Luke Pollard wanted to know what the Secretary of State had done to assess the adequacy of his Department's powers to require the tobacco industry to take steps to limit littering from its products.
Rebecca Pow, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replied: “The Government would like to see the tobacco industry delivering on the commitment given by the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association to tackle the litter created by its products and their users. We support ongoing efforts by the environmental organisation Keep Britain Tidy to work in partnership with the tobacco industry to devise a voluntary scheme through which the industry can contribute to the clean-up of cigarette related litter, and we are watching this space with interest.”
“Clause 48 in Section 3 of the Environment Bill grants powers to introduce extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. In the Resources and Waste Strategy, we committed to looking into and consulting on EPR for five new waste-streams by 2025, and consulting on two of these by 2022. Waste tobacco filters were not included in this list of priorities but progress on the industry's voluntary approach to litter reduction will be monitored.”
“Tobacco packaging is covered by the current producer responsibility regulations, which require companies to recycle a proportion of the packaging waste they place on the market. Producers of tobacco packaging will be subject to the forthcoming EPR scheme for packaging which will cover the full net costs of managing packaging at its end of life. In our consultation we proposed that producer fees should cover the full cost to local authorities of dealing with littered and fly-tipped packaging waste.”
Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, asked about the effect of vaping on the health of people who have not previously smoked cigarettes, and if there was an estimate of “the number of people under the age of 18 who have taken up vaping who did not previously smoke cigarettes.”
Clearly Paul has not seen the last report from ASH UK [link].
Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care responded: “Public Health England publishes annual independent updates on the prevalence of vaping among adults and young people in England.”
“The latest report found that less than 1% of adults who have never smoked are current vapers (defined as any current use). Among young people under 18, less than 1% of those who have never smoked are current vapers (defined as weekly or less than weekly use). No assessment has been made of the effect of vaping on the health of people who have never smoked in England.”
She referred him to “Vaping in England: an evidence update including mental health and pregnancy, March 2020: a report commissioned by Public Health England”.