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Discussions from the House of Lords involving tobacco harm reduction and the Tobacco Control Plan

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Baroness Merron wondered where the new Tobacco Control Plan was, something that had originally been promised for the third quarter of 2021. Lord Young pushed forward with a Bill to include warning messages on cigarettes and rolling paper. Finally, Lord Naseby was vexed about the issue of illegally imported ecigs.

Baroness Merron asked Her Majesty's Government just when the delayed Tobacco Control Plan is going to be published. She was also interested to know what assessment has been made as to whether revenues from a ‘polluter pays' charge on the tobacco industry could be used towards the delivery of their Smokefree 2030 programme (which includes promoting vaping to smokers), and if the plan will include this charge.

Lord Kamall, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care, informed her: “We are undertaking further policy development to support the Tobacco Control Plan, which will be published in due course.”

So, no indication how far into 2022 we are going to have to wait.

Lord Kamall then added: “The Department is currently assessing a range of policy and regulatory proposals for consideration in the development of the new Tobacco Control Plan. However, no specific assessment has been made of a polluter pays charge on tobacco manufacturers or whether revenues from this charge could be used towards achieving the Smokefree 2030 programme.”

If they are still at an assessment stage then it would indicate that the formulation of the Plan still has some way to go.

One idea many have agreed is useful is to have the Plan force tobacco companies to include cards in cigarette packs to promote switching to vaping. This didn’t form part of Lord Young of Cookham’s proposed Bill to place health warnings on individual cigarettes and rolling paper.

In the related debate, Lord Young explained how he wanted cigarettes and rolling papers to display health warnings like “Smoking Kills” or “Smoking Causes Cancer”. He informed the House of Lords that such measures are supported by “71 organisations including Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians, the Health Foundation, Asthma UK, the British Heart Foundation, and the British Lung Foundation.”

Lord Kamall said the Government recognised the “good intentions” of the proposal but “it needed more time to review the evidence base”.

Lord Kamall added that the Government would review the proposal as part of the development of the new Tobacco Control Plan

Lord Naseby asked Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to stop the importation of illegal e-cigarette products into the UK. Also, he demanded to know what support they are providing to Trading Standards offices to undertake enforcement actions to ensure that illegally imported e-cigarette products are removed from the UK market.

Lord Kamall replied: “Through the introduction of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, we have introduced e-cigarette product and safety standards, along with a duty to notify a product to be placed on the United Kingdom market to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

“Non-compliant products are subject to local trading standards enforcement. The Department continues to work closely with the MHRA, Trading Standards and other regulatory enforcement agencies to ensure that products sold in the UK comply with regulations for all e-cigarette products and the non-compliant products are removed from the market. Central funding is provided to local authorities for local trading standards activity, including illicit e-cigarettes.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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