The amendment is designed to draw attention to a problem caused by the drafting of the Bill. I want the Government to think long and hard about this. They define the ultimate goal of the Bill as reducing the prevalence of smoking. Their declared aim is for a 2.5 per cent. reduction. On Second Reading, we spent much time pointing out to the Government that unless we do something about smuggling it will be difficult to achieve that target.
There is no doubt that the Government are concerned that cigarette smoking is on the increase and the whole point of the Bill is to do something to curtail it. There may have been a dispute on Second Reading about the statistics, but interestingly, on Saturday 28 January, the Daily Mail carried a front-page article by Sean Poulter on the increase in smoking. The point is that we have to be careful to be clear what we are talking about, whether it is prevalence, or the number of cigarettes smoked. According to the most recent information, the total consumption of cigarettes rose to 107.6 billion in 1999-2000 compared with 101 billion in 1997. During the same period, profits on tobacco smuggling exceeded even those of drug smuggling. Smuggling was estimated to account for 3 per cent. of the market in 1996-97, but that has risen to 18 per cent. of the market in 1999-2000. Those can only be estimates because we cannot be absolutely sure of the volumes of tobacco smuggled.
My major concern about the Bill, as I stated on Second Reading, is that it will not deal with the major problem. The problems start to arise in the first clause, which deals with the meaning of ``tobacco advertisement''. It is patently obvious that smuggled tobacco does not even have to be advertised, it sells itself. As any smokers in the Room will know to their cost, duty-paid cigarettes are £4 a packet now, compared with a black market price of £2.50 or under, which still enables the smugglers to make a handsome profit. There is no need to advertise and a Bill that bans advertising will probably not touch the promotion of smuggled tobacco. It is usually sold out of the back of a white van and word gets round on the street. There is nothing in the Bill to tackle that problem.
I am sure that my hon. Friend thought as I did when she got to the end of clause 1, which states:
```tobacco advertisement' and `tobacco product' have the meaning given in section 1,''
That is sketchy information, but I assumed that I would find a better definition further on in the Bill—unfortunately, there it merely refers to the meaning given in section 1. The term is so ill defined.
Yes, that is my point. In fact, the explanatory notes reinforce that fact, stating:
``The term `advertisement' is not defined and bears its natural meaning.''
That is a weakness and the Government need to think hard about it if the Bill is to be successful. With the lack of a clear definition of tobacco advertisement, it is not difficult to see that, as some forms of advertising are suppressed, other forms are likely to come forward. For example, is cigarette packaging a tobacco advertisement? It may not be now, but it could be in the future. We should think much more clearly about what a tobacco advertisement really is and what it means if we want the Bill to be a success.
``(a) whose purpose is to promote a tobacco product,''
One of the consequences of the Bill as drafted, is that it will catch specialist tobacco suppliers, who are not the cause of the sharp increase in tobacco consumption in this country. For example, it will catch cigar manufacturers. I am sure that no one imagines that youngsters will buy Havana cigars and chain smoke behind the bike sheds. The objective is to reduce the prevalence of smoking, but cigar smoking is not practical, manageable or financially viable for the group that is, as I think we all agree, the most vulnerable.
The Bill will have a harsh effect on specialist suppliers of tobacco. In many cases, they do not have shops but retail their products by mail order—we will deal with that later. The clause is wide ranging and the Committee must think long and hard about whether there is a great deal to be gained by putting cigar, snuff and pipe tobacco manufacturers out of business. These are not the products that are fuelling the sharp increase in tobacco smoking. I do not see the youth of today walking about with pipes full of tobacco, and have only seen snuff produced at a party for under-25s on one occasion. Furthermore, the clause has a dimension for small as well as big business that needs to be thought through carefully. I am sure that the Government's aim was principally to target cigarette manufacturers and the increasing preference for smoking cigarettes, but did they intend to hit the small business so hard?
Again, I challenge the hon. Member to prove that chewing tobacco is a popular cult among the youth of today. The real cachet for younger people is branded cigarettes. All the market research shows that that is what they want to buy and what they feel enhances the image of being cool and joining a peer group. I am not convinced that the chewing of tobacco has taken off as a major attraction among the youth of today. I do accept the health risk of chewed tobacco. It is a substantial problem in the developing world, which can be tackled with good health education programmes.
As drafted, the Bill would have a hard impact on a number of small businesses. There are not many small specialist tobacco suppliers. I was surprised how few there are. For example, there are only 350 suppliers of cigars in this country. In a nation of 58 million, it is not hard to see that a number of those firms rely heavily on being able to advertise their specialist product outside their immediate geographic area. Many of them, without shop outlets, rely on mail order for that purpose.
May we assume that, as the hon. Lady endeavours to protect certain kinds of tobacco products, she believes fundamentally that the advertising of those products encourages people to purchase them? Furthermore, does she distinguish between the health effects of other products, such as pipe tobacco and cigars, and those of cigarettes?
There are two separate and important points there: the health dimension and whether an advertisement leads to a promotion and sale, which was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) during the preamble on the timetabling for the Bill. That is a commercial and advertising question. I do not profess to be an expert in that area—my brief is definitely within health. I feel more comfortable talking about the health aspect, but promotion and selling will come up in a later debate on one of my amendments.
Certainly, specialist manufacturers who would be caught by the clause rely on disseminating information about their product. There is an analogy with fine wines. If one is going to buy a fine wine as a connoisseur, because it is an expensive product, one will want to know in which year it was produced, about the harvest and where it came from. One needs to have information on a fine wine to decide whether it is worth spending that sort of money. At the gulping-wine end of the market, the consumer may be less concerned. The same is true of cigarettes. I would not imagine that the year a branded cigarette was produced or where it came from enters the head of a consumer of branded cigarettes. They are completely different markets.
My analogy is a fair one and it leads me to the health risk. A youth would not think of consuming several bottles of extremely expensive fine wine to get legless, which the youth of today seem to like to be on a Friday night. That youth would not contemplate becoming drunk on fine wine because of the expense involved and because the effect could be achieved far more simply and cheaply.
The hon. Lady's question concerned the health risk.I totally accept the impact of tobacco on health, but I am sure that she would agree that the youth of today would not smoke cigars behind the bike shed. An older, more discerning smoker would not chain smoke cigars for the same reason—it is not palatable or desirable. Therefore, consumption of specialist tobacco products tends to be low. I think that a distinction can be made. The fine wine and ordinary wine analogy is revealing in that respect.
I appeal to the Government to think hard about the matter. There are ways in which to improve a later clause to provide some scope for specialist tobacco manufacturers to continue in business. Amendment No. 6 tries to achieve that. It is designed to permit the specialist tobacco supplier to continue to put his or her name in a telephone directory—in the Yellow Pages. It is a common way in which, say, a cigar supplier can, under a small entry for tobacco products, make his name and number known.
