPLE DIE
EACH YEAR IN THE UK FROM LUNG CANCER"
63. The agreement was revised again in 1991,
and again on 1 January 1992 and 1994. Its key provisions now control:
the content, tone and style of advertising which must not seek
to persuade people to start smoking; the media in which advertising
is permitted, with particular reference to children and young
women; the level of expenditure on poster advertising, and the
siting of poster advertising in the vicinity of schools and playgrounds;
companies' promotional activities; and health warnings and information
on yields in advertisements.
64. COMATAS: The 1986 voluntary agreemeent
also provided for a monitoring committee to be established to
monitor the operation of the voluntary agreement. The Committee,
known as the Committee for Monitoring Agreement on Tobacco Advertising
and Sponsorship (COMATAS), was composed of representatives of
Government departments concerned and the UK tobacco companies
in equal numbers. The chairman was independent and meetings were
held at least quarterly. The companies agreed to fund, equally
with Government, the costs of the Committee. The terms of reference
of COMATAS were:
"(a) To keep under review all matters
relating to the operation of the voluntary agreement other than
those relating directly to the operation of the Cigarette Advertising
Code and monitored by the Advertising Standard Authority, or matters
which were the responsiblity of the BBC or IBA.
(b) To ensure that the terms of the voluntary
agreement were properly observed and were interpreted with consistency.
(c) To receive full details of complaints
sent by the public or public bodies to the Government Department
concerned, and of the responses by those companies to whom the
complaints were referred. In the case of disputed matters or those
which raised general issues relevant to the observation of the
agreement, to take a view and, where appropriate communicate that
view to the parties concerned.
(d) To report annually to Ministers, and
to member companies through the TAC and ITPAC respectively, on
the general implementation of the agreement." 29
65. The chairman of COMATAS has reported
annually to Ministers and the UK tobacco companies on the operation
of the agreement.
66. Advertising Codes of Practice: As early
as 1962 the TAC held a series of discussions with the Independent
Television Authority (ITA) leading to the implementation of the
Code of Advertising Standards. The Code classified the following
"1. Advertisements that greatly over-emphasize
the pleasure to be obtained from cigarettes.
2. Advertisements featuring the conventional
heros of the young.
3. Advertisements appealing to pride or general
4. Advertisements using a fashionable social
setting to support the impression that cigarettes smoking is a
`go- ahead' habit or an essential part of the pleasure and excitement
of modern living.
5. Advertisements that strikingly present
romantic situations and young people in such a way as to seem
to link the pleasures of such situations with the pleasures of
67. The TAC subsequently undertook voluntarily
to adopt the television code for other advertising ie press, cinema
68. In 1965 the Tobacco Advisory Committee
prepared a UK advertising code between its members which became
the Code of Advertising Practice. The Code of Advertising Practice
Committee (the CAP Committee) of the ITA accepted the Tobacco
Advisory Committee's offer to act as an independent arbitrator
should a difference of opinion between the companies develop.
69. The Code was updated over time and developed
through discussions between the UK Health Departments, cigarette
manufacturers and importers (represented by the TMA and the Imported
Tobacco Products Advisory Council respectively) and the Advertising
Standards Association (ASA). Its administration was eventually
taken over by the ASA. The principal provisions of the Code are:
No advertisement should incite people
to start smoking.
Advertisements should not encourage
smokers to increase their consumption or smoke to excess.
Advertisements should never suggest
that smoking is safe, healthy, natural, necessary for relaxation
and concentration, popular or appropriate in all circumstances.
Cigarettes should not be shown in
the mouth and advertisements should not associate smoking with
healthy eating or drinking.
Smoking should not be associated
with social, sexual, romantic or business success and advertisements
should not be sexually titillating, though the choice of a particular
brand may be linked to taste and discernment.
Advertisements should not contain
actual or implied testimonials or endorsements from well-known
people, famous fictitious characters or people doing jobs or occupying
positions which are generally regarded as admirable.
No heroic figure, personality cult,
pastime or fashion trend should be featured in advertisements
in a way that would appeal to those who were adventurous or rebellious,
particulary the young. Anyone shown smoking should always be and
cleary be seen to be over 25.
No advertisment should exaggerate
the pleasure of smoking or claim that it is daring or glamorous
to smoke or that smoking enhances people's masculinity, femininity,
appearance or independence.
