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Indeed, I was astonished to discover last year that British American Tobacco is a corporate sponsor of Glyndebourne, which is apparently not covered by the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002. When I went to the Glyndebourne website, I found the BAT logo and clicked on it, which took me straight to the BAT company website where its various products were advertised. Members of the Committee may think that I am a spoilsport, but I am afraid that I reported it to the trading standards officer in Sussex who immediately insisted that the link be removed. Although the emblem remains, it is now no longer possible to get to the BAT site via the Glyndebourne site.
Todays amendments are timely. Nobody has yet mentioned that today is national No Smoking Day. I take this opportunity to congratulate my noble friends on my left on reducing smoking in the United Kingdom to its lowest-ever prevalence level, 21 per cent. This shows that the successive legislation that we have passed is working. A further important statistic that relates to national No Smoking Day is that, according to the Office for National Statistics press release, 66 per cent of smokers say that they are desperate to give up smoking. We should be doing everything that we possibly can to help them do that. We should ensure that nothing is done to encourage young people to start. Above all, we must watch what the tobacco
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Lord Naseby: I address the Committee because I have yet to hear in all our deliberations any evidence that any of the tobacco companies based in the UK are pitching any of their activities to under-18s. They pitch tobacco as an adult product; it is a legal adult product. If there is evidence, I would be the first to complain and bring it to the attention of the Minister. I imagine that others would as well.
On Amendment 107, we are taking about the idea of reporting all promotional activities not to get around the young people, but in order to live with the existing Act. I repeat: cigarettes are legal products. The sort of activities that come to mind would affect all packaged goods. They are to do with price, handling, fees, promotional orders, pack sizes, pack shapes, new products, promotional offers and so onwhatever below-the-line activity is available. I wrote a book on below-the-line activity with the University of Bradford many years ago. All those things are perfectly legal.
I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, but certainly somebody referred to the Prime Ministers appeal for an enterprise economy with the importance of brands and so on. An enterprise economy requires companies competing with each other, not totally regulated by the state. I do not think that Amendment 107 is legal, and it would certainly be resisted by the whole of the packaged goods industry.
Since we are almost at the end of this smoking section, perhaps my personal experience could be recorded. My late mother, God bless her, smoked until she was about 80. She died in her sleep aged 95, having been to the opera in Brisbane, and was not diagnosed with any form of lung cancer.
Baroness Golding: The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 prohibits virtually all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and the EU tobacco advertising directive applies to all EU states. As I have said before, I chair CitizenCard, and the tobacco industry has kept that card going to try to prevent under-18s buying tobacco in shops. I just do not know what the tobacco industry is expected to do. I come back to the packs, which advertise against smoking.
Baroness Golding: I thank the noble Baroness for that. I was not aware of that rule. Naturally, it would help people to see what I was talking about, but it does not stop me talking about it. Cigarette packs already
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Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The Committee will not get away without hearing me on this subject. I apologise, first, to the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, as I did not hear the whole of her speech. The reason is that there was a huge delay on the L to Z side of the Voting Lobby, hence I was unable to get here within the 10 minutes. Perhaps I may suggest that when there is a Division in the House, the rule should be that the Committee adjourns until a Vote has been declared. That would be more sensible and would ensure that Members of the Committee do not miss part of the proceedings.
I honestly believe that the attacks on the tobacco industry are becoming a scandal. As the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, other noble Lords and I have pointed out, the whole tobacco industry is a legal business whether people like it or not. If one wants to stop the industry producing and selling the commodity, it will have to be banned. If tobacco is not banned, the companies must be allowed to sell it and promote it. The industry has been under considerable pressure over a very long period, including the banning of sponsorship.
I interject that I have not been invited to GlyndebourneI probably would not go anywayand the sponsorship of events by other tobacco companies must now be very small because it is against the law for them to do so. Again, I say, having had contact with the industry, that it is entitled to put its point of view. This is still a free country, or I thought it was a free country. Apparently if an industry, although legal, is not thought to be quite the thing, it is not allowed to be heard. I demand that it is allowed to be heard, which is why I supported the noble Baronesss amendment last week. It will give the industry the opportunity to be heard. I have to say, too, that the tobacco industry has beenit is not going to like this; how shall I put it?
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: It would be most difficult for me to put anything delicately. I think that it has been frightened and lily-livered and that it has not stood up to government edicts hard enough. It has not, in fact, put its point of view forward as it should have done or protected its customers as it should have done. It has allowed its retailers to be abused and allowed smokers to be abused and made pariahs. When is it going to get a say? Why should it not be able to promote its product in a free commercial sense, in a free country?