Again, in practical terms, I cannot imagine young people grabbing the Yellow Pages to look up a local cigar supplier to meet their craving for nicotine. Therefore, it would seem reasonable to permit specialist tobacco suppliers to place their telephone number and contact details in a telephone directory. That is just one small practical suggestion. It is perfectly reasonable if one makes the distinction between a specialist tobacco product and the mass of cigarettes that is flooding into the country and fuelling consumption, which should be of great concern to all of us, particularly the Government, who have the power to do something about it.
The two amendments are designed to make the point that clause 1 is a catch-all clause that will hit the small specialist tobacconist hard. I am not convinced that hitting them will help the Government to deal with the problem that they have defined as the one that they want to tackle.
The hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) took the Government to task for not defining ``at risk'', saying that it would have its normal meaning. When I read the amendment, I suspended judgment until I had heard what she meant by ``specialist tobacco product''. I had no idea what she meant. I thought that my mind was going to be opened to a range of accessories to cigarettes, cigar and pipe smoking about which I knew nothing. I was astonished to discover that she seemed to be defining something as common as a cigar or pipe tobacco as a specialist tobacco product.
I had imagined that the hon. Lady was talking about something much more specialist than those two things, both of which are, to the best of my knowledge, available in every supermarket and therefore do not strike me as the least bit specialist; they are mainstream tobacco products. Banning the advertisement of cigarettes, but allowing advertising of cigars and pipe tobacco would almost make a mockery and absurdity of the Bill.
I am much more sympathetic to the hon. Lady's argument about the small specialist supplier who sells only tobacco and tobacco products. That seems more deserving of sympathy and consideration than her definition of a specialist product. The point about an entry in the telephone directory seems entirely reasonable. I hope that that would fall outwith the scope of the Bill anyway. Therefore, I am more sympathetic to the second amendment than to the first. However, it would be palpably absurd to ban cigarette advertising while allowing cigar advertising.
I apologise for mispronouncing your name earlier, Mr. Malins, but I normally know you as Humfrey. I shall speak more generally when we reach clause stand part. The amendments raise an anomaly. The hon. Member for North Devon (Mr. Harvey), the spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, misunderstood what an advertisement is. I have here a photocopy from the Yellow Pages for central London, with a half column of specialist tobacconists. According to my definition, it is an advertisement. It may be a free advertisement, but when Yellow Pages gives someone an entry, it refers to it as a free advertisement, and then tries to sell a bigger advertisement. It is an advertisement, because if someone wants to find a specialist tobacconist, they look in Yellow Pages and find it.
I do not wholly go along with the amendment that my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden has tabled, because the issue is in fact much wider. If one looks in Yellow Pages, one can find supermarkets listed. Supermarkets are the main sellers of tobacco products. They advertise themselves as supermarkets and, according to the definition in the clause, by telling people to come and shop, they promote tobacco products. Unless the Government—[Interruption.] I am surprised at the reaction of colleagues. Instead of doing their correspondence, or whatever it is that they are doing, they should read what is in the Bill.
The Yellow Pages listing is an advertisement for someone who sells tobacco products. The vast majority of tobacco that is sold in my constituency goes through supermarkets. All supermarkets rightly make sure that their address, telephone number and location are in Yellow Pages. If one wants to take it to that extent, the Bill makes it illegal for purveyors of tobacco to advertise their presence, even by means of a free advertisement, let alone the full-page advertisements that one sees. That is why the Bill is so foolish in not attempting to define what an advertisement is. I hope that the Minister will tell the Committee what her definition of an advertisement is, because it is crucial.
I am wearing a tie today. I could not find a tie that bore the logo of a tobacco company; we are probably glad of that. My tie has the logo of an insurance company, but I suspect that many people wear cricketing ties that have been sponsored by various bodies. Are such ties an advertisement? I have here a very nice sailing jacket, which I shall describe, because I know that I cannot show something without describing it. As you will see, Mr. Malins, it is a Silk Cut jacket; it is in the Silk Cut colours of purple and yellow—
Order. I am listening with great interest to the hon. Gentleman, but we are in danger of straying into the clause stand part debate. There will be a clause stand part debate, as long as this debate is not too prolonged. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will stay with the amendments.
I was led astray by the reaction of Labour Members, who did not seem to think that an entry in a telephone directory was an advertisement. The Yellow Pages is an advertising product, and that is the difficulty. You are right, Mr. Malins, that the definition of an advertisement comes under the clause stand part debate.
I have read the code, which the tobacco industry has kept to carefully. I believe that it does a better job, and the Committee deserves to hear from the Minister why she thinks that the amendments, which would at least allow tobacco specialists to be found in the Yellow Pages, should not be accepted. If someone says, ``I know that there is a tobacconist down on the high street. I am after something quite specialist. I want to know its telephone number'', they will not be allowed to obtain that information, despite the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1998, unless the amendments are accepted.
The hon. Member for Meriden said that the increase in smoking —although it was disputed on Second Reading, and still is now—had nothing to do with advertising, but was caused by tobacco smuggling. I do not want to pre-empt the DTI investigation into whether British American Tobacco is conscious of the worldwide smuggling that takes place, but it is well documented that tobacco companies advertise ferociously in countries such as China, which place heavy restrictions on imports of tobacco—I believe that only 7 or 9 per. cent of tobacco is imported into China. The legitimate trade that the tobacco companies do with China clearly does not justify their advertising costs, but they know that there is a great deal of illegitimate trade and they want their product to benefit. Whether the trade is legitimate or illegitimate, they make money from it, so they advertise in such countries. The hon. Member for Meriden will have to take my word for it. If she wants evidence, I will have to bring it from my office.
The hon. Lady is not right in her analysis that tobacco companies do not promote smoking simply because we have a lot of smuggled tobacco in this country. There is good evidence to suggest that they promote tobacco, whether it is legitimately or illegitimately imported, and we must recognise that.
What does the hon. Member for Meriden mean by ``a specialist tobacco product''? When is a cigar not a cigar? Is a cigar that is promoted in all supermarkets, millions of which are smoked on a regular basis each day, the same as one that is affordable only to millionaires who are prepared to pay £50 for a cigar that was grown in a particular year? I did not know previously that there was such a thing as vintage cigars. When is a tobacco product not a specialist tobacco product? Unless we have good answers to those questions, the amendment will open the floodgates. Someone could argue that their particular brand of cigarettes was specialist for reason X and Y, and ask for the right to advertise it. That would wholly defeat the essence of the Bill so the hon. Lady will have to come along with a better argument.
Clearly the hon. Gentleman is a keen supporter of the Bill. Indeed, I note from the record from 1987 that he supported the motion that I sponsored. Specialist tobacco retailers are highlighted in the Bill to allow them to do things that the ordinary supermarket is not allowed to do. Is he saying that he will be voting against that particular clause? Does he accept that small specialist retail tobacconists are a special case?
