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Yvette Cooper: We have said that we recognise that the ISPs have legitimate concerns, in that they should have, first, appropriate defences, especially those regarding the fact that they were not aware. Additionally, they should have additional defences as compared with print distributors and publishers. There should also be an effective system of implementing the Bill that does not put additional burdens or pressures on ISPs beyond what is necessary to implement the Bill sensibly.
The hon. Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) is right to say that my officials are meeting ISPs. We are keen to work with them to set up a voluntary system, which works in other areas. Amendments Nos. 22 and 23 raise issues concerning ISPs similar to those which a previous amendment raised about websites. Again, it is not necessary to provide further definitions in that area, for which we have a normal understanding of the wording. Furthermore, if that definition becomes obsolete because of changes in technology, we will have power, under clause 7, to amend it to respond to developments in technology in future. I therefore propose that we reject all the amendments in this group.
Amendment made: No. 41, in page 2, line 19, leave out--
'which is printed outside the United Kingdom and'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 42, in page 4, line 4, leave out--
'tobacco products or causes them to be displayed'
'or causes to be displayed tobacco products or their prices'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendments made: No. 43, in page 4, line 42, after "sum", insert--
'or at a substantial discount'.
No. 44, in page 4, line 43, at end insert--
'( ) If regulations under subsection (6) provide for this section to apply to making products or coupons available at a substantial discount, the regulations must provide for the meaning of "substantial discount".'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 48, in page 5, line 7, after "which", insert--
', in the course of a business,'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 45, in page 5, line 20, at end insert--
'( ) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under this section to prove that he did not know and had no reason to suspect that the contribution referred to in subsection (2) was made in the course of a business.'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 46, in page 5, line 36, at end insert--
'( ) If regulations under this section provide for a prohibition or restriction to be subject to an exception, the regulations may also make such provision as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for a corresponding exception to have effect for the purposes of offences under section 2, 3, 8, 9 or 10.'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 47, in page 5, line 41, leave out "a tobacco advertisement" and insert "anything".--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 49, in page 9, line 3, leave out "three" and insert "six".--[Yvette Cooper.]
Amendment made: No. 50, in page 9, line 4, at end insert--
(b) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or a fine, or both.'.--[Yvette Cooper.]
Order for Third Reading read.
The Bill has been extensively debated in Committee and also today, and I believe that it has been improved by our discussions. It is a ground-breaking measure, which introduces a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. It is ground-breaking also because it makes specific provision to address advertising on the internet. It is right that much of the time that we have spent today and in Committee has been on issues concerning the internet, which is an area of rapidly developing and changing technology.
As a result of debates in Committee, we have clarified the distinction between advertising and display--for example, the distinction between individual choice and operations undertaken in the course of business--and improved enforcement.
Many of the amendments tabled by the Opposition demonstrated conflicting points of view. Some appeared to tighten the Bill, such as those that proposed changes concerning product placement and products being offered at less than market value. Others sought to create huge gaping loopholes in the Bill, such as those concerning brand sharing, which we discussed earlier today.
It is important to recognise the overall significance of the Bill, which would ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship in this country. Smoking kills 120,000 people each year. That fact, shocking as it might be, cannot be repeated too often. One in two smokers will die from the habit. It is in that context that we are introducing the ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
People have a right to choose to smoke, but smoking is addictive, and they also have a right not to be pressurised by manipulative, seductive advertising into starting to smoke. They have a right not to be bombarded with advertisements and pressurised not to give up smoking. Some of the most insidious advertising of all is targeted at those who are trying to give up, possibly at the time of year when they are trying hardest. For example, when they have made a new year's resolution to stop, advertising might undermine their resolve and intention to give up.
Seventy per cent. of smokers say that they want to give up. Given the huge health impact of smoking and the health inequalities caused by smoking, it is right that we provide such people with every support that we can, through the NHS and through Parliament, when they want to give up smoking.
I strongly believe that people have a right to smoke, but I do not accept that tobacco companies have a right to spend £100 million of the profits that they gain from selling a deadly product on hooking new smokers. In a country that cares about preventing ill health, tackling health inequalities, and particularly protecting the health of children, we cannot ignore the effect of tobacco advertising.
In the end, children are at the heart of the Bill. The evidence shows that the most heavily advertised brands are those most likely to be smoked by children. Research in the US found that children as young as three were familiar with Joe Camel, and that children as young as six were as familiar with Joe Camel as they were with Mickey Mouse, and knew that the camel was associated with cigarettes. That is the kind of advertising that we should be concerned about.
A voluntary ban was not enough. It simply restricted advertising in a narrow area close to schools. What about the advertising that is not near schools? What about the advertising in the streets, in shopping centres and through brand sharing? What about the promotion through sponsorship of sports and public events? Those are some of the forms of advertising that the Bill will make unlawful. It is right that we should do that. The Bill will not stop artistic licence. It will not take away the right of journalists to applaud smoking, so long as they are not being sponsored to do so. It is about preventing big companies from using their size and their riches to promote products to people whose lives are at stake.
The Smee report, commissioned by Department of Health Ministers in 1992, set out the evidence of the impact of an advertising ban. After examining the evidence from Norway, Finland, Canada and New Zealand, it found that
The evidence is that banning tobacco advertising does reduce consumption, but only if the ban is comprehensive. That is important and explains why the Bill introduces an almost complete ban on tobacco advertising and promotion, with very limited, targeted exceptions. We know that only if we introduce a comprehensive ban will we make a real impact on smoking.
The Bill is part of a broader strategy to tackle smoking. The hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) raised concerns earlier about tobacco smoking being on the increase. In fact, the figures show that tobacco smoking increased between 1994 and 1996, but fell between 1996 and 1998. We await the recent figures with interest, but it is a matter of grave concern to us that the figures also show, and have shown since 1992, that smoking among young people is on the rise. That is exactly why we are introducing a ban on tobacco advertising.
The Government felt that the measures that were in place when we took office were not sufficient. Smoking had been on the increase, and something more needed to be done. That is why we are extending the most wide-scale publicly funded provision of smoking cessation services in Europe, and we are proud to do so.
Smoking is a fundamental cause of health inequalities in this country. That is why we are tackling smoking, providing people with support when they want to give up smoking, and preventing the tobacco companies from abusing their position by making it more difficult for people to give up an addictive product.
The Bill has been extensively debated. The main Opposition party did not support it on Second Reading, but I hope that it will do so now. Given the impact that the Bill could have on public health, and given that the Opposition have stated many times that they would like to see the prevalence of smoking fall, I hope that they will support the Bill on Third Reading. That will be the test of their commitment to reducing smoking and improving public health. I call on them to join us in the Lobby tonight in support of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, which will ultimately narrow health inequalities and protect our children's health into the future.