The industry is not the only group that promotes itself. A lot of promotion is done by the Government, either directly, with tens of millions of pounds, but
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The Answer was £180,000 in 2005-06, £185,400 in 2006-07, and £191,000 in 2007-08. That is a total of £556,400. Of course, it has gone from being a voluntary organisation to one with a chief executive. It has really grown in importance as the Government continue to support it.
Lord Walton of Detchant: Would the noble Lord accept one point? He asked why the industry should not be able to promote the sale of its products. It is because the product kills. It is the greatest single cause of ill health now valid in the United Kingdom, and we must do everything to prevent promotion of sale. To answer the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, and the noble Baroness, Lady Golding, about why the industry is not targeting those under 18, I should say that the reason is very simple: it is not legal for people under 18 to buy tobacco. If it were legal, I have no doubt at all that it would target them as well.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The noble Lord has not got the point that I am trying to make, which is that the tobacco industry has every right as a legal organisation to promote within the law. That is what it is doing. Gradually, its ability to promote at all, even to show its wares in shops, is being eroded. That is a scandal. If the Government were really concerned about this, they would ban smoking entirely and be prepared to lose the revenue.
Lord Palmer: If I may correct the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, it was to ban the sale of all tobacco products. That then brought up the hideous question of how much illegally imported tobacco was sold on the streets, which meant the Treasury being out of pocket to the tune of £3.8 billion.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I thank the noble Lord very much. I am glad to have been corrected on that point, but perhaps we should have a Private Members Bill to ban tobacco and see exactly what the Governments attitude is to that. As I was saying, there are all sorts of promotions. The Government promote with billions of pounds all sorts of organisations which some of us do not like and which, indeed, may be very harmful to peoples health. Of course, other products which are
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I am always told that smoking kills. However, I am sure that it would be agreed that smoking does not kill everyone who smokes. Indeed, as I have pointed out before, 78 per cent of those who die from smoking-relating diseases are over 65 years of age. Under that age, the number is very small indeed.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I am not pulling anyones leg; I am simply ensuring that the point of view of the tobacco industry and the retailers is put. It is being put because we are putting it. It is not being accepted but at least we have the right to do that.
I believeI shall finish on this pointthat, of the other products, the most damaging in this country is alcohol. Let us make no mistake about it; that drug does more damage to the social fabric and to families and individuals than anything else. Smokers do not go outside to have a cigarette and then knife someone in the back; nor do they usually go home and beat up their families, which many drunken people donot only men but women as well. It is the most dangerous drug, yet the sale of it is allowed to be promoted in virtually every way except on television.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I shall have to think about that. The noble Baroness may be interested to know that I prepared a Bill, which had its First Reading, to ban alcohol advertising, so I am well ahead of her. However, I have come to the conclusion that when we ban people from promoting legal products, we have to be very careful and, with regard to tobacco, much less hypocritical.
Lord Monson: The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, has rightly reminded us that tobacco does not kill everyone, which is why people regard the warnings on cigarette packets with disdain. It tends to kill people who smoke heavily and people with the wrong sort of genes, but people who do not smoke very heavily and have the right sort of genes can smoke and live to a great age. He will remember Madame Calment of Arles who lived to the age of 122 and smoked two or three cigarettes a day until she was 116, and she was not alone in that sort of thing.
Baroness Thornton: My thunder was stolen in that I wished to close this section of the Committees deliberations on tobacco by wishing everybody a very happy national No Smoking Day, but my noble friend got there first. We have considerable sympathy with the intention behind these amendments. They seek to support and protect public health policy development by ensuring it is informed about the tobacco industrys activities or that it is protected from tobacco industry interference.
I turn first to Amendment 107. Experience has shown that if you clamp down on the tobacco industry in one area of promotion, it will actively look for alternative means of promotion. Knowing what promotional activities are being planned, developed and implemented by tobacco companies would clearly be an advantage and allow public health policy to keep pace with developments. On the other hand, some noble Lords vociferously said that they consider that such a requirement would go beyond the bounds of a proportionate and appropriate burden on business and be likely to compromise sensitive commercial confidences. I have to ask whether we need to ensure that commercial confidence is protected in this area. There are arguments on both sides but, on balance, I do not feel able to accept this amendment. Nevertheless, I have listened carefully to all the points made during this debate. I would be interested to hear more on the subject and will be happy to meet noble Lords to listen further to their views on this topic.