As has been said, they are afforded special protection for advertising themselves on the products that they sell on the premises. My hon. Friend the Minister will want to know that I support that, but we are confusing specialist tobacco retailers with specialist tobacco products. I ask the hon. Member for Meriden to define exactly what she means. Her interpretation could drive a coach and horses through the Bill. A person could argue that, even though millions of their brand of cigarette were smoked every day, their brand was specialist because all the people who bought them were special people.
I am not trying to be combative about this; I am trying to get to a particular problem. I weighed up the option of crafting the amendment in another way and excluding unbranded products, but I decided that that would widen the net too much.
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the real problem—what is fuelling the rapid increase in consumption—is the smuggling of branded, recognised marques of cigarettes? My amendments may well have their imperfections, but the Bill will hit the specialist producer very hard indeed. I am asking the Government to think carefully whether there are ways in which we could help in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman also made a point about specialists and their retail outlets. I remind him that some of them sell by mail order; they do not have shops.
The Bill provides protection for their customers, and I am sure that we will speak about that at some stage. It is not a blanket provision whereby retailers can advertise in Yellow Pages or anywhere else. Known customers will request special information from such retailers. That seems eminently sensible, but I do not agree with the hon. Lady's amendment.
Hon. Members have raised points about the meaning of ``tobacco advertisement'', and about smuggling and other issues, which I will return to in the clause stand part debate. I want to confine my remarks at this stage to amendments Nos. 1 and 6.
The Government cannot accept either amendment No. 1 or amendment No. 6, but for very different reasons, so I will take each in turn. Amendment No. 1 would allow advertisements of specialist tobacco products, whether on billboards, through sports sponsorship, in magazines, on the internet or anywhere else. It does not define what a specialist tobacco product is. The clause defines a tobacco product as one
consisting wholly or partly of tobacco and intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed.
That is a pretty comprehensive definition.
Clause 6(2) defines a specialist tobacconist as a shop selling
cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco and smoking accessories.
I assume that the intention behind the amendment is to permit advertisements of cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco and smoking accessories. Yet that is not precisely what the amendment does. It does not set out definitively whether hand rolling tobacco, gutkha or paan would be regarded as specialist tobacco products. The scope of the amendment is extremely wide, but the health risks from all of those products are considerable.
Some chewing tobacco and other products that could be covered by the amendment carry considerable risk. Such products are used to a great extent in certain communities, particularly Asian communities, and they could still be regarded as specialist tobacco products. The Government would be extremely concerned about any amendment that permitted advertisements of gutkha and chewing tobacco products.
The hon. Member for Meriden raised doubts as to whether gutkha or any other such products were chewed or used by children or young people. Specialists have given the Department evidence—both health professionals and community representatives—that the incidence of the use of gutkha, in particular, is high among young people and that it has become a fashionable product. We are worried about the consumption of oral tobacco by young people given the consequences that it can have: it can lead to oral cancers. We would, therefore, be troubled to see such a measure included in the Bill. It would undermine its entire purpose and intention, which is to prevent harm to children and young people.
I accept that cigars and pipe tobacco are less harmful than cigarettes, mainly because the people who smoke those products tend not to inhale. Some studies show that the overall risk of premature death for cigarette smokers is 70 per cent. higher than for non-smokers, but that, for pipe and cigar smokers, it only up to 10 per cent. higher. However, those products still pose considerable risks to health. It has been suggested that many pipe and cigar smokers formerly smoked cigarettes and may have transferred their inhalation habits, which makes the practice far more dangerous and poses a far greater risk to public health. A European study found that the risk of lung cancer was nine times higher for cigar smokers than for non-smokers. Pipe and cigar smokers develop cancer of the larynx at several times the rate of non-smokers and experience higher mortality from bronchitis and emphysema.
Voluntary agreements and codes of practice have tended to make distinctions between cigarette and hand rolling tobacco, and cigars and pipe tobacco. Even so, the need to regulate the advertising of the latter has long been recognised. There have been no television advertisements for cigars and pipe tobacco since 1991—such advertisements are prohibited under the independent television code of advertising standards and practice. The Radio Authority has recently launched a consultation document with a view to banning advertisements for cigar and pipe tobacco, in line with the Bill.Indeed, the voluntary agreement reached in December 1994 between the previous Government and the tobacco trade prescribed health warnings for press and billboard advertisements for cigars and pipe tobacco. There are clear links between pipe and cigar tobacco and health. That is why it is right that they be broadly included within the scope of the Bill.
We recognise that specialist tobacco products tend mainly to appeal to mature smokers and that a number of businesses specialise in the sale of such products. Clause 6 recognises that they are often small businesses and allows them to advertise their products within their shop.
We will discuss advertising on the internet and at point of sale, which is covered by regulations. That will provide the appropriate point for detailed discussion. However, we have made it clear that the intention of the Bill is to prevent the promotion of tobacco products and that means all tobacco products in the general sense. We will then set out the particular exemptions. We accept that products in the premises of specialist tobacconists are not likely to be accessed other than by people who are already interested in the specialist tobacconist's products and in going into those shops in the first place.
On a narrow point—what the Minister is defining as an advertisement—the Yellow Pages simply lists the tobacconists, showing where they are and what their telephone numbers are. There is no other information about smoking. I would say that that is an advertisement promoting tobacco. Clearly, if that is defined as being illegal and is taken out of the Yellow Pages, supermarkets and everyone else who sells tobacco will be caught by the same definition. Will the Minister return to what is defined as an advertisement?
If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I will return to that matter when I discuss amendment No. 6 and after I have finished with amendment No. 1.
There is no justification for any general exemption from the advertising bans for particular products, and such an amendment would weaken the Bill. We should be cautious in our assumption that specialist tobacco products are not fashionable with children. I remember teenagers smoking cigars because they thought it was particularly fashionable and gave them a novel image. In 1998, 4 per cent. of men between 16 and 19 reported smoking cigars. Therefore, just because particular products are not fashionable, does not mean they will not become so. There is a broad principal here, that general advertising of tobacco products, whatever they might be, should not be permitted under this Bill.
I am sympathetic to the intention behind amendment No. 6, but the Government are of the view that it is unnecessary. Specialist tobacconists should be able to advertise themselves as such in the Yellow Pages, or anywhere else. The Bill does not permit them to use space in Yellow Pages to advertise cigarettes, rolling tobacco, or tobacco products. The entry in Yellow Pages promotes a business, not a product, and the Bill is not aimed at such announcements or listings of specialist tobacconists, or their address and of what they are.
I am grateful to the Minister for a clear and useful definition, but I am concerned about the legal aspects and the many organisations that are campaigning for a ban on advertising. Yell.com, which is about to become a separate public company, could be sued for carrying such advertisements. After all, specialist tobacconists sell tobacco and the purpose of the listing in Yellow Pages is to promote the sale of tobacco. To my mind, therefore, that is an advertisement, and it would be to any lawyer or judge. Can the Minister show how the company is protected within the Bill?
