Tobacco and Vapes Bill

Correspondence submitted by Daniel Freeman - Director - James J Fox (on the composition of the membership and selection of witnesses) (TVB50)

S ubject: Concerns Regarding Committee Composition and Witness Selection for the Tobacco and Vapes Bill


Committee Chair

Tobacco and Vapes Bill – Commons General Committee
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA


Daniel Freeman


J. J. Fox (St James’s) Limited

19 St James’s Street



Dear Committee Chair,

I am writing to express significant concern regarding the current composition of the committee overseeing the Tobacco and Vapes Bill. While I acknowledge the critical importance of public health considerations, I am troubled by the apparent lack of balance in the committee's focus.

Committee Composition: The composition of the committee primarily consists of members who voted in favour of the bill at the second reading, with only one member having no registered vote. A more diverse committee composition would facilitate a comprehensive examination of the bill's impact and potential wider implications.

Witness Selection: The witnesses summoned to testify during committee sessions have predominantly represented public health bodies. While their insights are undoubtedly valuable, it is essential not to overlook the practical challenges faced by retailers and the enforcement difficulties encountered by law enforcement agencies. The absence of witnesses from these sectors undermines the thorough scrutiny that this bill warrants. The lack of representation from retailers, retailers’ associations, and law enforcement agencies on the committee raises significant concerns. As stakeholders directly affected by the proposed legislation, their perspectives and expertise are invaluable.


Balanced Representation: I urge the committee to reconsider its composition by including representatives with differing opinions from across the house.

Diverse Witnesses: When selecting witnesses, please ensure a balanced representation. Inviting experts from small or medium businesses, retail associations, law enforcement bodies, and industry representatives will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the bill's impact. Their firsthand experiences will enrich the debate and lead to more informed decision-making. Despite their active engagement in the consultation process since its inception, no representation from small or medium businesses has been asked to provide evidence.

Close Scrutiny: Let us not lose sight of the broader implications beyond public health. The economic, social, and enforcement aspects deserve equal attention. The process thus far has been far from fair and inclusive. Equally concerning is the apparent neglect of domestic business interests in favour of an aggressive and inaccurate interpretation of government obligations under the FCTC treaty. Numerous retailers, importers, and distributors who participated in the consultation process are now being told that their views, as UK taxpayers and contributors to the economy, are neither relevant nor welcome.

I appreciate the committee's commitment to thorough scrutiny, and I trust that these recommendations will be given due consideration. Our collective goal should be legislation that strikes a balance between public health objectives and the practical realities faced by retailers and law enforcement agencies.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to witnessing a more inclusive and comprehensive examination of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill.


Daniel Freeman

Director - James J Fox

April 2024


Prepared 15th May 2024