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The third reason is the valuable contribution made last time round by the noble Baroness, Lady Golding. She took the trouble to investigate how young people aged between 14 and 17 or thereabouts actually think and behave as opposed to how political theorists imagine they think and behave. She told us that young people do not go into tobacconists, grocers and supermarkets to buy their cigarettes; they get them from friends in the playground, from people at street corners and so on. This is borne out by the figures just quoted by the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, from a survey of 11,000 teenagers undertaken by Trading Standards North West. All these things put together make an overwhelming case for rejecting Clause 19.
Lord Palmer: I raised at Second Reading the problem of the imported illegal tobacco trade, and I re-emphasise the words of the noble Lord, Lord Naseby. Indeed, I concur with my noble friend Lord Listowel: the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, has great marketing experience. Indeed, I was fortunate enough to work for him very many years ago. I reiterate that we must know what plans the Government have to crack down on that illegal trade. That is very serious.
Baroness Howarth of Breckland: I beg indulgence for two minutes, because I was not here on Thursday and I must confess to being totally lost about what procedural point we have reached. I want to say two sentences, and that is all. The two sentences are these. If the advertising makes no difference, why do it? If it does, there is every reason for us to ban it.
I have been going around looking in corner shops recently. It is quite clear to me that the displays are advertising and that the tobacco advertising Act should have ensured that they did not continue. I have spent years dealing with children, their perceptions and how
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I apologise for interjecting, but having listened to the last few speakers, I felt provoked to get up to say that there are some unrealities and the real argument is: if they do not make a difference, we do not mind losing them anyway; if they do, there is every reason to ban them.
Lord Naseby: May I just clarify that for the noble Baroness? Advertising is paid-for communication through all sorts of different media. Putting a product in a pack to look after the quality of the product inside the pack is not advertising. The fact that you put on the name of the brand is therefore for consumer recognition between one pack on the shelf and another, both of which have cigarettes inside.
Lord Walton of Detchant: I do not propose to detain the Committee for long in the light of what the Chief Whip said a little while ago. I was unable to be here on Thursday, but having heard the speeches this afternoon, I want to make three small points. First, tobacco smoking is one of the greatest health hazards of the age. It causes not just lung cancer but many other forms of cancer. It is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. It is a tremendous medical scourge and anything that we can do to reduce the incidence of tobacco smoking is in my opinion crucial in the interests of the health of the community.
The issue of tobacco advertising was debated at length in this House and elsewhere in Parliament and the Government in their wisdom decreed that advertising should be banned. I said at the time that I smoked my first cigarette in a mining village in Durham county when I was 10 years of age. By the time I was 14, I was smoking not regularly but frequently when I could avoid being spotted by my parents. By the time I was in the Army in 1948, I was smoking 25 cigarettes a day because I could get a 50 can of Senior Service for one shilling and eight pence on my hospital ship. I did not know the hazards at that time. I gave up smoking completely when I was in my mid-40s. Happily, the statistics show that if you give up in your mid-40s, the incidence, the risk of cancer and so on, after another five years falls to that in the non-smoker.
Recently agreed guidelines to the WHO framework convention on tobacco control define retail displays, vending machines and tobacco packaging as forms of advertising and promotion and recommend that parties to the FCTC, which includes the UK, should ban retail displays and the sale of tobacco products in vending machines and consider the adoption of plain packaging. I warmly support all those initiatives.
Baroness Young of Old Scone: I know that the Minister is dying to get goingjust one more intervention. It is difficult when the Chief Whip tells us that we may not speak in support of the Government.
I wholly support many of the remarks made in favour of this clause standing part of the Bill. Smoking is absolutely one of the biggest health challenges facing us. I do not believe that this provision will drive small shops underground or make them defunct. With 15 per cent of our 15 year-olds smoking, and with smoking probably one of the biggest contributors to the health inequality of social class 5 compared with any other cause, I believe that we ought to let this clause remain part of the Bill. I hope the Minister will not mind me giving her that support.
I listened very carefully to the noble Earls opening remarks, as I always do, because I hold his views in very high esteem. He was, as ever, succinct and compelling. We have had a lengthy debate, both last week and today, and the clause has provoked strong reactions. Like the noble Earl, I spent a large part of the weekend reviewing the evidence on which the Governments case rests and reading the Hansard report of Thursdays debate. I have to say to the noble Earl that I find the evidence convincing. If I may, I shall spend some time explaining to the Committee what our aims are; what the Bill will mean in practice for retailers and customers; why we believe that the measure is necessary, effective and proportionate; and also to touch on the underlying evidence, in sufficient but not too much detail.
Let me be very clear about our aims in removing tobacco displays. We want to protect children from the marketing of tobacco products and also support those who are trying to quit smoking. Perhaps I may explain how the clause would do that.