70. EC Directives: Regulations requiring
warnings on tobacco products were introduced in 1991 to give effect
to EC Directive 89/622/EEC. The Tobacco Products Labelling (Safety)
Regulations 1991 (SI 1991/1530) provide that for packets of cigarettes
and hand-rolling tobacco, the following warnings should appear:
On the face of packets:
"TOBACCO SERIOUSLY DAMAGES HEALTH"
On the back and in rotation:
"SMOKING CAUSES HEART DISEASE"
"SMOKING CAUSES FATAL DISEASES"
"SMOKING WHEN PREGNANT HARMS YOUR BABY"
"PROTECT CHILDREN: DON'T MAKE THEM BREATHE
71. The 1991 regulations also provide:
Warnings are to be printed in a conspicuous
place on a contrasting background. These warnings are to be easily
visible, clearly legible and indelible. Warnings are to cover
an area amounting to at least 6 per cent of the packet.
Each packet to provide information
as to tar and nicotine yields. This information is to be printed
on contrasting background along one side of the packet and to
cover an area amounting to at least 6 per cent of that side.
72. Sports sponsorship: Since 1974, sports
sponsorship has also been regulated by voluntary agreement. The
latest voluntary agreement on sports sponsorship came into force
in January 1995. Its key provisions control the percentage of
total expenditure on sports sponsorship by any company in any
financial year; the use of the Chief Medical Officer's warning
in press or poster advertisements for, and static signs at, sporting
activities; the prohibition of advertising of tobacco sporting
events in cinemas; the prohibition of advertising of tobacco sponsored
events within a radius of 200 metres from the front entrance of
schools and other places of education for young people under 18
years of age.
73. The UK tobacco companies, through the
TMA, have continued to work, often alongside Government, on a
range of issues relevant to smoking, including under-age smoking
and public and workplace smoking.
74. It is the policy of the TMA's members
and Government policy, that smoking is an activity for informed
adults and that under-age smoking should be prevented. The UK
tobacco companies have for many years co-operated with Government
on the issue of prevention of sales of cigarettes to under 16s.
This issue has primarily been dealt with by legislation (The Childrens
Act 1908, Children and Young Persons Act 1933, Children and Young
Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991), in recognition that
it is an issue which cannot be dealt with solely by the companies,
given that sales are the primary responsibility of retailers.
75. Over the years the tobacco companies,
acting on their own initiative and in agreement with the Government,
have campaigned to educate retailers about the law relating to
the prevention of sales of cigarettes to under 16s.
In 1981, following an undertaking given by the
companies to the Secretary of State for Health, the TAC mounted
a major campaign to distribute notices for display in tobacco
retail outlets in order to assist them in applying the law on
sales of cigarettes to children. As a consequence of the 1981
initiative, some 200,000 notices were distributed to shopkeepers
throughout the UK.
Subsequently the TAC joined with all the retailing
and wholesaling associations whose members sold tobacco products
in another major initiative to ensure that as many retail outlets
as possible knew their legal responsibilities, instructed their
staff and displayed a notice to help them apply the law when children
asked for cigarettes. This project became known as Project Bluebird.
Despite Project Bluebird, children continued
to gain access to cigarettes. This was a matter of great concern
to the members of the TAC and the Government. The UK companies
therefore undertook a further campaign which was much more extensive
and ambitious than anything in the past. Over a three and a half
year period, the companies spent £1 million on the campaign,
known as Project Greenfinch, which not only focussed on retailers
but also addressed the issue through the media. The specific objectives
to educate the general public about
the law relating to the sale of cigarettes to young persons;
to educate children that cigarettes
cannot be sold to them;
to educate shopkeepers and their
staff that they are breaking the law if they sell to persons under
These objectives were to be achieved through
extensive national advertising in both newspapers and trade magazines
and by positioning stickers in retail stores which sold cigarettes.
These stickers explained that cigarettes should not be sold to
under 16s. It was hoped by distributing to retailers an information
pack including stickers that the companies would be able to educate
the stores' customers, the stores' assistants and the shopkeepers
of the law. The proportion of tobacco retail outlets displaying
notices regarding the threshold age increased from 24 per cent
in 1986 to about 80 per cent of principal outlets by the end of
the campaign in 1989.
