5. Member Debate under Standing Order 11.21(iv): Control of tobacco and nicotine products

Part of the debate – in the Senedd at 4:03 pm on 15 May 2024.

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Photo of Jayne Bryant Jayne Bryant Labour 4:03, 15 May 2024

Thank you, Gareth. As a Government, we're clear that we must consider all our options to support our ambition to be a smoke-free Wales, and this includes whether we look to develop a licensing system, or if we move ahead with the implementation of the retail register. As you know, the Tobacco and Vapes Bill is currently progressing through the UK Parliament and is expected to change the landscape considerably. It's also important to recognise the difference in views at the moment, and what will be needed in future. This is something that we are looking at.

We will need to consider any amendments to the Bill, one of which proposed the introduction of that licensing scheme, and reflect on the recommendations in the independent Khan review to support a smoke-free society. If the Bill passes, whether amended or not, it will give us even more tools to support our ambition to make Wales smoke free. Because of this changing legislative landscape, we have decided to pause implementation of the outstanding areas of the public health Act in relation to tobacco. However, we will undertake a full review of our legislative tools in our next tobacco control delivery plan, which is currently in development. The retail register may well be an effective enforcement tool, and my officials are currently discussing and learning from the approaches taken elsewhere, including Scotland, where a retail register is in place.

In relation to the other part of the motion on a communications campaign, I do agree that it's a crucial part of our approach and an area my officials continue to work with other UK nations on. We want consumers and retailers in Wales to be aware of any changes to the law in relation to tobacco and vapes, and as the Cabinet Secretary said last month, we will continue to update Members about our work to control the sale and use of tobacco and vapes, which is so important for the protection of young people and public health. Diolch yn fawr.