Memorandum by Hunters & Frankau Limited
1. Hunters & Frankau Ltd is the main
importer and distributor in the UK of hand made cigars from Cuba
and other Caribbean and Central American countries. Founded in
1790, we are a successful small company based in South West London
employing 54 people. We also import and distribute machine made
cigars principally from Holland and Germany. We do not distribute
any tobacco products other than cigars.
We are a member of the Imported Tobacco Products
Advisory Council (ITPAC) and an associate member of the Association
of Independent Tobacco Specialists (AITS).
We supply cigars to a wide range of licensed
businesses in England including restaurants, hotels, pubs, wine
bars, casinos and golf clubs, and this business accounts for nearly
a quarter of our total annual turnover.
We believe that the Smokefree Elements of the
Health Improvement and Protection Bill, if enacted, will have
a damaging effect on our business. As a result we welcome the
opportunity offered by the House of Commons Health Committee present
this memorandum. We would be willing to attend the Committee and
give oral evidence.
2. Hunters & Frankau considers that
the Government's proposals to restrict smoking in public places
are inconsistent with the principles stated by Prime Minister
and the then Secretary of State for Health in the Foreword and
Preface respectively to the Choosing Health White Paper. (See
the statement in Hunters & Frankau's submission (H&F's
Submission) to the Consultation Document on the Smokefree Elements
of the Health Improvement and Protection Bill under the heading
"The General Principles of the Billattached.) 
3. Hunters & Frankau believes there
is ample evidence available that the Government can make rapid
progress towards its goal to reduce smoking without resorting
to legislation that would create new criminal offences and a costly
regulatory burden. (See H&F's Submission under the heading
"B. Unnecessary"). Furthermore we would welcome the
opportunity to report to the Committee at its hearing the latest
figures on the sales of our cigars to hotels and restaurants,
which we predict will continue to show a decline.
4. Hunters & Frankau believes that the
danger of passive smoking/secondhand smoke has been greatly exaggerated
and that the results of current research indicate that the risks
are low. (See H&F's Submission under the heading "C.
Unjustified"). We would commend to the Committee two documents
on this topic published by FOREST: "The Smoking Issuean
essay by Joe Jackson"; and "Smoking out the trutha
challenge to the Chief Medical Officer by Lord Harris of Highcross".
5. Hunters & Frankau believes that the
Government's proposals for smokefree exemptions on certain licensed
premises are illogical and impractical. (See H&F's Submission
under the heading "C. Impractical").
6. Hunters & Frankau believes that the
Government's proposals do not reflect public opinion and represent
a threat to the rights of individuals. (See H&F's Submission
under the heading "D
and go too far").
7. Hunters & Frankau respectfully asks
the Committee to recommend in its report to the Government either
to use voluntary means to reach its goals to reduce smoking, or,
if legislation is considered unavoidable, to bring forward new
proposals that would confine smoking to separate designated rooms
in all workplaces whether licensed or not.
8. Hunters & Frankau would also ask
the Committee to recommend to Government to add (i) the premises
of tobacco companies, and (ii) the premises of specialist tobacconists
to the list of exempted premises to be contained within the Bill.
(See "Hunters & Frankau's response to the questions in
the Consultation Document", which is appended to H&F's
Submission, at Question 6 and Question 8).
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