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Stephen Hesford (Wirral, West) (Lab): May I direct my right hon. Friend to the passive smoking issue? This welcome White Paper builds on the very good work that the Government have been doing since 1997 in this area—in stark contrast to what happened under the previous Government. In a very extensive survey that I carried out in Wirral, West, more than 90 per cent. of those surveyed—including societies, clubs, members of the public, workplace operatives and companies—said that they wanted a ban on passive smoking in the workplace and other public places. On that basis, why will my constituents be left asking why there should be inequality between localities. In my right hon. Friend's locality in Scotland there will be a ban; in my locality in Wirral, West there will not.

Dr. Reid: My hon. Friend is right that people in England will have a freedom that apparently will not be available to people in Scotland, but I have to do what I think is right. It may be some consolation to him to know that what I am doing is actually what the men and women of England want us to do. There is no question about the statistics on this. The Office for National Statistics figures and the various other scientifically balanced opinion polls that have been carried out are quite clear that when people are asked whether they want a general ban in the workplace and in restaurants, more than 90 per cent. answer yes, but when it comes to pubs, 80 per cent. are opposed to a total ban. About 20 per cent. support a total ban but more than 80 per cent. support restrictions. I place no emphasis on that one way or the other, but that is where men and women in England are. That is not the only reason I reached the decision that I did, but having reached it at least there is some consolation for the House in knowing that that is what people outside the House and the Chamber actually believe should be done.

Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): The Secretary of State has just announced wide-ranging restrictions on smoking in public places, and speaking purely personally I wholeheartedly welcome what he has just done, in the name of public health. May I press him on the issue raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Wirral, West (Stephen Hesford) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford)? From the point of view of public health, and from the point of view of the customer or the employee, why has he chosen to exclude pubs and bars that do not prepare food?

Dr. Reid: First, I wanted to get a balance between protecting the majority's health and preserving the minority's rights.Secondly, a distinction is already made between restaurants and pubs that sell food and other pubs that do not. There is already a classification, which is to hand, which means that no additional bureaucracy or definition will be necessary, because that classification is already carried out through the local authorities.
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Thirdly, I made that choice because it is the nearest position to that which the public, in our consultation and in all opinion polls, said that they wanted. It is slightly ahead of public opinion because what public opinion would have us do is to have restrictions within a pub itself, rather than restrictions among pubs. So, it is not exactly replicating public opinion, and it is not, as some people say, behind public opinion—it is slightly in front of it. For those three reasons, this seemed the most balanced way of doing things.

Ms Sally Keeble (Northampton, North) (Lab): I welcome the White Paper and the important measures contained in it. Will my right hon. Friend say more about how he envisages that the campaigns mentioned in the White Paper will be designed and delivered to reach young people, especially young women who have problems with not only sexual health, but drinking and smoking, and who, by and large, have the responsibility of feeding young children? We all know that it is exceptionally hard to reach those people with such a message.

Dr. Reid: Yes, indeed. The first thing that we want is a public information campaign at a level such that sexual health matters break out of the shadows in which they have traditionally been dealt with. That traditional situation will come as no surprise to hon. Members, because few people come to our surgeries to complain about a lack of information or the inadequate service of a GUM clinic for the obvious reason that they are embarrassed about such matters. Getting rid of such embarrassment is the first necessary step towards tackling the problem.

We need a public information campaign to alert people to dangers and we must draw on every single facility used by young people to achieve that. We must use not only people in the community such as health trainers, assistants, advisers and GPs, but cinemas, online websites and magazines that are especially popular with young people. Those are the vehicles through which we should try to deliver the message.

Hywel Williams (Caernarfon) (PC): On 22 January 2003, the Welsh Assembly Government asked for legislation to ban smoking in public places in Wales. Will the Secretary of State tell the House his Government's intentions for Wales regarding that issue?

Dr. Reid: Public health is devolved to Wales, so it was out of respect for Wales, not disrespect, that I referred to England today. Matters such as advertising, however, apply consistently throughout the United Kingdom, so the House will legislate on them for Wales. I hope that discussions will continue between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh Assembly on a range of such matters. I hope that many of the measures in the White Paper, including perhaps those on smoking, will commend themselves to Wales. If the Assembly wants us to assist it, as we pass legislation, to carry forward its public health programme—I know that the First Minister is deeply committed to that—I shall be happy to try to oblige.
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Peter Bradley (The Wrekin) (Lab): I welcome the statement and the White Paper, and do not believe that difficult and debateable issues of balance should distract from the positive package of measures. I have also conducted a survey among my constituents and, of the 600 people who responded, 75 per cent. wanted a ban on smoking in public places.

In cracking down on binge drinking, which it is obviously right to do, is my right hon. Friend worried that we might be creating conditions for binge smoking? How will striking the balance that he set out help smokers to quit, and how can he guarantee that people will have the choice of a smoke-free environment if the only pub in their neighbourhood is a smokers' pub? Will he listen to representations on the issue and be prepared to concede that the balance that he has struck might need to be readdressed?

Dr. Reid: I assure my hon. Friend that I do not want to set other hares running by saying that I shall think about that and come back with another idea next week. We are where we are, and a great deal of thought has gone into our proposals. It is true that the measure will not stop people smoking by itself, although it might discourage them. However, it is only one of a range of measures. We helped 125,000 people to give up smoking last year and I want to double—and more—that number over the next few years by using smoking cessation services, hotlines, information, high taxation, the fear created by the warnings displayed on packets, restrictions on advertising and the availability of nicotine patches on the NHS. A whole host of measures is required.

I have said all along that a ban is the sexy item on the agenda, but on its own it will not significantly reduce the number of people who smoke. We must be careful not to ghettoise people smoking in their front rooms. If a group of people comes together to smoke, at least we may assume that it is largely composed of smokers who are damaging their health anyway through smoking, rather than passive smoking. At least we are minimising the danger of passive smoking, but the measure on its own will not reduce smoking, which is why we have a battery and array of assistance, resources, advice and information. At the end of the day, we just say to people, "If you keep smoking, you're going to kill yourself." That is the biggest and most persuasive factor.

Sandra Gidley (Romsey) (LD): The Secretary of State treated us to his little list of people who would be helped by the measures, but let me remind him of the people he missed out—the old and the vulnerable. Does he agree that damp conditions and cold housing are for many the biggest contributors to poor health and that the White Paper misses the opportunity to deal with that problem?

Dr. Reid: Yes, I agree with the first statement, but not the second. Addressing the problems and inequalities faced by the most vulnerable is a large feature of the White Paper. I have in particular dealt with the Deputy Prime Minister on that. The hon. Lady is right about cold, damp, flu and so on. Vaccines, insulation, better housing and transport have a direct effect on health. We have known that since the Black report many decades ago. I say in all modesty that the Government are doing a great deal across many areas and we will continue to
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work across Government, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe), the Chair of the Select Committee, asked us to.

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