Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Written evidence submitted by JJ Fox (St James’s) Limited, trading as James J Fox of 19 St James’s Street, London, SW1 1ES (TVB01)

Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Executive summary

· Our main point is that there are huge distinctions between smoking cigarettes/hand rolling tobacco and cigars/other tobacco products [OTP], both socially and physiologically.

· Cigarettes are nicotine delivery systems, aimed at users to get their nicotine hit as quickly as possible. Smoking cigars is completely different – users smoke cigars much less frequently, rarely daily, and their passions is based around appreciation of subtlety of flavour and not nicotine. In short, it is not a habit, it is a hobby.

· This distinction is already in place in other smoking legislation and was based on the fact that smoking cigars is not appealing to children.

· Restricting sales of all tobacco (including OTP, as defined in legislation), will not have any greater benefit to society, the NHS or the individuals than only restricting sale of cigarettes.

· Smoking cigars is a passion and is not a habit – like drinking fine wine vs extra-strong lager. Most cigar smokers will only smoke a cigar a handful of times per year and so would not materially contribute to poor health unlike smoking cigarettes daily.

· There is a long-standing and well-defined distinction between cigarettes and OTP –

o Health warnings are not as stringent (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

o TNCO emissions are not required for "a tobacco product other than cigarettes" (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

o "Plain Packaging" is not required for OTPs as it is for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

o Sampling exemption for Specialist Tobacconists (Health Act 2006)

· If the aim is to protect our children from the medical and societal repercussions of smoking cigarettes, including cigars in the legislation will make no material difference to that aim, but will kill the Specialist Tobacconist, and along with it, some truly heritage British institutions - for no good reason.

· Incidence of OTP use is so minute that consumption data is not even tracked by the Department of Health. OTPs represent 1.2% of the tobacco market in the UK (HMRC Clearance Data from 2022).

· Incidence of OTP use amongst the under 40’s is a tiny fraction of overall OTP use – again pointing to the fact that restricting sales of cigars will have little-to-no impact on the health of Generation Alpha or indeed the current pressure on the NHS.

· Our business alone employs 30 people and there are 35 other specialist tobacconists just in London. All of those people’s jobs would be at risk over time if the legislation remains in it’s current form.

· We attract significant UHNW tourists to London, as the English Market is considered to be the best in the world for cigars. This has obvious benefits to the rest of the economy.

· We are asking for the legislation to be amended to refer to "cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco", as opposed to "all tobacco products".

Please see overleaf of the main body of the document:

1. James J Fox and Robert Lewis have been trading in our address in St James’s, London, since 1787. Our customers included kings and queens (we have seven royal warrants), Prime Ministers (most notably Winston Churchill, but also some current MPs), Oscar Wilde and Napoleon III.

2. There are many other historic companies within the cigar industry with similarly long histories; Wilsons & Co – 1740, Hunters & Frankau – 1790, Gawith Hoggarth – 1792 to name just three that will be in danger if this legislation goes ahead as written.

3. The legislation as it stands would inadvertently sound the death knell to the Specialist Tobacconist, and along with it, some truly heritage British institutions.

4. Currently we serve as a community those who make the lifestyle choice to enjoy handmade cigars and pipe tobaccos (OTP). That community is anecdotally in the 40+ age bracket and affluent, and often in good health.

5. We also attract significant UHNW tourists to London, as the English Market is considered to be the best in the world for cigars. This has obvious benefits to the rest of the economy.

6. Several years ago, we broke with the over 200 year company tradition of selling cigarettes for similar reasons to the legislation – ie to benefit society, but also because it was not consistent with our strategy which is to serve people who have made the choice to enjoy handmade cigars and pipe tobacco.

7. Smoking cigars, unlike smoking cigarettes, is a hobby. All cigar smokers could stop smoking cigars tomorrow, but they just choose not to. Unlike cigarette smokers, cigar and pipe smokers do not smoke for the nicotine, but for the flavour. Similar to a wine connoisseur who does not drink wine to get drunk.

8. If the legislation goes ahead as it is currently written, it would be the equivalent of passing legislation to ban sales of vintage red wine in order to curb youth binge drinking.

9. Almost all of the wording in the legislation is relevant to cigarette smoking, but not cigar smoking, none more so than the Foreword (Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))

a. "Smoking damages and cuts short lives in extraordinary numbers".

b. "It drives many cancers, especially lung cancer which is the most common cause of cancer deaths in both women and men in the UK".

c. "Data over the last 5 years shows most smokers want to quit, but cannot due to an addiction to nicotine that started in their teenage years".

d. Over 80% of smokers started before they turned 20, many as children".

e. "We know that most smokers start in their youth and are then addicted for life".

10. All the above – and many other statements besides – are simply not correct for cigar and pipe smoking.

11. Similarly, in the "Overview" of the first section of the legislation "The Case for Change" (Stopping the start: our new plan to create a smokefree generation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), it links to a document produced by the DoH in 2021 (Health Profile for England 2021 (phe.org.uk)) which listed "tobacco" as the leading behavioural risk. If that were split out to cigarette and OTP, where would OTP rank? We don’t know this because the DoH do not have this data.

12. From that point onwards, the whole policy paper, cigarettes and "[all] tobacco" are being used interchangeably as if they are the same thing, when in reality - as well as within previous legislation (eg Tobacco Products Directive 2016) - they are not.

13. In fact, there are 34 instances of the word cigarette in the legislation, but no occurrences of the word cigar.

14. There is a long-standing distinction in law between smoking cigarettes and cigars/pipes. Since 2002, the tobacco industry has had enforced various different legislation, but in almost all cases, OTP has been made distinct from cigarettes and HRT. This is because these products do not appeal to children.

15. Examples of this are:

a. Health warnings are not as stringent (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

b. TNCO emissions are not required for "a tobacco product other than cigarettes" (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

c. "Plain Packaging" is not required for OTPs as it is for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco (The Tobacco and Related Products Directive 2016)

d. Sampling exemption for Specialist Tobacconists (Health Act 2006)

16. It therefore makes no sense that this, the most stringent of all the legislation passed to date, would be all-encompassing to include cigars and OTP.

17. Incidence of OTP use is so minute compared to cigarette smoking that consumption data is not even tracked by the Department of Health. OTPs represent 1.2% of the tobacco market in the UK (HMRC Clearance Data from 2022).

18. Incidence of OTP use amongst the under 30’s is a small fraction of overall OTP use – again pointing to the fact that restricting sales of cigars will have little-to-no impact on the health of Generation Alpha or indeed the pressure on the NHS.

19. Our business alone employs 30 people and there are 35 other specialist tobacconists just in London. All of those people’s jobs would be at risk over time if the legislation remains in it’s current form.

20. The UK is recognised globally as the country with the lowest incidence of counterfeit cigars. We contribute to attracting, usually wealthy, tourists to the country which has obvious benefits to the wider UK economy.

What are we suggesting?

21. We are suggesting that the legislation is amended to refer to only "cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco" instead of "tobacco products".

22. As a business, we have no opinion on the vaping section of the legislation.

Written by Daniel Freeman

Director

JJ Fox (St James’s) Limited

April 2024

 

Prepared 2nd May 2024