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The Earl of Listowel: I note the important concern expressed by the noble Earl. However, I must voice my own concern about the example that he has given. One of the basic principles of controlling tobacco advertising has been to avoid the association of tobacco smoking with health. To me, Camel Active denotes the fact that Camel cigarettes are associated, if somewhat indirectly, with healthy activity and youth. Those types of issue can be particularly attractive to young people. Therefore, I find that, in a way, that example illustrates the concerns expressed and the reason for the necessity of this legislation.
Lord Peston: I think that the answer to the question asked by the noble Earl, Lord Howe, is simply yes. Camel, as my noble friend Lady Jay suggested, is disastrous, as it is precisely that sort of thing that the Bill is intended to stop. The noble Earl should also reflect on Marlboro, which is involved in the jeans market. I hope that there will be no backing down on this matter. With all due respect and good friendship
The noble Earl, Lord Howe, must accept that many of us regard the sale of these dangerous products as a business in which companies should not be involved but, because of our great devotion to liberalism, no one is trying to stop them. It is up to them whether or not they continue in that business. We are trying to ensure that they do not have the opportunity to promote these products, which is the essence of the Bill. We need a tough approach to the brand-sharing problem, which the Bill rightly adopts. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, will confirm that, as drafted, the Bill does not prevent all brand-sharing.
Lord Lucas: My concerns go back to Clause 2 and the absolute nature of the offences that the Bill creates. On the matter of brand-sharing, we have a fuzzy, difficult to define, offence. It is difficult to know whether an advertisement for Camel Active or Dunhill luxury goods is a tobacco advertisement. Yet we are creating an absolute offence that will affect printers, who merely accept advertisements on a disk and print them. It will affect the distributors and may go all the way down to the paper boy, as was emphasised the last time we discussed the Bill. It is not appropriate to have an absolute offence when the offence itself is so indefinite and hard to establish.
Lord Naseby: The noble Lord, Lord Peston, said that the law should be tough. In my judgment the law should be clear. If it is clear it may bring toughness, but to set out to determine that a law should be tough suggests a degree of prejudice, which is not what your Lordships' House should be about.
Lord Peston: It does not suggest a degree of prejudice. I set out my position, which is strongly prejudicial against tobacco companies. I think that these people are scoundrels. I hope that that makes the matter entirely clear to the noble Lord.
I do not want to go down the animal route too much. I lived and worked in India for some years and there are numerous other animals on cigarette packetsthere is certainly an elephant brand. I wonder what the brand Hamlet recalls to Members of the Committee. Is Hamlet a cigar or a play by Shakespeare? Were a survey to be done by MORI, for example, on what the word meant to the citizens of the United Kingdom, I hope and believe that the answer would be the play by Shakespeare. If the British public said immediately that Hamlet meant a medium-strength cigar, I would back down. Perhaps the Government would like to add that question to one of the general surveys that they are always carrying out. We could have the results by the time we have our next debate on these issues.
My noble friend Lady Noakes drew attention to Dunhill in our previous debate and it has been mentioned again today. I have not had time to talk to Dunhill, but I hope that members of that company will read today's debates. I recollect that the Dunhill brand originally related to pipes. I accept that a pipe is an accessory to smoking but the Dunhill brand was not a cigarette brand in this country and was not the primary source of business of the company. I think that I am right in saying that the extension from pipes was to luxury goods and the cigarettes came last. I am not entirely clear whether the promoter of the Bill is saying that we have to drive Dunhill out of business. If that is what the Bill means, that is a serious matter. I do not think that our role as legislators is to drive people out of legitimate business. There is a big question on that issue.
Since our debate on 16th November, I am told that the health council in a proposal to which I understand Her Majesty's Government do not object, has suggested that cigarette papers should be included within the scope of the EU directive, and presumably within the scope of this Bill. One has to ask where does the scope end?
Three other areas are relevant to this amendment. It is a brave person who casts aside Article 10. It is there to protect freedom of speech and its implications are strong. One of the noble Lords on the Benches on which the promoter of the Bill is sitting is probably the world expert on Article 10.
Members of the Committee will be aware, since many of us drive round the countryside, of what BP has done. It no longer has a sign saying XBP". There is now a multi-coloured daisy, which is just a symbol, but it is BP's trademark. Is that an advertisement? If it is not, in terms of the brand-sharing dimension, all sorts of difficulties will arise. There will be all sorts of designs across the whole spectrum of goods, some of which may be cigarettes.
The brand-sharing clause removes totally the prospect of own-label cigarettes. It will not be possible for a supermarket to sell own-label cigarettes because there would be brand sharing across Sainsbury's, Tesco, Gateway and other supermarkets. From the customer's point of view, that would not be good newsit would affect the price of cigarettesand from the supermarkets' point of view it would not be good news because one would be denying them legitimate business. The promoter of the Bill and the Government say that that is not what they are about, but that would be the effect of the provisions.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: I am not a smoker; nor is my wife. In these politically correct times, perhaps I should declare that I have a small parcel of shares in Gallaher and BAT, that my wife has a small parcel of shares in Gallaher, that 25 or 35 years ago the firm that I headed did some work for Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher, and that I have an affection for cricket, which has caused Gallaher occasionally to invite me to Lord's. Not one lobbyist from a tobacco company has been in touch with me about the Bill. My closeness to the tobacco industry is clearly not well known.
My enthusiasm and support for my noble friend Lord Howe and this group of amendments arises from my experience when the Government first announced their intentions in this regard in the House of Commons some four years ago. The Statement that the Secretary of State made, and the way in which he answered questions, implied that he believed that brand management had grown up perhaps only during the Thatcher years. I therefore asked him a direct question about when brand management and the creation of brands first began. It is probably well known in this House that that certainly goes back to the 19th century. Perhaps because he did not know the answer, he did not give a direct answer to my extremely simple question, which he treated as a rhetorical assault on the Government's policy as a whole. I subsequently wrote to him and asked him to answer my question in writing. It took the department a very long time to produce an answer from which I infer that it was difficult to make the remarks that the Secretary of State made in the House consistent with the facts of British history.
The Governmentor the Secretary of Stateset out in total ignorance of the background of management in these areas. I am therefore pleased that we are discussing the matter in detail today and that the comments of noble Lords on the Labour Benches show considerable familiarity with brand management. It is clear that during the past four years familiarity with the realities of life in the commercial world has dawned on those who are concerned with the legislation, which is being treated with more
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