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Lord Geddes: My Lords, it is, indeed, a pleasure and a privilege to follow the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, and to congratulate him on behalf of the whole House on an extremely witty, but, dare I say, not totally uncontroversial maiden speech.
In another life, the public perception of the noble Lord was, perhaps, as the leader of the Greater London Council for two years and/or as an eminent Minister for Sport. When I looked at the list of speakers and I saw that I was following the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, I thought, "Lord Stratford . . . Lord Stratford? . . . Ah, Lord Stratford! I wonder why he took that title?". Then I thought about sports Ministers and I wondereddare I say itwhether he had an inside track to the 2012 Olympics.
Perhaps a lesser known but longer-lasting perception of the noble Lordat least to dateis that of a man who is highly knowledgeable in and a great admirer of the arts. He was a long-time chairman of the Works of Art Committee in another place. I am advised on good authority that the noble Lord instigated the website on the considerable quantity and quality of that art in another place, thereby greatly increasing public access to it. If only for thatof course, it is not only for that reasonthe noble Lord is to be congratulated most warmly. Although I do not believe that I shall agree with him that often, I genuinely hope that we will hear from him often in this House.
I declare an interest as a loyal member of the Lords and Commons Pipe and Cigar Smokers' Club, whose tie I am proud to wear this evening. My noble friend Lord Naseby has done the House a great service, because I have now crossed out the first four items to which I intended refer. However, I should mention a further effect of the Private Bills that I do not think he mentioned: they could have serious effects on competition, as a result of different provisions applying to businesses in adjacent or nearby local authority areas. In all other respects, I support what he said. The Government are bringing forward their Bill, and we should wait for that Bill, following the consultation.
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I wish to ask the Minister about one point of detail, which is illustrative of the Bill. I do not intend to be facetious. Clause 4(2) states that a "place of work" is described, among other things, as a "vehicle". That seems fine. Then, Clause 5 states that,
I hope that the Minister will not accuse me of being facetious, but if a Bill is to mean what it states, and your place of work is in a car, presumably you cannot smoke in a convertible car if the hood is up, but you can if the hood is down. That is my reading of the clause. The two Bills are riddled with such inconsistencies.
I have spoken on the subject previously and noble Lords will know perfectly well where I stand. I object most strongly to what I describe as the nanny state. I object most strongly to the reduction in personal freedom. I shall conclude by repeating the view of the Health and Safety Commission. It stated that, in its view it was not currently reasonably practical under health, safety and welfare law to ban smoking in all such workplacesrestaurants, pubs and so onin some cases, because it would not be commercially viable and in others because it would interfere with personal freedoms.
Lord Addington: My Lords, it falls to me to be the first person from these Benches to welcome the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, to our proceedings. He said that he was not sure about how we are so polite to each other. The best way to describe that is to say that he has now entered a fight with stilettos rather than clubs; feel for the rib and dig in. I am sure that he will quickly get the hang of it.
This is one of those interesting debates in which already virtually everything that I thought about saying has been said in support of the Bills. It is a fact that ingesting second-hand or unused smoke from a cigarette still damages you, still smells bad, still irritates your eyesand ultimately could kill. So what is the big difference? The difference is that you have not lit the cigarette and that you have not chosen to smoke.
The case for the Bill is almost unanswerable. I can go on for a long time about how unacceptable it is for people to pass their habit, their drug addiction, on to somebody else. Remember, we are talking about an addiction.
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At the same time, I have a little sympathy for the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Geddes. I am just of the age group that was affected by smoking. It was still the case that a cigarette was a social tool; it was something that you were expected to do. Indeed, when it came to chatting up girls, it was said that you must smoke because you could offer a cigarette or a light. Smoking was integrated into our social background. I have a little sympathy for those who have been told to do something, and then the norm they have been trained to acceptthe drug habit they have acquiredis removed. They are now told that smoking is bad, and they should not do it because they are affecting other people.
But that is the only ground that I can see for not giving full support to the Bills. Indeed, there are really no grounds; it is just an excuse for people to oppose the Bill. We are going through a process that allows detailed scrutiny of the Bill and these things can be argued out for ever. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Nasebywho is no longer in his seatspoke about the vast cost of QCs. The vast cost to the NHS is a pretty handy come back to that. QCs will have to be paid only once or twiceI do not think we will get away with oncebut if smoking continues we will pay for it through the tax bill for a long time.
