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Lord Tomlinson: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, perhaps I may put a brief question to her? She said that the Bill was flawed in relation to sports sponsorship. Does she agree with what the Central Council for Physical Education also said in its briefing; namely, that it does recognise the incongruity

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of sponsorship with health and related matters, of which sport is one? The council is therefore seeking to find alternatives.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I quite agree with the point made by the noble Lord. I am sorry if I did not make that clear when I referred to the fact that I had understood, from the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, that he was referring to the health impact of sports sponsorship. Certainly I do not propose that sporting bodies should continue for ever to accept tobacco sponsorship of their events because of the incongruity pointed out by the CCPR. What I am saying here is that I think that the Government have adopted an improper route by discriminating unfairly against some sports while helping others.

6.36 p.m.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I should declare an interest in that, because I am a non-smoker, I am an associate member of the Lords and Commons Pipe and Cigar Smokers Club. I am also a patron of FOREST.

One of the advantages of speaking towards the end of the list of speakers is that one has been able to listen to so many marvellous contributions to both sides of the argument. I have been able to count how many of those have been in favour of the Bill and how many have been against it. My tally is that 14 speeches have been made against the Bill and only eight in favour of it. At this stage, the House does not appear to be in favour of the Bill.

I listened with interest to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, who pointed out the incongruity of the policy being followed by the EU. On the one hand, it subsidises tobacco to the extent of some 600 million a year; but on the other hand, it wants to bring in legislation to ban the advertising of tobacco because it wants to see the consumption of tobacco reduced. Thus one part wants to increase consumption while the other part wants to reduce it. My noble friend Lord Tomlinson was absolutely right to urge the Government to take action on this incongruous and absurd situation.

I listened also to the contribution made by the noble Lord, Lord Walton of Detchant, to whom I always listen with the utmost respect. In his remarks he cited figures on the number of deaths due to smoking; namely, that 120,000 die from smoking each year. I am sure that he will agree, first, that that is an estimated figure because, after they have died, records are not kept as regards whether people were smokers.

Secondly, if 120,000 people die of smoking-related diseases each year, some 600,000 do not die of smoking related diseases; they die of something else. After all, in the end we all have to die of something. However, the House should take some encouragement from those figures. While we have been debating this issue, the number of deaths has gone down. That is because, as my noble friend Lord Dubs said, during the time it

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would take for him to make his speech, three people would die from cigarette smoking. My noble friend spoke for 10 minutes. I have done a calculation which shows that, on that basis, only 52,560 people would die each year. It seems that we are making progress even without this proposed Bill to ban tobacco advertising.

In my view, the Bill is a continuation of the prolonged witch hunt against smokers. It is a witch hunt that has penalised and demonised smokers for using a legal product--that has been emphasised time and time again during the debate--out of which the Government have made enormous, incalculable profits.

But there are 13 million smokers--some people put the figure as high as 15 million smokers--and I understand that we are shortly to have an election. It may very well be that the people who are witch hunted and demonised will take note of what is happening. I urge the Government not to be so harsh on a very large proportion of the voting register.

It is smokers--not the tobacco companies--who have suffered from the witch hunt. The companies continue to thrive and shares in them are very buoyant. You should not think that you are getting at the tobacco companies; they will survive. You are getting at the ordinary smokers who derive pleasure from the habit.

This Bill has been brought forward in the wake of a complete failure of governments to deal with the problem. In spite of all the measures by governments against it--the health warnings, the draconian measures against retailers, the huge amounts spent on measures to reduce smoking, the subsidisation of virulent anti-smoking organisations, such as ASH, and, above all, the penal tax, about which we have heard so much, levied on smokers by successive governments (indeed, the previous government imposed the escalator tax, which this Government has now removed)--smoking is on the increase. The smoking bans by airlines, bus companies, train companies and others, have all failed to bring about the desired objective of governments and of ASH to make Britain a tobacco-smoke free zone.

The Government's desperation has led them to bring forward this undemocratic piece of legislation to deny free speech--because that is what it is, make no mistake about it--and free communication between buyer and seller, and competitive advertising between businesses selling a legal product. I and others have warned time and time again that the Government and their subsidised mouthpieces, such as ASH, were following the wrong policies on smoking and that they were likely to be counter-productive. So it has proved. Not only is smoking on the increase--especially among women and the young--but the yield from tobacco taxation, as we have heard, has been hit by the law of diminishing returns.

Tobacco smuggling has become endemic in our society. Indeed, it is tolerated and even encouraged by the mass of the population. At least one third of cigarettes are now smuggled, and the police and customs officials cannot cope with the problem. They

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never will be able to cope with the problem. Cheaper, and often inferior, cigarettes encourage additional consumption and make it easier for people, especially young people--despite what my noble friend Lord Faulkner said--to start smoking. They are encouraged to start smoking if they can buy them cheaper, make no mistake about that.

So we have now come to this Bill to ban tobacco advertising and promotion. It is certainly an illiberal, draconian piece of legislation, produced, I understand, without proper consultation with the industry. That is completely undemocratic; the industry is entitled to be consulted about measures which will hurt it and its relationship with its customers. It is an industry which has co-operated fully with governments in the past over advertising.

The tragedy is that the measure is unlikely to achieve its objective--which is, in any event, very limited. A 2.5 per cent reduction in consumption is a very small reduction--it is practically nothing--especially when one considers that other government measures, such as penal taxation, have increased consumption by 6.5 per cent. Even if the Bill achieves its objective, it seems to me to be a very large hammer to crack what will be a very small nut.

It also seems to me that, by the Bill, the Government are shooting themselves in the foot. The largest part of tobacco advertisements blazons the message that smoking causes every disease under the sun or kills you. Indeed, not only you but everyone else, apparently. That is free advertisement for the anti-smoking cause which will not appear. So if tobacco adverts are deemed to encourage people to smoke and to start smoking, then advertisements against should do the reverse. Is that not right? Thus the advertising ban becomes self-defeating. As I say, the Government have shot themselves in the foot.

The arguments against the Bill are many and weighty and are being deployed around the House. But the argument which should give pause to supporters of the Bill is where does banning advertisements of legal products stop. Which is the next product in line for a Bill to ban its advertising if this Bill passes into law? As it happens--as some noble Lords know--I can answer that question: it is liquor. Today, I have introduced a Bill, the Liquor Advertising and Promotions Bill [H.L.]. It is a Bill which follows very, very closely the provisions of the Bill before us, as noble Lords will see when it is published, probably tomorrow.

Everyone agrees that alcohol is, of course, the most dangerous drug of all. It is addictive and it is dangerous in its effect on others--drink/driving, for example, kills 800 people every year and injures seriously at least 10,000. People are involved in violent crime because of alcohol; in violence towards others; in wife beating; sometimes in husband beating; in children beating. Alcoholism is an increasing problem. The young are increasingly hooked on binge drinking and women have taken to the bottle as never before. It causes the death of some 35,000 younger people. Do not forget that smoking, if it kills, affects older people, over 65, but alcohol kills about 35,000 younger people

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every year. That is set out not by me but in a report of the Royal College of Physicians published in February of this year.

So this perhaps is the future; tobacco today and alcohol on the agenda. It is well and truly on the agenda now; it is before the House, make no mistake about that. What is next--motoring?


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