Clause 1 is clear on that matter. A tobacco advertisement is an advertisement to promote a tobacco product. Advertisements that promote tobacco products, such as a large advertisement in Yellow Pages to promote Marlboro cigarettes or whatever, would clearly be interpreted as such by the courts.
Certainly, the Government do not intend to prevent specialist tobacconists from placing entries in Yellow Pages. We do not intend to prohibit that type of publicity. The mischief at which the Bill is clearly aimed is an advertisement that promotes a tobacco product and encourages people to smoke. The Government have sympathy with the aim of the amendment, but do not believe that it is necessary.
Therefore, I invite the Committee to reject the amendment.
```tobacco advertisement' means an advertisement . . .
(b) whose effect is to do so, and''— meaning, to promote a tobacco product. Surely, to return to the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset, a lawyer would say that, by putting the name and address of a tobacco specialist in Yellow Pages, one is promoting a tobacco product. That is where my concern lies. Surely, we do not expect a specialist tobacconist to go to court to prove who is right. There needs to be clarification.
I do not think that that would be the effect of clause 1(b). I have tried to make the intention of the Government crystal clear by spelling this out. It is clear in the Bill. The Government do not intend to prohibit specialist tobacconists from publicising their businesses in Yellow Pages. However, we intend to prohibit the advertising of tobacco products.
The listing that I have here is in bold and is, therefore, a ``paid for'' entry. It reads:
``Benson and Hedges Ltd. . . . 13 Old Bond Street, W1X.''
I understand that that is the name of a specialist shop, but it is also the name of a brand of cigarette. Is it illegal, under the Bill, for that shop to be listed in that way?
I have tried to make this as clear as I can. It is not the intention of the Bill to prohibit businesses from listing themselves, or specialist tobacconists in particular from listing or promoting themselves as such. Clearly, the Bill will prevent the promotion of particular tobacco products. The reason being that we want to prevent the promotion of tobacco products, which ultimately promotes smoking, and children are our particular concern. I hope that I have spelt that out as clearly as possible, both for the sake of specialist tobacconists, so that they understand our intention, but also for those who will have to interpret the Bill in the courts.
We have had a useful discussion. The amendments were designed to probe the Government on advertising and the position of the specialists. The last few points that the Minister made will be helpful. The meaning of the Bill is not immediately apparent from the way in which it is drafted. I hope, therefore, that the record of this Committee will serve as the basis of the guidance that goes with the legislation, to ensure that everyone is clear about the meaning of the Bill.
I hope that the Minister will understand from this discussion that we want to get the balance right. We do not want smoking to increase—that is a shared aim on both sides of the Committee. We are trying to strike a balance between that risk and those who legitimately want to carry out their trade. I still remain a little unsatisfied about specialists who do not have a shop, but we will be able to debate that further on clause 6.
These were probing amendments and the clarification that they have drawn from the Government will be helpful. I hope that we will have time for a stand part debate on the wider meaning of advertising, because my hon. Friend and I still have questions that we want to raise. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
We return to the meaning of a ``tobacco advertisement''. It is important to hear from the Minister some clarification on this matter for the industries that will be directly affected and even for those that will only be indirectly affected. As we scrutinise the Bill, we will find that it will capture, for example, the internet service providers. Many parties will, therefore, be listening with great interest to find out what the Government regard as a tobacco advertisement.
I asked about tobacco packaging. If that is the only way that tobacco companies can promote their products, the packets may change considerably. As the Minister said, we have to try and have vision and imagine what may be the fashion. I am trying hard to envisage the new world in which advertising has been banned. I want to know whether the packaging of tobacco products would be affected. What about the letterheads of companies that sell tobacco products? Might their stationery be caught by the definition of a tobacco advertisement? That is important because some of the larger companies spend great sums on their business stationery. What about delivery vans that belong to companies that produce tobacco products? Will they be affected if they carry logos, inscriptions, marks or signs advertising the business whose products are contained within the vehicle? Would that constitute a tobacco advertisement? That is an important matter for any third party that was involved. Often, manufacturing companies contract out their delivery services, but still have their logos on the delivery vehicles.
We need a little more clarification about electronic advertisements. We are going to debate internet service providers at length on clause 2. It is an interesting area—one that, as a health spokesman, I do not feel overly qualified to debate. I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for South Dorset has more knowledge of information technology and I will draw on his experience.
What constitutes an advertisement by electronic means? That is an important question. The explanatory notes state:
The term ``advertisement'' is not defined and bears its natural meaning.
That is vague. I am not sure what the natural meaning is and, unfortunately, it may be about to change in the new information technology revolution in which we are participating. It would welcome more clarification. It would make the task of enforcement easier if the Government clarified and defined what is and what is not an advertisement under the Bill.
I, too, am interested in defining the word ``advertisement''. I hope that the Minister will accept that the Opposition are not attempting to help the tobacco industry to promote its products. I would be glad—the Chancellor would not be—if people did not smoke as much and if we could find an effective way to reduce tobacco consumption. That was achieved under the previous Government, but unfortunately consumption is now increasing—I am not going to point fingers because I do not think that it is increasing because of any deliberate act of the Government—and we have to tackle the problem.
Anyone in advertising will tell you, Mr. Malins, that the best form of advertising is not the paid-for, full-page advertisement in The Daily Telegraph, or whatever other medium; it is getting a company's story in an editorial. The story may say that a product, which is milder and does not contain as much nicotine—does not have this or that—is better for the consumer. The Government must define what they mean by that sort of information. After all, an advertisement is information.
What the hon. Gentleman describes is certainly applicable to the adult and well-educated population, but children are our greatest concern. They probably do not read the tabloids and they certainly do not read the broadsheets, so they are not going read that sort of editorial. They are influenced by imagery, which is what is at the heart of advertisements.
I fully agree with the hon. Lady, but what imagery does one have to be careful about? In magazines for teenage girls, the imagery is of being slim and of tobacco suppressing appetite. One of the myths that is put about is that it is sexy to smoke cigarettes. That is not covered by the Bill. The definition that the Minister is trying to achieve would ban someone from putting an advertisement for tobacco in a girls' magazine.
The Minister and, I hope, all Committee members will know that a code of practice has been agreed by the tobacco companies. They have agreed not to advertise in girls' magazines—there have been no advertisements for a long time and there would be outrage if there were—and not to promote cigarettes in any way by trying to place information in a magazine.
The voluntary agreement has worked very well. I understand from the tobacco industry—I am no friend of that industry— that it has asked the Government what more it should do voluntarily. That would be the right way forward. My concern is that, if the tobacco industry is cut off and unable to promote its brands in that way, it will find all the routes around that restriction.
Unlike the hon. Gentleman, I do not think that the code of practice works as well as it could. Does he accept that tobacco companies advertise near schools, particularly in poorer areas, where there are huge advertisements, because young people are vulnerable? They get hooked on tobacco and find it hard to get off it. Advertisements have a pernicious effect. Does he agree that we should legislate to ensure that young people are not attracted to tobacco at such an early age, with all the attendant health implications, so that we do not have to spend so much getting them off it?