In 1997, the TMA also provided support for a
pilot scheme, run by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents,
with the co-operation of other retailer organisations, in the
North East of England. Entitled the No Excuses campaign, the scheme
endeavoured to achieve co-operation from retailers, parents and
the public in respect for the law prohibiting sales to the under-16s.
The campaign was widely supported by community leaders and concerned
individuals. As part of the campaign, retailers were provided
with printed material, such as posters and stickers, promoting
respect for the law. A freephone confidential hotline was also
set up to enable callers, anonymously, to report outlets where
they suspected tobacco products were being sold to persons under
16. Information obtained by this means was passed to the local
Trading Standards authorities.
Over time the industry has also sought to limit
the accessibility of vending machines to children ensuring that
they are now situated in areas only accessible by over 16s and
are clearly labelled for the use of 16s and over.
76. The results of the No Excuses pilot
scheme revealed, as anticipated, the importance of having a proof
of age scheme in place. The cost of extending the No Excuses campaign
on a national scale would be enormous and be of dubious benefit
without such a scheme. In those circumstances the TMA strongly
supported the introduction by Government of a national identity
card scheme. However, in correspondence with the Home Office in
early 1998, it became apparent that the Government was still undecided
as to whether such a scheme should be introduced.
77. Therefore, the TMA took the initiative by
giving it support to a proposal received from Andrew Chevis, formerly
of the Portman Group, to introduce a voluntary proof of age scheme
known as CitizenCard. Other organisations were encouraged to join
and a critical mass of founding partners, namely the Associaton
of Convenience Stores, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents,
Somerfield, Ladbrokes, the TMA and subsequently Camelot, was then
established to ensure sufficient funding for CitizenCard to be
78. Endorsement of the scheme was sought,
and obtained, from both the Home Office and the Department of
Health with the result that the CitizenCard proof of age scheme
was launched by George Howarth MP, then Minister at the Home Office,
on 15 February 1999. The Minister stated: "[CitizenCard]
represents an excellent example of initiative, and social responsibility,
on the part of the industry group backing it." 31
Tessa Jowell MP, as Minister for Health, commented:
" . . . this is an excellent example of
a private sector initiative developed in close partnership with
the Government's national objectives. As such, I commend it warmly,
and look forward to it being taken up as widely as possible."
79. Since the launch of the scheme, over
15,000 CitizenCards have been issued with uptake forecast to rise
as the scheme gains momentum. Active support is being provided
by Local Authorities, schools, Trading Standards Departments,
police forces, constituency MPs and others concerned with age-related
80. There are two significant means by which
under-age persons may obtain cigarettes and tobacco which cannot
be controlled at point of sale. Family and friends may give to,
or buy cigarettes or tobacco for, children under 16 years old.
This is a practice that can only be stopped by education at home
and at school, and by elders exercising more responsibility and
81. Of considerable and increasing importance,
however, is the availability of bootlegged tobacco products, imported
and illegally sold in the UK. The volume of that trade is already
enormous and is continuing to grow. The tobacco is sold illicitly
in bulk and by packet to individuals, bars, clubs and some retailers;
on doorsteps and from car boots and through friends and relatives,
as well as illicit trade "professionals". The illicit
dealer is unlikely to be concerned as to whom he or she is selling,
as long as payment is made. There is, therefore, unlikely to be
concern for the illegality of sales to the under-16s, any more
than there is concern for the illegality of smuggling itself.
82. Unless the illegal trade is halted,
attempts to limit the access of children to tobacco by change
in the threshold age, or by the introduction of a proof of age
scheme, or by respect for the law by retailers, are likely to
drive the young to make more of their purchases from illegal traders
who have no respect for the law governing sales to children.
83. The TMA has given considerable practical
support to Customs and Excise to assist it in tackling the growing
"black-market" in hand-rolling tobacco and cigarettes.
However, the root of the problem still remains that, notwithstanding
the advent of the single market, the disparity between the UK's
high level of excise duty on tobacco and that in other Member
States is growing. Substantial incentives therefore exist for
the illegal sale in the UK of non-UK taxed imports as well as
cheap tobacco products smuggled from outside the EU.
