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

It is possible. There is always a possibility when there is a regulation that a black market will develop, and for the very high-strength products, which had to be regulated by the MHRA—the ones above 20 milligrams—there is a risk that there will be a black market. I think I recall that the noble Lord said earlier that a black market had already developed in this product. We are trying to bring some minimum quality standards, at least, into this market so that people who are thinking of moving from smoking to using e-cigarettes can have confidence that the product they use is regulated to a minimum standard.

I remind noble Lords that new and important tobacco control measures are also contained in these regulations. I have not talked about them specifically because they are slightly off the main point of this debate. The regulations will be reviewed within five years of entering into force. I also commit, here and now, to commissioning Public Health England to update its evidence report on e-cigarettes annually until the end of this Parliament and to include within its quit-smoking campaigns consistent messaging about the safety of e-cigarettes.

Clearly, there are strong arguments on both sides of the debate. As I said, I am not an instinctive regulator by any means but I feel that these regulations are proportionate. They do not go over the top, are entirely sensible and are backed by the RCP and all the major charities in this area. I hope that my noble friend Lord Callanan will not wish to push this to a vote, but of course that is entirely his decision.