I am surprised at the hon. Gentleman because the code says that there should be no advertising within 200 m of a school. If he is particularly worried that young people will come out of school, walk 250 m and see something that will attract them, he is right to support the Bill, but surely the voluntary system is much better.
Of course, the tobacco industry did not ask the Conservative Government to allow it to make its advertising less effective. There were hard-nosed negotiations between the two. I suggest that the present Government should have similar hard-nosed negotiations and work out what should be done, although there is no need for anyone to pay £1 million to have negotiations with the Government.
Under the code of practice, people are not shown smoking in billboard advertisements. There is subtlety in the advertising of a brand: for example, in the slash down the poster advertising Silk Cut. Will the average 14, 15 or 16-year old say, ``Look at that poster, that lovely bit of silk with that slash down it—I must have a cigarette. I'm dying for one''? It may happen. However, one has to look at the consequences if the tobacco companies do not spend their money on such advertisements.
The Minister will understand the example of Viagra. I mention that not because she and her husband have any need of it, but because she is a health Minister and we are dealing with health issues. Viagra is restricted in the United Kingdom. It has to be obtained by prescription from a doctor.
What happened as soon as restrictions were put on Viagra? Anyone who has an e-mail account will know what I mean. Every e-mailer in the country seemed to be e-mailing us to say that we could obtain Viagra or the new non-Viagra natural product—[Interruption.]
I am obviously of an older generation than you, Mr. Malins. I did not mean to cause too much hilarity.
As Viagra is not available over the counter in the United Kingdom, many people in the United States started advertising. One can buy Viagra over the internet and have it delivered. I am sure that that breaks all sorts regulations. The importation of drugs in that way is almost certainly illegal. If we impose an absolutely watertight ban on tobacco advertising, the tobacco industry will spend its promotion budgets in different ways. That is not what I or the Government want them to do, and I am extremely concerned.
There is a very clear code of practice for the tobacco industry. It will not put any promotional material or advertisements on a computer, in software, or wherever. If we say to the tobacco manufacturers, ``Thanks, but we do not want your voluntary agreement any more,'' what would stop Sega making characters in their games tobacco smugglers or making tobacco products sexy and subtly promoting them to young people? That is the difference between defining what an advertisement is and what is banned—which, I contend, the Minister is not able to do—and a voluntary agreement.
The great thing about a voluntary agreement, is that when one tobacco manufacturer finds a way round the agreement and decides to go off in a different direction, the Minister can pick up the phone, talk to the Tobacco Manufacturers Association and say that what the manufacturer is doing is harmful and the Government are worried. When the previous Government and, I suspect, this Government have raised issues, the voluntary agreement has quickly been amended.
I understand that advertising near schools was raised with the tobacco manufacturers under the voluntary agreement. The agreement is not legislation, which can take three years to get through Parliament. I am told that within three months all advertisements near schools were removed. The voluntary system worked well. Hon. Members should remember that it is self-policing while we shall have to ask trading standards officers to rush out and police the Bill.
I hate to say this, but I was involved with Parents Against Tobacco—which campaigned against the sale of tobacco to under-16s. It was extraordinarily difficult to get local authorities to prosecute under existing laws people who were selling tobacco to people under 16 years of age. The voluntary agreements work much better.
I am trying to envisage what the hon. Gentleman thinks can happen now with voluntary agreements. What can be added to voluntary agreements that will achieve the purposes of this Bill, with which he says that he is in agreement?
One has to accept that people who sell a legal product are constantly looking to see whether they are losing their market share. The voluntary code does as much as we can to prevent manufacturers from recruiting new people to smoking or encouraging existing smokers to smoke more. Those are the things that the Government should be looking at.
We know that tobacco consumption has increased. The Government take that as more justification to do what they said that they would do in their election manifesto. The next election is almost upon us and they still have not done it.
Why has that happened? I think that most of us agree that tobacco taxation has reached a level at which it is hurting people financially, so the criminal element has recognised a great marketing opportunity. People make massive profits from importing tobacco, which is less risky than smuggling heroine, cocaine or marijuana. If they are caught smuggling tobacco, they just get a slap on the wrist. So people are taking their white vans over to the continent, filling them with tobacco and selling them at factory gates, pubs and the rest of it. Instead of buying the 20 cigarettes that they normally buy and making it last—I believe that people try to limit their consumption—they end up with a pack of 200, 400 or 600. They never run out because they are buying them in bulk.
When it is made illegal for people to promote tobacco products which are manufactured and marketed in the United Kingdom, tobacco producers in America or wherever, recognise a great marketing opportunity. The UK producers are not allowed to promote their own product through their own tobacconists, but foreign companies can promote their products and tell the consumers where they can buy them on the continent. They can encourage them to go over and bring back however many cigarettes they think that they need for a year. I do not know how quickly cigarettes start to go off, but people are going across to the continent and buying large amounts of tobacco.
Under the Bill, the only way to promote tobacco products will be to manufacture them overseas in order not to get clobbered for being a UK manufacturer. That will mean sacking all those people in Southampton, Nottingham or wherever else, and putting them on the dole —which is fine as far as the Labour party is concerned. The companies will then start promoting tobacco in a completely different way—overseas, via the internet, by direct mail or whatever. The Government cannot stop manufacturers from promoting tobacco products and getting their customers to go and collect them on the continent. We will see consumption of tobacco increasing.
The tobacconist in his shop selling legal tobacco knows that he can be raided at any time if he sells to under-16s. The drug dealers outside schools do not care about the law. Smugglers do not care either. They will be flogging off large packs or splitting them up into smaller sizes. It will be cheaper and easier for young people to buy cigarettes; £4-odd a packet is a lot of money and a turn-off for most youngsters. Their pocket money hopefully restricts the amount that they smoke.
I am keen to make sure that what we are doing is not counter-productive. I am not saying that the Bill will not work; I am saying that it will actually have the opposite effect to that which is intended. It all comes back to having a sensible code and knowing what the tobacco industry can do. A catch-all ban on tobacco advertisement will bounce back on the Government, because they are not defining ``advertisement'' correctly.
The Bill states that a tobacco product
``means a product consisting wholly or partly of tobacco and intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed''.
I am afraid that I do not know the brand names, but a number of the nicotine replacement products come in a little holder, like a cigarette holder, and people suck on them to get their nicotine. They still give the nice feeling of sucking that is, let us say, part of the bonding instinct. From my reading of the Bill, it will become illegal to promote such products. We know, of course, that products such as Nicorette patches are advertised on television, whereas tobacco advertising has been off the television for some time.
Nicorette patches are not prohibited by this particular definition, as they are to be stuck on, but it is possible that products, which may be promoted or even paid for by the Department of Health, will not be able to be promoted. One is worried that the Minister may be dragged off to prison because she has said, ``What a good product this is'', has promoted it and perhaps put out a glossy brochure, and has been caught by her own legislation. Later on we will discuss the advertising in more detail.
