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Lord Tebbit: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, for giving way. When does he think the collision will come between measures to ban such things as tobacco advertising and alcohol advertising and measures to liberalise the regime concerning cannabis and other so-called soft drugs? It seems that at some stage there will be an extraordinary collision.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, it is a most interesting question. It intrigues me. I know people who are hooked on cannabis but who are anti-tobacco. I cannot understand it, but it is true. I cannot answer the noble Lord's question, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the collision comes.
As I say, alcohol is on the agenda today; it could be motoring tomorrow: 3,600 deaths--not estimated but actual--are caused every year as a result of motoring. There are 45,000 serious injuries, not imagined but actual. Medical problems are caused by exhaust fumes. Asthmatics in particular are affected--10,000 deaths a year are caused by fumes in London alone. Noise pollution, congestion costs, environmental pollution, CO 2 emissions leading to global warming, and damage to property are all the result of motoring. Are there any noble Lords who disagree with that list? No, of course, they cannot. We all know that motoring causes those difficulties.
Lord Haskel: My Lords, I disagree with the noble Lord's list. His list did not include the banning of guns, for example. The fact that guns have been banned has probably saved a large number of lives, so he had better add all those on.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, let me answer the noble Lord. I have been following recent Answers to Questions on these matters. He will find that since we banned handguns the number of homicides has increased.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, I assure the noble Lord that handguns were banned in 1997. There was one Bill before the general election and one following the general election. I opposed both of them; that is why I know what I am talking about.
As I made clear, I do not believe that we should go round banning the advertising of legal products which are alleged to be harmful to humans. I have also said that I do not believe that brand advertising increases consumption. However, if Parliament in its wisdom
Lord Monson: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, is he aware that the figure of some 52,000 smoking deaths a year, which he cleverly extrapolated from the figures given by the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, is very close indeed to the estimate of 50,000 smoking deaths a year which the DHSS, as it then was, gave to Lord Houghton of Sowerby in a Written Answer some years ago? Is this not a far cry from the inflated figure of 120,000 that we are given today?
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Yes, my Lords. It is interesting that when those figures were given to the late Lord Houghton of Sowerby, smoking was much more prevalent than it is now. So there is a reduction in the number of people smoking but an increase in the number of deaths. I do not know where that gets us.
The benefits of the Bill are in addition to other measures announced by the Government--such as the increase in tobacco duty, measures to crack down on tobacco smuggling and an education campaign to inform the public of the dangers of smoking, together with information and services to help smokers to give up, and the latest government announcement that aids to smokers in giving up the habit, such as nicotine patches, will now be available on the National Health Service. That package, of which this important Bill is a part, could mean a reduction in the total number of people becoming addicted to smoking. It is estimated that 3,000 lives will be saved in the UK in the longer term as a result of the Bill. In addition, it could mean a saving for the National Health Service of up to £40 million on treatment for smoking-related diseases.
Research indicates that more girls than boys are now taking up smoking. This is a worrying trend. The dangers to a girl's future health are different from those affecting the health of boys. Young women smokers who may one day want to become pregnant will experience difficulties when trying to conceive to a greater extent than non-smokers; the danger of miscarriage is greater; and perinatal mortality is increased by about one-third in the babies of smokers--that is the equivalent to approximately 420 deaths per year in England and Wales.
Research has shown that smoking may contribute to inadequate breast milk production. The infants of parents who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from serious respiratory infection than those whose parents are non-smokers. Studies have shown that for women who smoke the risk of developing cervical cancer is up to four times higher than it is for non-smokers, and that the risk increases with the duration of the habit. The natural menopause occurs up to two years earlier in smokers. The likelihood of early menopause is related to the number of cigarettes smoked: women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day have an increased risk. So the dangers to women smokers of all ages are great. It is highly likely that those who are at risk started smoking when they were young. I am appalled that tobacco companies often target women in their advertising. The Bill will go some way to help with that problem.
I see the Bill as a liberating measure, as part of a package to prevent people from starting to smoke. It will liberate all those who might have started smoking and so free them from ill health and premature death. It will help them to have a better life than they would have had, had they not started smoking; and many benefits will accrue, not merely to them but to all those who might have suffered from passive smoking, including their children.
Lord Glenarthur: My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, can she say at this stage whether or not she would support the Bill on alcohol alluded to by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, for exactly the same reasons?
In supporting the Bill I would like to add to the list of health hazards of smoking mentioned by my noble friend Lord Walton of Detchant. I say to him that the illusionary pipe that he saw was always a dagger. The effect of using either would be the same. I would like to declare an interest. I am associated with the charity QUIT. It is a charity concerned with helping people to stop smoking.
I would particularly like to mention the effect that smoking has on pregnancy. It has the effect of reducing birth weight and contributes to the high incidence of low birth weight babies born in this country. We have the highest incidence of such babies in the western world, apart from the United States of America.
Smoking during pregnancy is also associated with an increased incidence of premature births with the consequences that that has on neo-natal death rates and disability. Among young mothers the incidence of smoking in certain areas of this country is as high as 42 per cent. The incidence of cigarette smoking among young women is higher than in young men and the incidence of lung cancer in young women is increasing. In some parts of Scotland, for instance, the commonest cancer now in women is lung cancer and it is higher than breast cancer. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Monson, that snuff is not harmless. It increases the risk of cancers of the throat and nose.
Let us not pretend that the advertising of tobacco is not aimed at promoting smoking and is not primarily aimed at the young. I have never seen a septuagenarian or an octogenarian in a cigarette advertisement. One sees many young ladies on such advertisements.
Anything that we can do to reduce smoking among the young has to be for the good and we should support this Bill. However, I agree with the noble Lords, Lord Tebbit, Lord Tomlinson and Lord Palmer, that it makes no sense to continue to subsidise tobacco growers in Europe. I hope that the Government will support any moves that lead to removing that subsidy. I support the Bill.
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