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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
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 cheap 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.
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 what 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.
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:
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:
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
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 that
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.