I had hoped to have here, but I did not want to spend the £4.20 to do so, a pack of House of Commons cigarettes. The brand name is ``House of Commons''. It is an advertisement for a cigarette. I just do not know whether we will have to change all our letterheads, and change the name of the building—we will have to call it ``the Palace of Westminster'' or whatever—because we are a brand name of a packet of cigarettes. We invite people to come to the House of Commons to look around or to have dinner. Often, hon. Members who host dinners here put House of Commons cigarettes on the table. Are we now to be branded as breaking the law? We will all end up in prison, because we are sending out on our letterheads the words ``House of Commons'', which is a brand name of a cigarette?
The hon. Gentleman makes a good case for the Bill because he has exposed what the tobacco companies have done and how they have promoted their products over the years. I liked his comment that their promotion budgets would not go away. He said that it we stopped them spending their money on what we now call tobacco advertising, the money would go elsewhere. That is exactly right. When we banned the advertising of cigarettes on television in 1965 by means of the voluntary code, the money went into promotion of sports such as Formula 1 and Benson and Hedges cricket, so that companies could still get their brand names into millions of homes via television. It is clear that their promotion budgets will move into other activities. That is why we need a comprehensive Bill that will stop that happening. Voluntary agreements have squeezed some types of advertising and as a result we have seen an increase in the promotion of tobacco products in ways that are not covered by the voluntary code.
I was around when the voluntary codes were negotiated in 1994. I was promoting a private Member's Bill in the House at the time that had some influence. I found that out a year or so later when I obtained some leaked Cabinet documents. Anyone with an interest in tobacco promotion and public health would have to conclude that agreeing not to place billboards within 200 m of schools, but placing them within 210 m, makes a mockery of the protection of public health.
It has been well documented that much tobacco advertising, certainly on bill posters, is targeted at 11 to 15-year-olds. That is when people start smoking—when they cannot legally buy the product. Tobacco companies know that quite well. During the winter of 1993, when I was promoting that private Member's Bill, Regal withdrew the Reg campaign, which used school grounds and was aimed at young children. The tobacco companies denied that they withdrew the campaign because of the Bill, but they decided to take the Reg campaign off their bill posters. It was quite clear what the tobacco companies had been up to over many years.
On advertising and billboards, they do not have to have Silk Cut with a big piece of purple silk and a pair of scissors going through it, but inquiring minds will find out or want to know what it means. An inquiring mind is normally the younger mind in our society and it is no coincidence that the most heavily advertised brands of cigarettes are those that are smoked by young people who are not old enough to buy them legally. Studies have been carried out and advertising does work—it encourages people to get the habit of smoking.
Finally, the hon. Member for South Dorset asked about the jobs of people who work in the tobacco industry in Southampton—or anywhere else. The vast majority of people who work in tobacco production, are working for foreign markets and imports. We should recognise that. The Bill is purely concerned with domestic advertising and the promotion of cigarettes in this country. It does not affect the market in the developing world, where there has been a big increase—
The workers contact us regularly about how all tobacco issues will affect them. This legislation concerns domestic politics. It is about us as a member state of the European Union putting into effect legislation that was denied us through the European Commission and the European courts last year. I mentioned the European courts earlier. They believe that specific tobacco advertising issues are state issues—they are peculiar to each member state. As a consequence, the tobacco industry was successful in stopping the European directive last year. That is the truth of the matter. This legislation will introduce in this country controls on the advertising and promotion of cigarettes. The Bill will not affect the majority of production workers in the industry in this country.
I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's theory about the benefits of us going it alone by pursuing the objectives of a European directive that, at this stage, has been annulled in the European courts. Does he accept that doing so is likely to place some of our companies at a competitive disadvantage? As a general principle, it is not a good idea to go it alone on legislation in a single market—in advance of the rest of the pack. There are all the costs of being the first to attempt something. One makes all the mistakes and does all the running. It is not always the best way to go about one's business.
On the evidence of the report from Dr. Clive Smee and what was found in the four countries that he studied many years ago on behalf of the Department of Health, ``going it alone'' or not, we are not reinventing the wheel; we are implementing legislation to ban advertising and promotion, which has been found to reduce tobacco consumption in countries where it has taken place. The hon. Lady is shaking her head. I understand that, like her hon. Friend the Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox)—I mentioned this on Second Reading—she was sent in December four different reports by the charity Action on Smoking and Health, with which I have a close relationship, as I have admitted in previous debates. Has she read those reports from the World Bank and others? Does she believe that their forecast as to the likely effect that this legislation will have on tobacco consumption in the United Kingdom is true, or not?
The hon. Gentleman is asking me a specific question. Of course I have read the reports, but the point is that the Smee report was undertaken before such a significant level of smuggling had arisen and that that will considerably affect the capacity of this Bill to succeed in its aim.
The hon. Lady is, presumably, trying to say that advertising has nothing to do with the consumption of legally bought cigarettes, or indeed, of illegal cigarettes. We are discussing the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. Whether they are obtained legally or illegally is a red herring. We are trying to prevent people from starting to smoke, no matter how they get the cigarettes. Under the circumstances, we should concentrate on the issues in the Bill. We should not keep harping on consumption and where people get cigarettes.
We all recognise that many young, under-age people are likely to be buying smuggled cigarettes. That is an unhealthy situation. It is nothing to do with the Bill; it is a law and order issue. The fact that we have passed laws that some people break does not mean that we should not pass laws. I do not know where we would be as a society if we ever accepted that.
Finally, I have some questions on clause 1, which defines a tobacco product as opposed to a tobacco brand. Has the Department studied the legal definition of a tobacco product and a tobacco brand? Have the lawyers decided that the clause is complete without using the words ``tobacco brand''. I would like to know why those words are not in the clause because, as has been said, much of the advertising now is for brands and not necessarily for a specific product.
What worries me—especially when we consider the potential impact of the clause on later clauses, in particular clause 10, on brand stretching—is that if brands are not effectively covered in this clause, we will be opening the door for promotion budgets to go elsewhere, as the hon. Member for South Dorset said. Brand stretching could be a major issue and I want the Bill to cover it, through regulations under clause 10.
I have said this before, but it is important that we understand what the tobacco companies have done when partial bans on promotion and advertising have been introduced. That happened in Italy many years ago—it was generally rumoured to be a protectionist measure, on behalf of the Italian tobacco production market. Italy imposed an advertising ban and so forth, but allowed television advertisements for Formula 1 racing helmets that carried brand logos on the side. From my few visits to Italy, wearing a Formula 1 racing helmet emblazoned with a tobacco brand does not appear to be a part of Italian culture. At that time, while in theory there was a ban, a brand logo on another product was being advertising on national television.
Will my hon. Friend the Minister say whether the definition of ``tobacco product'' in the Bill would stretch to a tobacco brand as well, so that we do not end up with the advertising of brands—as happens now—as opposed to the tobacco product?