Section 7A of Clause 19 prohibits the display of tobacco products in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means that the shelving in shops, known as gantries, would have to be covered up. That does not mean that cigarette packets would have to be moved and stored elsewhere. We have no intention of dictating that tobacco products have to be located in any particular place, such as under the counter or overhead. Retailers would be free to cover the gantry as they see fit provided that they comply with the regulations. In practice, and as many noble Lords have said, the majority of customers would ask to buy their regular brand. The shop assistantI am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Laird, for his research; I hope he did not get into trouble with the security services in the supermarket he visitedwould reach to the existing gantry and simply lift a flap or slide back a cover to take a packet out and then immediately close it again. The flap could be sprung to be self-closing. Some Canadian systems have magnetic flaps that close automatically. In serving customers the shopkeeper would have to reveal a limited display which could of course be seen incidentally by anyone nearby, including children, but as long as the display complies with the regulations no offence would be committed.
The approach likely to be taken in regulations is to define the maximum area of display that it would be legal to reveal at any one time and to say that it must only be revealed for as long as is reasonable in order to
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I support the noble Lord, Lord Monson, in his aim to reduce childrens exposure to the glamorisation of smokinga point that he made in our debate last week. I personally wish that models and celebrities would quit smoking for their own sake and for that of thousands of young people, particularly young women, who believe that smoking is glamorous and will keep you slim.
However, this policy is about preventing the tobacco industry promoting smoking through the well established marketing tool of display. We must be practical, which is why new Section 7B(2) provides that there will be no offence for a requested display. I do not want to repeat the debate that we have already had on this but I should like to explain.
In reality, the majority of smokers know which brand they are going to buy when they go into a shop. Research shows that less than 10 per cent of smokers change brands each year, and only 1 per cent say that their decision to do so is based on the display. However, some customers will need the chance to see a particular cigarette packet before buying it. Under the requested display provision, customers would be able to ask to see a cigarette packet. The retailer could show them the pack and this would not be an offence, provided the customer was aged 18 or over. The real effect of the requested display provision would be to ensure that shop assistants challenged customers who might be underage at the earliest opportunity, as soon as they asked to see a tobacco product. After all, there is not much point in showing them cigarettes if they are not legally able to buy them.
Customers would still need to know what tobacco products a shop sold and, as discussed previously in response to the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Tongeor perhaps it was the noble Baroness, Lady Barkeron Section 7C, retailers would be able to display price and availability lists. We are already working with the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium to develop appropriate regulations on the display of products and price lists.
The clause also makes an exemption from the general prohibition for the tobacco trade, enabling wholesalers to continue to display their products for sale to the retail trade. We are considering making further exemptions by regulation, such as for specialist tobacconists.
Finally, Section 7D provides regulation-making powers to control the display of tobacco products and their prices on a website where the service provider of that website is based in the UK. Therefore, retailers in this tobacco display-free world could continue to display a generic tobacco or cigarettes for sale sign outside their shop. Customers could check the products available and their prices on a clearly displayed, plain price list.
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I should like to take some time to set out why this is an important public health measure. As has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Walton of Detchant, smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness and premature death in England. It results in more preventable deaths each year than from suicide, alcohol, road traffic accidents, illicit drugs and diabetes combined. It is the primary reason for the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor. Since the Second Reading debate, we can confirm that the latest figure for the number of deaths caused by smoking in England each year is 84,000. The Royal College of Physicians tells us that smoking is now positively associated with more than 40 diseases, and the list continues to grow.
We know that the nicotine in tobacco products makes them powerfully addictive. We also know that tobacco manufacturers have purposefully designed, engineered and marketed cigarettes to enhance both the development and maintenance of addiction. According to the US Surgeon-General, nicotine is five to 10 times more potent than cocaine or morphine in producing the behavioural and psychological effects associated with addiction. The Royal College of Physicians says that, in comparison with other substances, including cocaine and heroin, initial use of nicotine is more likely to lead to addiction. The prevalence of addiction among smokers is higher than it is among users of other drugs.
The latest figures show that nearly seven in 10 adults who smoke say that they want to quit, and 45 per cent will make a serious attempt to quit. Most smokers will try quitting 10 or more times before succeeding. Some two-thirds of current and past smokers say that they started smoking regularly before they were 18 years old. That means that they were hooked on nicotine in tobacco before they were old enough to make an informed adult decision about whether or not to smoke.
Among young people who try smoking cigarettes, between one-third and one-half are likely to become regular smokers within two to three years. However, evidence shows that signs of addiction can emerge within weeks of trying to smoke. In 2007, nearly 200,000 children between 11 and 15 were already regular smokers. The Government strongly believe that we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect young people from becoming addicted to tobacco.
We also believe we should do everything we can to support those people who are already addicted but want to quit. I am delighted that the noble Earl and many other noble Lords are fully signed-up to our public health objectives. I shall now set out why this policy will be effective in helping us to achieve them.
The first point to consider is the role of display. Product display is a well-established marketing principle deliberately used across the retail sector. It is one of
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In all premises the packs are prominently displayed ... in such a way as to promote the product to customers ... Photographic examples clearly show that such displays are used as a marketing tool ... The displays are believed to be typical across the retail trade as a whole.