84. The severity of the extent of the bootlegging
and smuggling of tobacco products is likely to be greatly increased
by the Government's intention to introduce regulations which will
ban virtually all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion as
from 10 December 1999. The TMA has made Ministers aware of its
belief that the proposed legislative ban is unlikely to reduce
consumption or alter the present trend in relation to smoking
by young people.
85. Successive Governments have acknowledged
that access for non-smokers to smoke-free atmospheres is desirable
for a combination of reasons. But Governments have also recognized
that a voluntary approach to the control of smoking in public
places and at the workplace is essential in order that managers
and employers have the flexibility to address the widely varying
needs of their specific environments. Through the TMA, the UK
tobacco companies have supported the initiative to improve the
comfort of non-smokers through voluntary measures.
86. In 1997 the Atmosphere Improves Results
(AIR) initiative was launched, supported by the TMA and hospitality
organisations. The AIR initiative was designed to identify and
promote good practice in the accommodation of smoking and non-smoking
customers in pubs and bars. The initiative is supported by all
of the major hospitality trade associations and the ventilation
industry, and involves co-operation with a number of environmental
health and health promotion groups throughout the country. Its
practical advice is available free to all through publications
and on the Internet.
87. The initiative has identified the profitability
and feasibility of simple cost-effective measures to reduce or
remove environmental tobacco smoke, including ventilation filtration
(air cleaning) and separation of smokers and non-smokers as appropriate.
It has also developed and promoted technical standards, brought
together the licensed trade, ventilation industry and health promotion
groups and Department of Health representatives in three well-attended
major conferences; provided the infrastructure for the launch
in September 1999 of the Public Places Charter on Smoking; and
carried out vigorous awareness-raising campaigns amongst trade
bodies and venue operators.
88. Notwithstanding the UK tobacco companies'
record in responding to concerns about smoking and health and
agreeing initiatives with Government, there has been a marked
reduction in the productive dialogue between the companies and
Government, in particular in relation to the smoking and health
issue. More recently there has been a trend for Government to
consider issues relating to tobacco and formulate policy with
less involvement of the TMA and/or its members than has previously
been the case. This is exemplified not only by the Government's
decision to abandon the voluntary arrangements relating to advertising
and sponsorship but also in relation to the working of the Scientific
Committee on Tobacco and Health.
89. The ISCSH issued its final report in
1988, and the terms of appointment of its members expired in 1991.
In February 1994 a decision was taken to set up the Scientific
Committee on Tobacco and Health ("SCOTH") to assume
some of the previous repsonsibilities of the ISCSH. SCOTH, unlike
the ISCSH, was constituted to provide advice to the Chief Medical
Officer, and not the members of the TMA, on scientific matters
concerning tobacco and health. In particular, SCOTH's terms of
"to review scientific and medical evidence
on such areas relating to tobacco and health, including behaveoural
aspects of tobacco use, as may be agreed between the Committee
and the UK Health Departments and in the light of these reviews;
to advise on research priorities on tobacco and
health, including behavioural aspects of tobacco use;
to provide advice to the Department of Health,
acting on behalf of the UK Health Departments, about the constituents
of tobacco products and their smoke;
to review existing controls on additives and
the emission of toxic substances from cigarettes and to provide
advice on controls."
90. In June 1994, the TMA was informed that
major part of SCOTH's workplan would be to review the scientific
literature on the possible health effects of ETS and that the
first review would be that of ETS and lung cancer. The TMA was
approached as an organisation that had an interest in this paricular
issue and that may have had additional information. The UK companies
therefore responded, through the TMA, to this invitation by contributing
scientific information on the subject to ETS exposure and lung
cancer to assist in SCOTH's review.
91. However, when the SCOTH report was published
in 1998, it made conclusions and recommendations on a number of
important issues, in addition to ETS and lung cancer, which SCOTH,
unlike its predecessor, had made no attempt to discuss beforehand
with the UK tobacco companies, despite their obvious relevant
knowledge. Neither did SCOTH take into account the fact that for
many years the tobacco companies had provided information and
assistance to the ISCSH to enable independent assessment to be
made of the possible health effects of tobacco products and to
assess potential and actual product modifications. The SCOTH Report
also ignored the strict requirements on the tobacco companies
introduced first by voluntary agreement and now by legislation
to carry explicit health warnings.
