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Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: I rise for a moment to say that I may have been incorrect in that I should have declared an interest. I have just been invited to become a founder member of the merging charities, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the Cancer Research Campaign. If, in discussing research, I did not declare an interest then I ask the forgiveness of the Committee.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, is not in his place because our discussion now goes to the crux of what he was seeking to achieve; that is, to revisit our debate on Second Reading on what evidence is available to support the contention in the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, which is that a ban on advertising would be one significant factor in the effort to reduce tobacco consumption in this country. I must say that I think that my noble friends Lady Jay and Lord Peston got this right. I do believe that the evidence is in place to support the noble Lord's Bill.
I do not wish to revisit all the reports from which I quoted in our debate on Second Reading, but if we turn to the Smee report, produced in 1992 by the very esteemed and respected economic adviser to the Department of Health at the request of the previous government, we can see that he concluded that the preponderance of positive results does indicate that advertising has a positive effect on consumption. He, too, looked at the evidence from a number of countries, including those mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, in his intervention. Professor Smee stated that there were complications in some of the studies undertaken, in the main because advertising bans were often introduced in conjunction with other tobacco control measures. However, he concluded that in each case the banning of advertising was followed by a fall in smoking on a scale which could not reasonably be attributed to other factors.
But it is not only the Smee report. The 1999 report from the World Bank suggested that implementation of the 1998 EU directive could have reduced cigarette consumption within the European Union by almost 7 per cent. There is other, more recent, evidence from the American researchers Saffer and Chaloupka, who studied data from 22 countries. They concluded that tobacco advertising increases tobacco consumption. I do not want to go on.
I contend that there is sufficient evidence to give confidenceto back up the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Peston, there is a great deal to be said for common sense in making these judgmentsthat the Bill is justified. The evidence supports it.
As to research, I should say to the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, that, as part of the Government's efforts to reduce tobacco consumption, there will be continuing research in this area. The Health Development Agency has a particular interest in evidence-based research in the area of public health, and other organisations will wish to research this area, but I do not believe that that justifies Amendment No. 89.
As to Amendment No. 90 and the issue of a sunset clause, the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, said that he is a fan of sunset clauses. I do not know whether he extends that to legislation on hereditary Peers, but I believe
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Let us examine the kind of circumstances in which sunset clauses should be used. The noble Lord will know that in recent years sunset clauses have been used in relation to the Terrorism Act 2000, the Armed Forces Act 1996, the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973, to name but a few. I suggest that sunset clauses are used where the state is potentially given
The noble Lord argues that there are special circumstances, which he mentioned, in the tobacco Bill we are bringing forward, but I do not believe that they go so far as to justify a sunset clause. In essence, we should have confidence in what we are legislating for and which is backed up by the evidence.
Lord Skelmersdale: Before the Minister leaves the point he has made, I could translate his words as saying that in 6, 10, 16, 20 years' time, or whatever, if the consumption of cigarettes and tobacco is seen to go dramatically up, he would still leave this Bill on the statute book. If he is saying that, I suggest that he is very, very wrong.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My earnest hope is that that will not happen and that the Bill, if enacted, along with the various other efforts we are all making to try to reduce tobacco consumption, will be effective. All I am saying is that I am confident that this Bill is one plank in efforts being made to reduce tobacco consumption. The evidence we have available suggests that we are going in the right direction; it is strong enough for the House to feel safe and secure in passing the Bill.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: Will my noble friend give way? To pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, it seems to me that if you have a time-limited Bill on this kind of activity, there are methods by which the tobacco companies could exploit it. I am not in any way attributing cynical policies to them but, for example, they could, in the run-up to the review of a sunset clause of the kind suggested by the noble Lord, lower the price of cigarettes to such an extent that it counteracted any health education or health promotion methods being used across the board. That would introduce, even temporarily, a rise in consumption. Although this could occur after the Bill had been passedthe point made by the noble Lordmy noble friend would be right in saying that any such provision should obviously be ignored.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: It does not seem to me to detract from the substantive point; namely, that the Government believe that the evidence is sufficiently robust to enable them to recommend to the House that it should support the Bill.
Baroness O'Cathain: If something dramatic occurredfor example, if someone said that smoking was good for peoplethen perhaps the Government of the day would introduce another Bill. I do not think for one moment that the idea of including a sunset clause, just because the Bill might result in more people smoking, is the correct approach.
As the Minister rightly says, the Bill contains a raft of measures. I do not know the figures, but I do not believe that smoking has increased over the past 10 years or so. I know that that has been the case in certain areas; but there is now hardly any place where people can smoke. That is bound to have reduced consumption. Perhaps we shall all come to our senses and realise how appalling smoking is in terms of its effect on our health.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Skelmersdale, has a doubt. I do not share it. But, even if I did, I am not sure that I should conclude that a sunset clause is warranted given the scale of seriousness against which sunset clauses are used in legislation. However, I suspect that we are not going to agree on that.
Perhaps I should turn to Amendment No. 93. My honourable friend Ms Yvette Cooper published a regulatory impact assessment in December 2000 in connection with the earlier government Bill. This carried out, as far as possible, an assessment of the effects of the Bill on employment. It pointed out that there would be various effects, as is patently obvious, as a result of the likely fall in tobacco consumption. It pointed out, however, that if consumers spent less on tobacco they might spend more on other consumer goods; therefore, although there might be a reduction in the employment opportunities in the tobacco manufacturing industry, that might be compensated for in additional employment opportunities in other parts of the employment sector. It is also worth making the point that there has been a long-term fall in employment in the industry, due as much to automation as to falling demand.
I want to assure my noble friend that, of course, the Government are sensitive to the concerns of employees in the tobacco industry. One would have to be. They recognise that the industry provides skilled, well-paid jobs and that it has a significant impact on the local economy in a number of areas. I hope that I can assure my noble friend that the Government will keep a careful eye on this in terms of what support can be given to workers who are so affected. I am not unmindful of the impact on individuals, and have a great deal of sympathy with them. But, as my noble friend Lord Peston, said, at the end of the day we believe that the public interest is strongly in favour of the Bill and a reduction in consumption.
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