Dr Sarah Wollaston asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to make sure tobacco companies have no involvement in smoking cessation services and public health campaigns – the “polluter pays” proposal currently under discussion).
Seema Kennedy told her that, a signatory to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the UK would prevent tobacco companies from influencing public health strategies.
Wollaston also asked about the smokefree generation target which has now been announced.
Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about of the effect of discarded cigarettes on ocean plastic pollution.
Dr Thérèse Coffey told him: “The Government has made no specific assessment of the effects of discarded cigarettes on ocean plastic pollution. However, there is some evidence that in marine environments cigarette butts contribute to microplastics. The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science is working to look at the impact of cigarette butts in the marine environment. This project is due to be completed next year. We are considering how we can ensure that manufacturers are held responsible for covering the costs of clearing up litter from cigarette butts.”
The role vaping can play in reducing tobacco waste is undervalued – and undermined by the Tobacco Products Directive imposing 10ml bottle sizes.
Paul Farrelly asked what assessment has been made of implications for policies of the recent study published in the journal, Nicotine & Tobacco Research entitled, “Prescribing prevalence, effectiveness, and mental health safety of smoking cessation medicines in patients with mental disorders”.
Seema Kennedy replied that no assessment had been made. She added: “The Government keeps evidence on tobacco control under review. Decisions on the best licensed smoking cessation support to prescribe are a matter for clinicians in discussion with their patients, taking account of guidance including advice published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.”
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, wondered what amount of heated tobacco product is allowed to be brought into the UK by returning nationals and visitors from abroad.
The reply was given by Jesse Norman, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General. Norman said: “Passengers travelling from the EU may bring an unlimited amount of tobacco for heating into the UK without paying duty, provided it is for their own personal use. Most passengers travelling from outside the EU may bring tobacco for heating products into the UK up to the value of £390. Passengers travelling by private plane or boat are only entitled to an allowance of £270. The Government’s future approach is subject to the outcome of negotiations with the EU. However, the Government’s aim is to keep processes as close as possible to their current operation.”
Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, asked about the plan for labelling tobacco products and e-cigarettes in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Seema Kennedy replied: “The Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 Statutory instrument (SI) was laid on 1 November 2018. The primary purpose of the SI is to ensure tobacco control legislation continues to function effectively after exit day, in the event that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal. In particular, the amendments contained in this instrument allow for necessary changes to the picture warnings on tobacco products and the process by which tobacco products and e-cigarettes are notified to Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, respectively.”
“The European Commission holds the copyright to the library of picture warnings used on tobacco packaging, therefore in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal we would no longer be able to access the library. An agreement was reached with the Australian Government for a licence to use their tobacco picture warnings in a ‘no deal’ scenario. The above SI repeals the requirement to use the EU set of picture warnings and introduces the new set of picture warnings as Schedule A1.”
“The Department has developed a new domestic notification system which would allow producers to notify tobacco products and e-cigarettes in accordance with the legislation, in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.”