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Dr. Gibson: Will my right hon. Friend acknowledge the work of Sir Richard Doll, who sadly died a year ago at the age of 90? In 1954, he produced the first paper that showed the increased mortality of heavy smokers. He also showed that people could live longer depending on the age at which they gave up smoking.
I acknowledge what Richard Doll did in not only the United Kingdom, but worldwide. His authority on the matter was denied for many years, mostly due to the connivance of the tobacco industry, which tried to hide the fact that deaths were caused by tobacco here and throughout the world.
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Using the estimates of risk in the SCOTH report, Professor Konrad Jamrozik calculated in a paper published in the British Medical Journal that exposure to second-hand smoke in the workplace caused about 600 deaths a year, which is about three times the number of people in this country killed in industrial accidents each year. Second-hand smoke is also responsible for thousands of episodes of illness. For example, Asthma UK reports that it is the second most common trigger of asthma attacks at work.
Of course, workers who are routinely exposed to other people's smoke are those who are most at risk. Bar workers are thus top of the list, but we should not forget that the Government's figures show that about 2 million people work in places in which smoking is allowed throughout and that more than 10 million people work in places in which smoking is allowed somewhere on the premisesthat is not a small number. I suggest that there are thus sufficient health and safety justifications for ending smoking in the workplace. I deeply regret that the Bill is seen as a measure of public opinion, rather than a measure to protect people in the workplace, which is how other such legislation that we pass is thought of.
Mr. Sheerman: My right hon. Friend and I have been companions in arms on the matter for a long time and have been called a lot of namesI suppose that "puritans" was one of the nicest. Hon. Members have called the Bill a ban on smoking. It is not a ban on smoking, but a line in the sand that says that we will from now start a new culture in our country in which people realise that smoking kills them, or seriously affects their health.
Health and safety concerns are sufficient reason for resisting the Government's original plans to exempt from smoke-free legislation pubs that do not serve food. Why should workers in such pubs be denied the protection that other workers are to be given? It is nonsense to think that we should pass such a measure in the House. Health and safety concerns are sufficient reason not to exempt membership clubs from the law. Licensed clubs employ bar staff, who are routinely exposed to other people's smoke. The fact that the clubs in which they work are owned by members does not afford them any protection from lung cancer or heart disease. The notion that club members should be able to vote to continue to expose their workers to such risks is unacceptable. I came to the House after working for 18 years in one of the most dangerous industries in the United Kingdom. It would be unacceptable for Parliament to pass legislation on that industry by ignoring fundamental facts, but the Bill attempts to do so on smoking.
It is farcical to suggest that a private members' club is an extension of the home. I have been a member of a club for many years, but clubs are not as private and secluded as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State suggested on the radio this morning. A member of a club in the Club and Institute Union can affiliate to the wider union for £3 a year, and can go to 2,600 clubs and buy
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a drink without anyone preventing them from doing so. Royal British Legion clubs, too, are not exclusivea member of the British Legion can walk into any of its clubs and be served a drink.
The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) raised the issue of children. Clubs differ marginally from public houses, because there are often many children inside them. They are family-oriented and many hold weekly discos for young children. They organise Easter bonnet parades, Christmas functions and so on for families and young children, so the proposal to exempt clubs from the smoking ban is ludicrous.
If Members do not believe that it is reasonable and practicable to protect people in the workplace under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, they should wait until the House passes the smoking legislation and see what the no win, no fee lawyers do to clubs trying to secure indemnity insurance. In its evidence to the Select Committee, the Health and Safety Commission clearly recommended that pubs, bars and clubs should be covered by the law in the same way as every other workplace. That view is shared by the TUC, which passed a motion nem. con. in congress in September to ban smoking in all workplaces. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, which represents more than 640 bar workers in clubs, wants a ban, and issued a press release on FridayI am sure that Members have seen itin which general secretary John Hannett said:
When the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley gave evidence to the Health Committee, I asked her about clubs that offer entertainment. If someone is working on the stage, will the Government say that we should stop people smoking near the stage? At a reception earlier today, I was talking to Fiona Castle, the widow of Roy Castle, who we all know contracted lung cancer without ever smoking a cigarette in his life. Many people think that that was because of the secondary smoke that he inhaled in his career as a club entertainer. It is nonsense to think that we can protect people from secondary smoke if exemptions such as the one proposed are made.
Let me offer one more quote from somebody who works behind a barnot somebody who goes into a bar by choice, but somebody who gets a living behind a bar. Another of the staff whom USDAW represents says:
What have they done to deserve that? If a person can move from a pub in my village to a club over the road to smoke, that will make matters even worse not just for bar workers, but for other people in the club.
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Patrick Hall: Those who argue that private members' clubs should be exempt accept that they should not be exempt from health and safety legislation. They rely, therefore, on the analogy between a private members' club and a person's private home. My right hon. Friend has already mentioned that, but does he agree that it cannot be emphasised enough that that analogy is entirely false and has no basis in reality?
Labour Members gave a pledge in our manifesto about what we would and would not exempt. As an MP for more than 20 years, I have always taken manifesto commitments extremely seriously and I still do, but we must consider the matter logically and ask whether it would be practical to apply an exemption. The answer is no. It is not practical in respect of pubs that do not serve food or in respect of clubs.
Ed Balls (Normanton) (Lab): My right hon. Friend makes a powerful case for the full ban and for it to apply to private members' clubs as well, but he recognises that, because of the manifesto position, some people might have thought that the Government or the House would take a different view and that there would be time for them to adjust. Is he rigidly advocating the timetable as previously set out or is there a case for allowing people more time to prepare before the full ban comes in, applying both to bars and to private members' clubs?
Mr. Barron: That is a matter for the Government. If a comprehensive ban is agreed tonight, it is crucial that it is enforced in a way that means that everybody understands where one may smoke and where one may not smoke. Unfortunately, my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Stephen Pound) is not with us. I had one or two things to say to him about that.
If hon. Members are not persuaded by the health argument, what about the economic argument? To force some pubs to make a choice between stopping people smoking and stopping serving food would create a gross and unjustified market distortion, as well as making a mess of the Government's alcohol strategy and worsening health inequalities. To force pubs that cease to allow smoking to compete with bars and clubs in the same street that still permit it would be unfair and unreasonable.
Like many other hon. Members, I have received representations not just from the industry, but from local publicans. I have one from Steve Smith and Wendy Edwards of The Thurcroft, a public house in one of the villages in my constituency. I know that public house very well. Five hundred yards down the road is Thurcroft Miners Welfare, and five hundred yards up the road is the Unity club, or the "top club", as it is
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known in the village. The income of those people will be threatened directly if the ban suggested in new clause 5 is introduced.
I received a letter from Mr. Jan Sowa, who runs a small company that runs three pubs, one of which is The Blue Bell in Aston, another village in my constituency. That pub, too, will be under threat if smoking is allowed in clubs. I do not want to see small businesses such as pubs close because of what the House does. I hope that other hon. Members do not want to see that either. That is why the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Hospitality Association and many others in the leisure and tourism industry now support comprehensive legislation. They see the dangers to businesses.
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