I now turn to Amendment 107B, which seeks a review and published guidelines on interaction with the tobacco industry. As the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, explained, Article 5.3 of the World Health Organisations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control states:
In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.
In November 2008, we played a part alongside European Union colleagues in developing and agreeing final guidelines for the implementation of Article 5.3. I shall not quote any more of it because the noble Baroness did so. The guidelines promote accountability and transparency when Governments interact with the tobacco industry on public health matters. In practice, this means that meetings between the Department of Health and the tobacco industry are held on an exceptional basis only where that serves the purpose of public health policy development. It is made clear to attendees of a meeting that it will cover the specific subject in question only and that details of the meeting will be made available to any individual on request. I am not sure how a review and the publication of more guidelines would improve how we abide by those obligations, but I am always happy to look at ideas about how that could happen. On that basis, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.
Baroness Northover: I thank the Minister for her positive response. We will look at this further, and I look forward to talking to her about it. I also thank those who participated in this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner. Noble Lords will be aware that we have often been on the same side on this issue. I am also touched that the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, minded that he missed part of what I said, and I am encouraged by what the noble Baroness, Lady Golding, and the noble Lord, Lord Naseby, who is not in his place, said, which recognised the harm caused to children by beginning to smoke. I look forward to them playing an active part overseas in ensuring that the tobacco industry does not target young people. Their assumption is built on the knowledge that this is Russian roulette. When people take up smoking, they do not know whether they will live to 95 or to a much younger age as a result of taking up that habit. The fact that they recognise the danger of tobacco smoking is welcome. Therefore, I would not wish to promote advertising to any age and certainly not to children. I look forward not only to their defence of children in Britain and elsewhere, but also their defence of the adult population in the United Kingdom.
I note what the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, said about the budgets of the Government. I believe that a Question to the Government costs about £147 to answer so his pile will have cost the Government quite a lot, deflecting the money from public health.
Baroness Northover: He is obviously entitled to put Questions. I welcome the fact that the Government spend £185,000 supporting ASH. I wish the industry were utterly transparent so that I knew how much it spent on marketing, but I have a feeling that £185,000 to ASH may pale into insignificance compared with what the tobacco industry spends on promotion, which is what the amendment is about.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: Perhaps I can help the noble Baroness. It would be in the interests of the Committee to know that the government grant to ASH is spent entirely on quit programmes and education programmes. None of the campaigning to which the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, objects so much, is funded by the Government. That comes from voluntary sources such as Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
Baroness Northover: I welcome that clarification. Even if they were campaigning, I think that that would be perfectly justifiable given their contribution to public health. I believe that this is a moving debate and we are moving in the right direction. I look forward to noble Lords working with us overseas. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
111ZA: Clause 23, page 27, line 10, at end insert including an assessment of existing services provided by dispensing doctors and an assessment of the circumstances and needs of elderly and disabled patients, including those in rural locations
The aim of this group of amendments is to seek assurances from the Government that revised regulations enabled by the Bill will not undermine the ability of dispensing doctors to provide services to patients in rural areas. Additionally, it seeks to ensure that patients' preferences are fully taken into account when deciding how pharmaceutical services are to be provided in rural areas.
The development of pharmaceutical needs assessments will change the way that applications to provide pharmaceutical services are judged and the future shape of these services. Where this impacts on other health servicesfor example, if PNAs grant many more pharmacy applications and lead to closures of dispensing doctors' servicesthat needs to be taken into account. It is vital that the impact on existing services is assessed to produce a complete picture rather than making decisions in isolation.
The reason for mentioning services provided by dispensing doctors in particular is that they stand to be directly affected by decisions to open new pharmacies and provide a range of essential medical services to 4 million people across the country. Recently, we have seen that dispensing doctors' services are highly valued by patients. More than 99.9 per cent of responses received by the Department of Health to its recent consultation on the subject advocated no change to these services. It is important that PCTs do not overlook this service, when conducting a PNA, and this amendment would ensure that that was the case.
The needs of the elderly and disabled patients are unique. Not only do they have a greater need to access pharmaceutical services, but also they face greater difficulties in doing so due to mobility problems. It is therefore important that, when assessing pharmaceutical needs, PCTs take particular care to recognise the needs of these vulnerable groups and attribute them due weight.
Lord Walton of Detchant: I support the amendment. I live in Belford in Northumberland, which is in the centre of a rural area. I do not say whether it is a village or a town because it is uncertain which of the two it is. Having said that, I am registered with the only general practitioner there, who has a dispensing practice.
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