Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - Motion to Regret

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 4th July 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Young of Old Scone Baroness Young of Old Scone Labour 8:30 pm, 4th July 2016

My Lords, after the excursion by the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, into Europe bashing, may I bring the House back to the subject in hand, which is these regulations?

The noble Lord, Lord Rennard, hit the nail on the head. Why are the major tobacco companies all piling into these products and their manufacture, distribution and promotion globally? It is not because, in a spirit of public protection, they want to see smokers take up these products rather than the main part of their activities, which will continue to be the pushing of tobacco globally.

We have got to ask ourselves why there is a need for regulation in this area. The reality is that electronic cigarettes are effective in reducing, in the case of smokers, their reliance on tobacco, but this needs to be associated with a wider tobacco control strategy and some good, targeted, mass promotion—not of individual products in the vaping field but with the concept that, if you are a smoker, vaping may be one of the things, among others, that can help you. That must include psychological support as well as simply a change of product. I hope, too, that the Government will ponder on further increases in the price of tobacco; at the end of the day, that is the most effective way of reducing demand. Perhaps we can hear from the Minister what the Government are planning to do to ensure that there is public promotion of vaping as an alternative for smokers, access to good-quality, evidence-based stop smoking services and changes in costs.

We should not delude ourselves that tobacco manufacturers are getting into vaping products simply to allow people who are smoking currently to reduce their risk. They are getting into it because that, in their view, is the double whammy: an alternative product that can run alongside their very damaging products, which will continue, and a little bit of what in the environment movement used to be called “greenwashing”—I do not know what one would call it in the public health movement—in order to make their image more acceptable publicly. Therefore, I would not support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Callanan.