92. The SCOTH Report also contained several
unsubstantiated assumptions and sweeping conclusions criticising
the marketing activities of the UK tobacco companies. Again, these
were made without proper investigation and consultation with interested
and informed parties. If properly consulted by SCOTH, the UK tobacco
companies would have been able to give accurate information on
the nature and intent of their marketing activities and to provide
evidence to support their contention that a legislative ban on
tobacco advertising, as recommended by SCOTH, would not have any
impact on the prevalence of smoking by children.
93. In the circumstances, the UK tobacco
companies have taken legal action to ensure that their rights
94. The TMA believes that adults should
be free to smoke tobacco products, if they choose. While government
has an important role to play in smoking and health issues, any
regulations should be formulated in a transparent manner, should
be proportionate and demonstrably capable of achieving their objectives.
95. The Government recognises in the White
Paper, "Smoking Kills", that well over a quarter of
the people in Britain smoke. It also confirms that the Government
fully recognises their right to do so and will not in any of its
proposals infringe upon that right.
96. We hope that any future government action
in relation to smoking will give full regard to the freedom of
adults to smoke, if they so choose.
97. The UK tobacco companies fully recognise
that they approach a number of issues related to tobacco and smoking
from a different perspective to the Government. However, although
this has always been the case, the extensive dialogue and co-operation
which has taken place in the past has delivered significant results.
Clearly, the UK companies' knowledge and experience of their products
and the market put them in a unique position to work closely with
Government in dealing with genuine issues of concern. They remain
committed to co-operating fully with Government and strongly believe
that a sharing of views and continued constructive dialogue is
the only sure way of delivering practical and workable policies
in the future and for the Government to achieve its objectives.
1 Sir Richard Doll and Professor A Bradford
Hill, "Smoking and Carcinoma of the Lung", British Medical
Journal, 30 September 1950.
2 Tobacco Manufacturers' Standing Committee
First Annual Report for Year Ended 31 May, 1957, page 4.
3 Annual Report of British Empire Cancer
Campaign for 1958.
4 Minutes of Evidence of 15 July 1976 session
of the Expenditure Committee (Social Services and Employment Sub-Committee),
5 Report of the Royal College of Physicians
of London on Smoking in relation to Cancer of the Lung and Other
Diseases, 1962, page S8.
6 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Past
and Current Activities, 1963, page 7.
7 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Activities,
1963-66, page 17.
8 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Activities,
1963-66, page 31.
9 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Activities,
1967-69, page 14.
10 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Activities,
1967-69, page 14.
11 Tobacco Research Council: Review of Activities,
1970-74, page 15.
12 Covering letter of the Lord Hunter of
Newington to Health Ministers of the United Kingdom dated 5 December
1978 to Second Report of the Independent Scientific Committee
of Smoking and Health.
13 Standing Scientific Liaison Committee
Note on "Background and Terms of Reference", July 1971,
14 Standing Scientific Liaison Committee
Report, 1972, page 4.
15 First Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1975, Appendix I.
16 First Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1975, page 1.
17 Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1988, page 2.
18 Robert Waller and Sir Peter Froggatt,
"Product Modification", British Medical Journal Bulletin
1996; 52 No 1: 193-205.
19 Third Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1983, foreword.
20 Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1988, foreword.
21 Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1988, page 2.
22 Second Report of the Independent Scientific
Commitee on Smoking and Health, 1979, page 6.
23 Second Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1979, page 7.
24 First Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1975, page 6.
25 Fourth Report of the Independent Scientific
Committee on Smoking and Health, 1988, page 26.
26 1981 Voluntary Agreement on Advertising,
Promotion and Health Warnings, Product Modification and Research.
27 The Tobacco Products Research Trust 1982-96,
Cheryl Swann and Sir Peter Froggatt, preface, pages 1-2.
28 Hansard, Commons, Sessions 1970-71, Vol
813, column 1190.
29 1986 Voluntary Agreement on Tobacco Products
Advertising and Promoting, and Health Warnings, Appendix 7.
30 Note published in House of Commons Official
Report, 10 July 1962.
31 Speech of George Howarth MP at CitzenCard
launch, 15 February 1999.
32 CitzenCard News Release, 15 February
33 Report of the Scientific Committee on
Tobacco and Health, Annex D.