We must make sure these Bills go forward. They will really stop the ingestion of an addictive, damaging drug through smoking. I hope that this House will get the Bill through and will make sure it is a real kick to the Government to make sure that they follow it to its conclusion.
Lord Chan: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Stratford, on his interesting maiden speech. I look forward to hearing from him on other occasions. I also congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, and my noble friend Lady Howarth on putting forward these Private Bills, which I support.
I intend to focus on recent surveys of residents in Liverpool and the north-west, especially Wirral, to support a smoke-free Liverpool. Liverpool has one of the worst death rates from smoking-related diseases in the United Kingdom. More than 1,000 people die every year. As mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, Liverpool is the lung cancer capital of the United Kingdom according to public health observatories. It is not surprising that the city wants to get rid of that title.
In a survey of 860 Liverpool residents that was published six months ago, in December 2004, 84 per cent, including 68 per cent of smokers, agreed or strongly agreed that all employees have the right to work in a smoke-free environment.
This legislation will not have serious effects on the hospitality industry. In the Liverpool residents survey last December, three-quarters of smokers stated that if pubs and restaurants were smoke-free it would make no difference to their use of them, or that they would use them even more.
This legislation will encourage tourism. In an October 2004 survey, more than half of the 300 national and international tourists interviewed said that their trip
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to Liverpool would have been more enjoyable if public places, including pubs and restaurants, had been smoke-free. Only 8 per cent of tourists said that they would have enjoyed their time less if Liverpool was smoke-free.
Working among smokers can increase a person's risk of contracting lung cancer or heart disease by up to 30 per cent. In Liverpool, the dangers of passive smoking are taken seriously because of the work of the Roy Castle International Centre for Lung Cancer Research. Lost productivity and ill-health connected with smoking among the Liverpool workforce is estimated to cost employers approximately £28.5 million a year, according to a survey published in November 2003. That report found that smoking-related diseases cost the NHS in Liverpool nearly £13 million a year.
Smoke-free Liverpool had the overwhelming support of the city councilboth in October last year and in January this year. The campaign has the overwhelming support of Liverpool residents for total restrictions on smoking in workplaces, including shops, offices, factories, pubs, restaurants and clubs. Eight months after the city council recommended it, more workplaces are embracing total restrictions on smoking.
Her Majesty's Government have made some plans to restrict smoking in workplaces by 2008, but Liverpool and other boroughs of Merseyside believe that their plans do not go far enough and are not moving quickly enough to protect our residents. In fact, the north-west of England wants the Government to go further than they plan.
In the north-west a Big Smoke Debate survey was carried out between March and May 2004. A total of 14,222 responses to the questionnaire were received, of which one-fifth were from Merseyside. Results showed that eight out of 10 north-west residents supported legislation to ban smoking in public places; nine out of 10 said that they would prefer public places to be smoke-free; four out of five were bothered by tobacco smoke; and eight out of 10 wanted cafes, bars, restaurants and offices to become completely smoke-free.
Of all lifestyle influences on cancer, smoking has by far the greatest impact on overall cancer incidence, according to the number of new cases, deaths and survival rates. Smoking impacts on many conditions other than cancers. One out of every seven deaths from heart disease is caused by smoking as are 83 per cent of deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease, including bronchitis. That includes more than 40,000 deaths from circulatory diseases each year. Smoking is also linked to asthma and osteoporosis, which is common among older women.
Breathing in other people's smoke also kills because of the 40 known carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Immediate exposure could make your eyes sore and lead to a headache, dizziness, cough, sore throat and nausea. If you are asthmatic you may experience a decline in lung function. Just 30 minutes' exposure to other people's tobacco smoke can be enough to reduce blood flow through the heart. Those were the findings of a report in The Journal of the American Medical Association published in 2001.
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A smoke-free workplace, particularly a pub, will help people to give up smoking. Most smokers on Merseyside want to give up and they find it hard to give up when they go into a pub, have a few drinks and everybody else is smoking.
Introducing the smoking ban will help people give up, as was seen in the Cherry Tree Shopping Centre in Wallasey, when it became smoke-free in December 2003. That has increased the number of shoppers. I trust that with all this evidence we will all support the Second Reading of these two Bills.
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