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Lord Warner: My Lords, my noble friend is right. I am pleased to say that NHS Stop Smoking Services are available to children as well as adults. More than 6,000 young people under 18 years old set a quit date through NHS Stop Smoking Services between April and September 2005. There are many local initiatives to help young people. We have changed the age restrictions on nicotine replacement therapy products so that children over the age of 12 are now free to use nicotine gum and patches to help them quit smoking.

Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I and many others have a considerable interest in ensuring the effectiveness of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002. What resources are the Government devoting to ensuring compliance with that Act? Moreover, in the face of the fact that tobacco companies now are not entitled to target young people with their advertising, what are the Government doing to campaign to ensure that young people do not take up the smoking habit?

Lord Warner: My Lords, as the noble Lord knows, we have a wide-ranging tobacco control programme, which includes successful media campaigns. Our tobacco products are highly taxed. We are supporting advertising to stop encouraging people to take up smoking. We are doing much to stop the supply of cheap smuggled tobacco. We have a large range of policies, and I am happy to write to the noble Lord with more details.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, smoking is a very expensive pastime, as I know. Do the Government have any idea where children get the money from to buy the tobacco? That seems to me the most obvious place to start to try to stop children smoking.

Lord Warner: My Lords, possibly we are the victims of our success in growing such a successful economy under this Government.

Lord Davies of Coity: My Lords, I recognise the extent of the problem, and I do not want young children to smoke and continue smoking, but to what extent do the Government know that the children who
 
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smoke are involved in a culture in their family of smoking and, indeed, if not encouraged are not discouraged from smoking by their parents?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I do not have any data on that, but we know from research that young people are influenced by the milieu in which they operate—both their peers and families. My noble friend's statements are therefore probably quite right.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, what percentage of children who smoke smoke cannabis?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I do not think that the department has evidence on that, but I shall check and write to the noble Baroness if we have data. We continue to recognise the health harms associated with cannabis use, and because of that possession remains illegal.

Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, why are the Government faffing around on the issue? Given their current policy on tobacco smoking, why do they not just ban the sale of tobacco and tobacco products?

Lord Warner: My Lords, we still live in a democracy.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, will my noble friend confirm that, in countries that have introduced comprehensive bans on smoking in public places and places of work, there has, contrary to expectations, been no displacement of smoking to the home, where obviously children would be affected, and that in Ireland the number of smokers who have banned smoking in their own home has gone up as a result of the ban on smoking there?

Lord Warner: My Lords, my noble friend is right. I am glad to confirm the information that he has provided.

Lord Tebbit: My Lords, is it fair to construe from the noble Lord's first Answer that it is the view of the Government that children of 16 and 17 are insufficiently mature to decide whether to smoke tobacco?

Lord Warner: My Lords, we will consult on that issue. I remind the noble Lord that among the countries that have a minimum age for tobacco sales are Finland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and a number of others.

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, does the Minister agree that one of the most horrible cancers that someone can get is cancer of the face and jaw? Will he congratulate the team from St Bartholomew's Hospital who go around schools? They spend 10 minutes at assembly showing the children some very nasty pictures of what happens if they smoke, and the
 
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impression that is made on children is apparently very long-lasting. Are there any other teams that could do the same thing at school assemblies?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I join the noble Countess in extending my congratulations to that team. There are a large number of local initiatives where adults are trying to bring the dangers and consequences of smoking to the attention of young people. That is one of many local initiatives doing good work.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords—

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): My Lords, we have just had nine supplementaries on that Question. We must move on; we are into the sixteenth minute.

Children: Healthy Eating

3.16 pm

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My Lords, the Government remain committed to reviewing in 2007 the success of measures undertaken in relation to the balance of food and drink advertising and promotion to children. If those measures have failed to produce change in the nature and balance of food promotion, we intend to take action through existing powers in new legislation to implement a clearly defined framework for regulating the promotion of food to children.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. I know that we are awaiting Ofcom's suggestions for some control over what is advertised. Those will be welcome. They are out for proposal, and they are already rather late. What is outlined is unlikely to do more than scratch the surface of a truly mammoth problem. Do the Government recognise the extent to which children are increasingly bombarded with a diverse torrent of marketing techniques that encourage the consumption of foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt? One example of that would be the so-called "big five", which are prominent in the 77 per cent of food advertising spend that takes place during children's viewing time. Will the Government therefore recognise the incredible need for legislation to curb all forms of advertising and
 
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promotion directed at children, particularly the many devious methods recently highlighted in the Which? report?

Lord Warner: My Lords, I am sorry, I thought we had finished; I must have nodded off slightly.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Warner: My Lords, I thought that I made it clear in my Answer that we had not resiled in any way from our statements in Choosing Health. We await the work from Ofcom to see whether we need to proceed.

Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, is it not as clear as can be that the manufacturers and retailers of crisps and sweet fizzy drinks are in business using every legal means available to them to stuff the maximum quantity of fat, salt and sugar down the throat of as many children as they can get away with, regardless of the impact on their health? Since those people are no more likely to desist voluntarily from their lucrative trade than are the purveyors of other noxious substances, should we not proceed straight away to impose a severe system of prohibitions and penalties on them, following further down the path usefully indicated by the School Food Trust?

Lord Warner: My Lords, my noble friend might like to look at Hansard, where he will see that I answered a Question about salt and the work of the FSA last week. As I recall, one of the examples that I gave was Kellogg's, which has voluntarily reduced by 30 per cent the salt in its products, which are consumed by children.


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