Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 - Motion to Regret

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 4th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health 8:45 pm, 4th July 2016

There are of course many products which do have tamper-proof packaging and we cannot debate all the ones the noble Lord mentioned. It seems to me entirely reasonable that this particular product should be tamper proof. If a child were to swallow nicotine in these kinds of volumes it would have a very serious impact. It is entirely reasonable to have tamper-proof packaging.

The Government have asked the MHRA, local authorities and others involved in the enforcement of these regulations to develop a compliance regime together with the businesses which are currently in this industry. We will take a pragmatic approach to implementing the new notification system. Notification fees are low—£150 per product and £60 annually as a top-up—and are set to recover costs only. The MHRA has also developed guidance that minimises the burden on business.

E-cigarettes are not harmless. Nicotine is both toxic and addictive and there are unanswered questions about the effects of longer-term use. It is better to vape than to smoke but it is far better to do neither. These regulations reduce the risk of harm to children and protect against the renormalisation of tobacco use. They provide assurance on relative safety for users and legal certainty for businesses that wish to sell these products across the EU. I also underline that the regulations have the full support of the four nations of the UK, as well as many of those in the health community that have been involved in tobacco reduction, including ASH, Cancer Research UK and the British Medical Association. The Royal College of Physicians agrees in its report on the need for regulation of e-cigarettes to protect the public, and states that although e-cigarettes are estimated to be in the order of 95% less harmful than smoked tobacco, they are not harmless.

Moving forward, the Government are committed to a full review of the functioning of the regulations, including—