We have had an extensive debate on clause 1, which is clearly important to the rest of the Bill. It sets out what we mean by ``tobacco advertisement'' and ``tobacco product''. Hon. Members have raised concerns about definitions of tobacco advertisements, so I will deal with that issue first.
The word carries its natural meaning, as people understand it. It is usual for words to bear their natural meaning in legislation and to seek to provide a narrow definition risks creating loopholes. The principle of the Bill is to draw up a broad definition and then provide defences or exemptions as appropriate. Those are the defences and exemptions that we will come to in Committee and which we will be able to discuss in detail.
The mischief at which this Bill is aimed is clear—the promotion of tobacco products to the public, to encourage people to buy, smoke or chew them, as appropriate. It is not the aim of the legislation to provide a comprehensive list of every detailed type of advertisement that might be possible. It would be a mistake to rule things out by omission, particularly given the arguments of the hon. Member for South Dorset about the ingenuity of the tobacco industry in finding different ways to promote its product. We are clear that all tobacco advertising—promoting tobacco products to the public—should be covered under the Bill.
I do not want to deal with particular examples raised in much detail. However, the Hon. Member for Meriden asked about an advertisement emblazoned on a van. If its purpose or effect is to promote a tobacco product, whether it is on a van, a billboard or anything else, it is covered by the Bill.
Companies promoting their business by printing their name on a letterhead that is used for individual communications is a completely different matter. That is not the mischief at which the Bill is aimed. As hon. Members will know, packaging and labelling have been discussed at European level as part of the current European directive. The pack itself is not an advertisement, although packs may be displayed in such a way as to constitute advertisements.
Nothing in the Bill prevents adults from getting information about the tobacco products that they are interested in. What it ends is the tobacco companies' right to use their considerable profits to bombard children or adult smokers and non-smokers with seductive messages to persuade them to smoke. The Bill does not affect artistic licence. There is nothing in the Bill to stop people from smoking on stage or on film, or to stop journalists from writing about tobacco, as long as they have not been paid by the tobacco companies to do so.
I think that the Minister is getting to one of the definitions that it would be much more sensible to have in the Bill: the provision should cover advertisements, or promotions that are paid for by the tobacco industry. At present, that is not within the Bill. An advertisement is an advertisement, whether it is paid for or not.
One of the problems with editorial is that a person writing about medical research may have been paid out of a trust set up by the tobacco industry—at the urging of politicians—to investigate the harmful effects of tobacco. Under the definition that the Minister has just given about paid advertising, or paid editorialising, effectively, anyone who had been paid by the tobacco industry, no matter how independent they were, could not publish the results of that research.
The Bill includes sponsorship, the purpose of which is to cover tobacco company sponsorship and promotion of events, be they artistic or sporting. The reason why it is important to ask whether and how advertisements are paid for is because sponsorship issues apply in those circumstances. I think that it is right that they do.
The common-sense interpretation of the word ``advertisement'' includes promotion of a product. If we tied the provision down to whether specific sums had been paid at specific times, issues around free advertisement or arrangements in kind would not be included. However, the Bill makes it clear that journalist's reports on particular tobacco products, written opinions, or artistic expressions—individuals' freedom of expression—are not the target.
Clause 2 mentions a person who
``in the course of a business'' publishes a tobacco advertisement. That phrase is important. The hon. Member for South Dorset would not be prosecuted for wearing his jacket with ``Silk Cut'' emblazoned across it, assuming he is not doing so in the course of a business to promote Silk Cut, or whatever the product might be.
I am clear about that—I would not have come to the Committee to be arrested—but what is the position of the person who produced the jacket: the person who embroidered ``Silk Cut'' on the jacket? She or he would be covered by the Bill, as I see it. Certainly, the company that had it manufactured—Silk Cut is a UK tobacco manufacturer—is covered. Is that an advertisement that is covered by the Bill?
Once the Bill comes into force, it is intended that advertising on the back of jackets, on billboards and in magazines will be covered. Clearly, some complicated issues are associated with brand sharing, which is why we will discuss that further in Committee. It would not be the best use of the Committee's time to discuss it in detail at this point.
The hon. Gentleman asked questions about House of Commons cigarettes. We can debate brand sharing, but clearly the Bill is not intended to prevent legitimate business diversification. It is intended to prevent the promotion and advertising of tobacco products to encourage people to smoke.
I am sorry to press the point, but the brand sharing part of the Bill gives the Secretary of State powers to make orders about brand sharing. It is not on the face of the Bill, and we need to get it into the definition at this point. My Silk Cut sailing jacket does not promote cigarettes as such, because the name of the boat in the Whitbread race was called ``Silk Cut''. The tobacco company did not issue the jackets to its guests until they got off the boat. It did not allow the vessel ``Silk Cut'' to show any Silk Cut logos until it was outside UK waters. That is what comes from a voluntary code. I am really asking the hon. Lady whether, under the Bill. the tobacco companies could say ``It is not a problem. It is not paid-for advertising. It is the name of the boat.'' In that case, the Bill would allow them to do more than they were doing before.
Brand sharing is included in the Bill and was included in the scope of the EU directive and the detailed discussions at a European level, because we want to prevent tobacco companies using alternative ways to promote their tobacco products and brands, whether by using clothing or alternative methods to provide the advertisements. Ultimately, if the purpose is to promote the tobacco product, whether or not there is a picture of the cigarettes themselves emblazoned on the back of the jacket, that is an advertisement. We believe that that should be covered because that is the intention of Parliament in banning comprehensively tobacco advertising and promotion. We do not intend that the Bill should merely ban certain narrow practices, but allow the promotion of tobacco products to children and adults, to smokers and non-smokers, to continue as before. That is why we have attempted to make the Bill comprehensive.
My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) also mentioned branded tobacco products. The Bill prohibits the promotion of tobacco products, including branded tobacco products. We will certainly discuss the promotion of brands and the way in which brand sharing needs to be controlled.
I accept that we are going to discuss that under clause 10 and I look forward to the debate. What worries me is whether, in defining tobacco products in clause 1, but not tobacco brands, we are unknowingly limiting the scope of the Bill and will open the door to the practices that have been mentioned. People could move into promotion in other areas if clause 1 does not refer to a brand as well as a product. If the Minister has had legal advice that the terms mean the same, then that is the end of the debate.
The legal advice that we have had is that the provisions on brand sharing are certainly within the scope of the Bill. We can return to the detail later.
The hon. Member for South Dorset raised the issue of nicotine replacement therapies. Products on the market such as the Nicorette patches do not contain tobacco, so they are not tobacco products, although they are nicotine products. Consequently, they are not covered by the Bill, although he will be aware that there is extensive regulation around medicines.
I hear what the Minister says. Clearly, she has specialist advice available to her, but my understanding is that the nicotine that is used in nicotine replacement products is taken from tobacco and that, under the definition in part I, it is made up of tobacco products. If nicotine is being produced from a source other than tobacco, clearly, it will not be covered. I should be grateful for clarification on that point.