I strongly urge the noble Earl and other noble Lords to look at these photographsI shall be happy to make them availableand compare them with displays in 2002. They are significantly different. Since we stopped the tobacco industry promoting smoking by other means, tobacco displays have got bigger and brighter.
The second point to consider is whether the tobacco industrys investment in display has been worth it. My noble friend Lady Golding relayed her conversation with a 15 year-old who said we should talk to children before removing tobacco displays. Indeed, last week, when we held the presentations that I had arranged with Professor Gerald Hastings, that is exactly what he reported to us from the interviewing of 13 year-olds about tobacco displays. The comments were striking:
It is right that we should talk to children before making policies which will impact on them. We were delighted to receive responses to our consultation from a number of young peoples groups. They were strongly supportive of this policy and other tobacco control measures.
On experimental evidence, Cancer Research UK recently published a summary report detailing findings of primary research with UK adolescents and the extensive existing evidence base for this policy. The primary research was based on a long-term study, the Youth Tobacco Awareness Survey, which examines the impacts of tobacco advertising restrictions on young people in the UK. A number of peer-reviewed academic papers have been published based on this work and one focused specifically on how tobacco marketing continues despite the advertising ban currently in preparation. The first wave of data collection for the primary research took place in autumn 1999, more than three years before the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act; the second wave was conducted in summer 2002, approximately six months before the
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I am going into this detail because the noble Earl was concerned about the robust nature of this research. The data collection involved face-to-face interviews and self-completion questionnaires. The participants were a cross-sectional group of 11 to 16 year-olds covering a variety of backgrounds, social groups and lifestyles. In total, 4,479 children took part over seven years. The study looked at how aware of tobacco marketing children were, and this impacted on their behaviour and attitudes towards smoking. If noble Lords are interested in reading the report I would be most happy to make it available to them. The findings of the summary report are key and worth quoting. The first is that,
International evidence suggests that removing packs from sight at point of sale could reduce adolescents exposure to cigarette brand impressions in stores by as much as 83%. It would also help adults to quit.
The noble Earl, Lord Howe, questioned the logic of the author of the report based on a conversation. I hope that he might go back and take a second look at the evidence. We have taken advice on the quality of evidence for the measure from peer-reviewed academic research, from internationally recognised experts and from widely respected academic and charitable organisations. Although it is of course his prerogative to disagree that the evidence is sufficient to justify the policy, he has not presented any evidence to dissuade me from my view that the evidence supports our policy.
Bearing in mind the need to be brief, I have simply summarised the evidence base so far. If noble Lords wish to consider the evidence further they might like to read the Cancer Research UK report and the impact assessment accompanying the Bill. They may also wish to see the Department of Health website, which provides a factsheet, and the presentations from the authors of the point-of-sale and Cancer Research UK reports.
I move now to the question of proportionality. We want pragmatic solutions to the issue of removing tobacco displays. That is why we are already talking to key stakeholders, such as the Association of Convenience Stores, the British Retail Consortium and the Association of Independent Tobacco Specialists, and I have a meeting arranged with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents for tomorrow evening. I should point out that for many years I was chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Retail Group before joining the Government, and I worked for the Co-Op for
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The Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium are arranging for officials from my department to visit a convenience store in order to assist with the drafting of regulations. I actually hope that they will visit more than one. International experience shows that removing tobacco displays need not be costly. One acceptable low-cost solution which my officials saw during their visit to Canada has been used by many stores across that country. We have received a quote from the company which provides this solution and supplies 85 per cent of the Canadian market, and it would cost 15 Canadian dollarsaround £8.40per square foot of display covered. Although I accept the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, that this is not Canada, I would also suggest that that is a reasonable indication of the type of cost we are talking about.
The point-of-sale report I referred to earlier found that small independent newsagents had a minimum display area of 1 metre by 1.3 metresor about 3 feet 3 inches by 4 feet 3 inches in old currency. The cost could be as little as £120. Even a display of 25 square feet could be covered at a cost of around £210. I should emphasise that there would be economies of scale to be gained for larger display areas or if several shops worked together. So it is not a simple matter of multiplication for larger stores.
Baroness Thornton: The noble Baroness is correct. I am coming to that point next. The Government have set out in the regulatory impact assessment accompanying the Bill the potential cost of these measures to business, using an estimated average cost of £1,000 a store. That is a generous assessment which more than allows for the stores that may choose more elaborate means to remove their tobacco displays. In its response to our consultation, the Association of Convenience Stores said:
The noble Baroness was, as ever, ahead of me. We understand from experience in Canada that the tobacco industry continued to fund the cost of tobacco gantries even after a prohibition on display. The suggestion has also been made that removing the display of tobacco would impact on business by reducing footfall trade, by which I mean the sale of other items such as newspapers and sweets to customers who buy cigarettes. I think we should be realistic about this.
First, people who choose to smoke will continue to buy their cigarettes and secondary purchases even after tobacco is removed from display. Secondly, the provisions of this Bill will apply equally to all tobacco retailers, so it will not favour one over another; there will be a level playing field for all businesses. Finally, retailers understand that they cannot rely on the sale
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