Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Written evidence submitted by Havana House to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill Public Bill Committee (TVB04)

Havana House was established in Feb 2000, from a single unit in Windsor Royal Station to 10 Units around the UK. Over time we have taken over old established tobacconists, some of which are over 150 years old, in the same premises.

The company employs nearly 40 people. Over the years the product categories we sell has changed, and now Cigars and Other Tobacco Products (OTP) account for over 80% of our business. We have moved almost completely away from the sale of cigarettes.

 

We invest heavily to comply with the ever-changing tobacco regulations, the display ban being an example. We conduct regular staff training to keep our staff informed and aware regarding the age verification process. We have notices in all our shops which states that Under 18 years of age are not allowed in our shops.

We believe that a thorough Impact Assessment has not been carried out due to the fact that the word cigar was only mentioned once and nothing for OTP. We request a new Impact Assessment to be conducted reflecting the sales figures of OTPs.

OTPs represent a tiny segment of the whole tobacco market in comparison to cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco. The OTP share is so insignificant (1.2% according to HMRC Clearance data) that it is already well below the government’s 2030 smokefree target of 5% or less smoking incidence. The proportion of this 1.2% that is made up of Hand-Made cigars is also incredibly small and Cigar smokers are much older with 90% of users are over 25 years old, and 78% are over 35 years old . Indeed, the prevalence of OTP use among the UK population is so insignificant that neither the DHSC, nor the Office for National Statistics currently tracks the incidence of OTP use. In the recent DHSC (OHID) Consultation on mandating quit information messages inside tobacco packs, which closed on 10 th  October 2023, under "Option 5: make it a legal requirement to include pack inserts in all tobacco products" the DHSC makes a statement confirming that "it has not been possible to estimate the costs and benefits associated with these more niche forms of tobacco due to limited data available on the prevalence and consumption of these products"

 

Our business relies on cigars and OTP, which are a different category to cigarettes. Cigars have a long standing tradition in the UK and around the world and we would stress that this category should be exempted from this Bill. 

   Regards , Paresh Patel , Havana House Cigar Merchants.

April 202 4

 

Prepared 2nd May 2024