The Bill's clear intention is not to cover products that have been regulated by the Medicines Control Agency and where the purpose is to help people to give up smoking. Our legal advice is that nicotine replacement therapy is not covered by the Bill and by the definition in the clause. They are treated not as tobacco products, but as nicotine products.
I turn to the broader issues that have been raised. Hon. Members have briefly touched on smuggling. We discussed that matter on Second Reading. There is not a choice between banning tobacco advertising and tackling smuggling. Those things should be done at the same time. Many points have been made about the problems of smuggling. It is absolutely right that we tackle those. That is why the Government have set out an extensive programme to tackle them. However, that is not a reason not to ban tobacco advertising.
The hon. Member for South Dorset raised the self-policing, voluntary regime on tobacco advertising. A self-policing, voluntary regime that still permits magazine, billboard or direct-mail advertisements that explicitly target the 70 per cent. of smokers who want to give up—young smokers and new smokers—is not testimony to the effectiveness of voluntary agreement. To permit all that advertising under a voluntary agreement and then say that voluntary agreement is the right way forward and the right thing to do is a mistake. A voluntary agreement permits all the advertising that we are explicitly trying to ban—advertising that promotes tobacco products to children and adults who are trying to give up smoking and that increases tobacco product consumption.
I am not suggesting that all the terms and conditions of the voluntary agreement are sufficient, but can the Minister tell the Committee what has been volunteered by the tobacco industry, or what the Department of Health has said to that industry? Has it suggested that the industry cut particular advertising, or the way in which some products are advertised? I understand that the tobacco industry has approached the Government—not the other way round—and that it has been rebuffed.
The Government are clear that they do not see voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry as the way forward. We do not see previous voluntary agreements as effective in any sense. Opposition Members have talked, almost with pride, about voluntary agreements in the past and how they prevented tobacco companies from targeting new smokers and young people. There is absolutely clear evidence in the report of the Select Committee on Health, in which it gathered information from tobacco companies and advertising agencies, that tobacco companies target new smokers. They need to. When 120,000 of their customers die each year from smoking-related diseases, they need new smokers in order to sustain their market. There is a quote in one of the documents gathered by the Select Committee on Health, in which it is said:
``Ultra has yet to demonstrate a consistent ability to attract new smokers. The key question is `can we expect the brand to appeal to new entrants—or is there a positioning that we can adopt that makes the brand more attractive to entrants.'''
Tobacco companies clearly look for new smokers. They also target young smokers; there are promotions aimed at students and at young smokers. The impact of that is felt by children as well. According to some research, the recognition levels of tobacco brands in the United States is worryingly high—even among six year olds.
Is it true that in 1998 the tobacco manufacturers approached the Government, offering to go further with their voluntary code on advertising, and that they received no response from the Department of Health because it anticipated that the European directive would succeed? Was it not an omission by the Government to fail to acknowledge that tobacco manufacturers were willing to go further in self-policing and applying their own bans? Should the Government not have met with them to have explored how much further they were prepared to go?
No, I do not think so. Right from the beginning—indeed in our election manifesto—we made it clear that our aim was to ban tobacco advertising. We do not think that the voluntary regimes have been successful. They have not gone anywhere near far enough. For example, through the voluntary agreement, tobacco advertising outside schools has been banned, but it is not considered important to ban tobacco advertising outside libraries or swimming pools. That makes a clear mockery of the very concept of voluntary agreements. The tobacco industry fought the ban on tobacco advertising at every stage when it was taken through Europe. It clearly wants to sustain its advertising. That is fine, but we do not intend to allow it to sustain its advertising, and that is why we are introducing the Bill.
I do not doubt for a moment that the tobacco industry will try to find other ways to promote its products. We have introduced a Bill that is broad in scope but then sets out exemptions to anticipate as many issues as possible. We also need to recognise that, by introducing this Bill, we are banning the forms of tobacco promotion that the tobacco companies currently choose because they know that they are the most lucrative and effective. That is why we believe that the advertising and promotion ban will be effective and will make a difference to levels of consumption.
The Minister has been most generous in giving way. My questions relate to what happens when this Bill becomes law, assuming that it is passed. Will the voluntary restraints simply disappear? Will the Government no longer try to police those? We all know that the most powerful advertising medium is television. Tobacco advertising has been off television for a long time. Is the Minister sure that a music programme designed for children that contains lots of tobacco promotion and is beamed in to people's televisions via satellite from anywhere in the world, even from another European country, is covered by the Bill? My understanding is that what is legal to beam up in another country is legal to be beamed down in another. Is the Minister clear on this point? Has she received legal advice, or is she about to open a floodgate?
The scope of the Bill covers tobacco sponsorship of artistic and music events.
The Broadcasting Act 1996 covers existing television regulations, and this Bill refers to that, so we can discuss the relationship between this Bill, the Broadcasting Act, and the points that the hon. Gentleman raises later.
I shall refer briefly to the final issues on the comprehensive definition of tobacco.
The Minister used the word ``effectiveness''. I wish to seek clarification on the orders of scale. She said that a mockery was made of the voluntary coding and I say that it was more effective than what the Government intend to introduce.
Surely, in order of magnitude, a 40 per cent. reduction in smoking over 15 out of the 18 years that the Conservatives were in government compares favourably with the fact that the Government have now set a target, through the Bill, for reducing smoking prevalence by 2.5 per cent., despite the fact that, in the interim, there has been a rise of 6 per cent. We need to clarify our orders of magnitude, if we are to discuss the effectiveness of different instruments.
It is true that the level of prevalence is affected by many different factors, including access to support when people want to give up smoking, tobacco advertising and cultural factors.
Smoking prevalence dropped from 1948 for many years, until 1994, when it started to rise. Smoking among young people has been rising since 1992. The hon. Lady is right to say that there are a series of things that we need to do to tackle smoking, and I am a strong supporter of providing expanded cessation support for those who want to give up smoking —whether it be through nicotine replacement therapy or other kinds of support.
When 70 per cent. of smokers say that they want to give up, one way to reduce smoking is to help more people to give up. Banning tobacco adverting can help smokers who want to give up because it will ensure that they are not bombarded by information about new tobacco products or by communications from the tobacco industry. Equally, a ban helps to reduce the uptake among young people in the first place, given that the brands most heavily smoked by children are those that are most heavily advertised.
It is right that the Bill includes a comprehensive definition of tobacco products, and for very good reason. Given the health risks involved, this Bill is the right way forward, and we will have further discussion on many of the issues raised today. This is just the first of extensive and detailed debates, but it is clearly right that clause 1 should define what an advertisement is and the nature of tobacco products.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Further consideration adjourned.—[Mrs. McGuire.]
Adjourned accordingly at twenty-eight minutes past Twelve o'clock till Thursday 1 February at Nine o'clock.