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 Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Health), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 8:45 pm, 4th July 2016

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his wind-up, which I think was very fair. I agree with him that this has been an excellent debate and various views have been put forward. I understand why some noble Lords have concerns about e-cigarettes, particularly in relation to young people. I understand that there are still some uncertainties. I accept that there is a need for some regulation in relation to e-cigarettes.

The Royal College of Physicians produced an excellent and dispassionate report but in the end it concluded that, while not absolutely safe,

“the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from the e-cigarettes available today is unlikely to exceed 5% of the harm from smoking tobacco”.

That is a pretty powerful statistic. The royal college supports the regulations—I understand that. We have been told by the noble Baroness, Lady O’Cathain, that 2.8 million people currently use e-cigarettes. We know that often, it is the poorest people in society whom many of the traditional approaches to giving up smoking have not touched. Equally, we know that there is a problem with smokers who think that e-cigarettes may be much more harmful than they actually are.

The noble Lord, Lord Prior, rightly said that smokers are aware of e-cigarettes: I take that point. However, there is this worrying statistic that many smokers feel that e-cigarettes are very harmful—almost as harmful as smoking cigarettes. That worries me. I worry that the regulations may make that worse. This is where the absence of cohesive, strongly financed public health programmes comes in. That is why I believe that my amendment finds a delicate way through the morass that we have been debating today and why I wish to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 57, Noes 91.