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Andrew Mackinlay: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Mr. Lansley: No. I shall carry on because I want to get the evidence on the record. Curiously, the Secretary of State did not get the evidence on the record. I remind my right hon. and hon. Friends that it is not acceptable for us not to make progress. That was at the heart of what we were proposing at the election. We must make progress towards smoke-free environments because the evidence of health effects is increasingly strong.
The Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health set out the evidence straightforwardly. The increase in the risk of lung cancer among non-smoking partners of smokers is about 24 per cent. for women. For non-smoking men who are partners of smokers, there is about a 37 per cent. increase in risk. For those who have workplace exposure, there is an 11 per cent. increase. It estimates a 25 per cent. increase in risk of coronary heart disease resulting from exposure to second-hand smoke.
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Insufficient attention has been drawn to this, but what has become most interesting most recently is the significant increase in the risk of coronary heart disease associated with small increases in exposure to second-hand smoke. I shall read the relevant extract from the committee's report:
for coronary heart disease, it is about 25 per cent.
"is . . . a substantial fraction of the risk from active smoking, although uptake of smoke by non-smokers is typically only about 1 per cent. of that by active smokers. Thus it appears that substantial risk arises from quite modest exposure to SHS."
That is the most important extract from the updated advice of the scientific committee. There is not a linear relationship between dose and risk; if anything, there is a non-linear relationship that shows substantial risks associated with modest exposure.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: Did my hon. Friend discuss secondary smoking with the previous Health Secretary, who said that if smoking were banned in most pubsas it will be, because most pubs serve foodpeople would be likely to stay at home to have a drink and smoke? That is exactly where their children are. People have a choice whether to go into a pub, but children do not have a choice about breathing in smoke at home.
Mr. Lansley: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention. The essence of our proposals would have made it possible for non-smokers to be in a smoke-free environment. They would also have made it possible for smokers to continue to be in smoke-filled environments[Interruption.] The Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) asks how from a sedentary position. It is actually rather similar to what her right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was proposing, that is, if a public house can segregate smokers in smoking rooms, it would be able to allow smoking. If it could not, smoking would not be allowed. A public house is open to the public, but it would not be allowed to invite people in if they were likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke against their wishes.
Mr. Greg Hands (Hammersmith and Fulham) (Con): I want to return to my hon. Friend's earlier point about children. Tomorrow, in the House, I shall launch children's cancer awareness month for CLIC Sargent, and that is an important issue. However, I want to raise exemptions on behalf of a company in my constituency. Does my hon. Friend agree that there should be an exemption under clause 3 for certain workplaces involved in the tobacco trade? A business in my constituency, Hunters and Frankau, is a specialist importer of cigars, but under the Bill, it will not be able to test its products on its premises. The business is located in one of Britain's most deprived wards. [Interruption.] Labour Members may well talk among themselves, but there was a majority for the governing party of only three votes in that ward. That company also imports products from some of the world's most deprived countries, including Cuba. Is it not therefore unreasonable that it should be banned from testing its products on site?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention, and I hope to be at the launch of children's
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cancer awareness month tomorrow. I am also aware of his point about specialist tobacconists. I understand that they have made those points to the Government, but have had no clear answer. I hope that we shall be able to explore the matter further.
I shall come to the other issues in the Bill shortly, but I want to stay with smoking for a moment. I have talked about all the risks involved, but what has been the response to these points? Curiously, no one has mentioned the fact that the Government had plenty of advice on how they should respond to these issues. The chief medical officer's annual report in 2002 made it perfectly clear that he recommended a comprehensive ban on smoking in enclosed public places. He believed that that would lead to a 4 per cent. reduction in prevalence, from 27 per cent. to 23 per cent., which would represent a substantially greater impact on prevalence than anything that the Government anticipate from their own proposals.
How are other people responding to the risks? The Scottish Parliamentwhether I agree with it or notsays that, from April next year, it wants a comprehensive ban on smoking in enclosed public places. As the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) pointed out, the Welsh Assembly wants to use the Bill to deliver a comprehensive ban. Speaking about Northern Ireland, the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Woodward) has said that
"no-one has a right to subject colleagues and workmates to the dangers and hazards of second-hand smoke and passive smoking. No-one has a right to subject members of the public who do not smoke to those same dangers in enclosed public spaces."
Responsibility on this matter is not devolved but held here in Westminster, and that Minister has decided that the only proper course of action would be a comprehensive ban.
Mr. Forth: In exactly that context, does my hon. Friend know whether there will be a total ban on smoking in prisons in Wales and Northern Ireland in order to protect the health of prison warders?
Mr. Lansley: I am happy to confess to my right hon. Friend that I do not know, and perhaps the House does not yet know. I stand to be corrected if the necessary regulations have come forward in relation to Northern Ireland to make that clear. The issue arises in relation not only to prisons but to some care homes and mental health institutions.
Angela Watkinson (Upminster) (Con):
The workplace argument does not apply to older people who have retired. Does my hon. Friend concede that large numbers of older people have a habit of decades, dating back to the days when the health risks were not known and tobacco advertising presented the habit as glamorous and sophisticated, and are often beyond smoking cessation programmes? Are they to be confined to their homes? Should not restaurateurs and publicans have a choice, so that if they wish to have smoking premises, those who wish to smoke can opt to go to them, and those who do not wish to smoke can go to non-smoking premises?
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Mr. Lansley: I understand my hon. Friend's point, which is important, and it is one of the reasons why exemptions would be needed for people who, to all intents and purposes, are at home, such as people in long-term care. There are limits to liberty, however, and the limit to the liberty to smoke is that one should not impose second-hand smoke and its risks and dangers on others. However sympathetic we might be about the addiction to or habit of smoking among older people, we should not allow that to turn into a risk to the health of others through second-hand smoke.
Adam Afriyie (Windsor) (Con): As a member of the Science and Technology Committee, I am much interested in the evidence and in what we are trying to achieve. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is most important to achieve air quality standards and that the debate is not so much about smoking and passive smoking as about air quality standards in public and other places?
Mr. Lansley: I understand my hon. Friend's point and we might not have explored fully all the engineering solutions that might help to reduce exposure to toxins emitted through tobacco smoke. Indeed, the aetiology of the increased risk might not be entirely clear. Rather than the nicotine content, which is what is typically measured, other toxins might get into the system and change metabolic responses. We need to be clear about that. It might be intensely difficult, however, to remove the carcinogenic material from tobacco smoke that affects other people.
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