Vaping and THR in Parliament

Posted 24th May 2019 by Dave Cross
SNP’s Martyn Day was concerned about links between the government and the tobacco industry. Lord Storey wanted to know if an assessment had been made of the smoking area where he likes to take a drink. HNB is the focus of an amendment set before the house, and Matt Hancock’s final communications have been released (prior to him leaving as the de facto Minister of Vaping).

Martyn Day asked: “What steps [is the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs] taking to ensure that officials of his Department comply with his Department's guidance on support in relation to the tobacco industry; and whether overseas diplomatic staff of his Department have met with representatives of the tobacco industry?”

Mark Field, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, responded: “The Government takes very seriously its obligations as a Party to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This includes the treaty commitment at Article 5.3 to protect public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

“The FCTC does not prohibit meetings with representatives of the tobacco industry but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues guidance annually to all staff on limiting support to the tobacco industry to ensure FCTC compliance. We do not hold a central record of staff meetings with third parties.”

This question was posed before the British Medical Journal ran its piece about the influence it believes British American Tobacco is exerting through the Institute of Economic Affairs.

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Lord Storey was concerned whether an assessment had been made of smoking (and vaping) on the Lords’ Terrace. Lord Laming informed him that the Services Committee will be considering a paper on the matter at its meeting in June.

A new Statutory Instrument on The Tobacco Products (Descriptions of Products) (Amendment) Order 2019 was made and laid before the House of Commons. The purpose of the instrument is to introduce a new category of tobacco called 'tobacco for heating' for the purposes of excise duty.

Letters have been released between the Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee, and Matt Hancock, ex-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. They detail Lamb’s sense of urgency that the government needs to act over the treatment of vapers by the NHS. Hancock responded by deferring to Public Health England. Images of the letters below:

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  • The Tobacco Products Amendment - [link]

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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