Health Committee

10 January 2006
Session 2005-06
Committee Chair Tables Amendment on Health Bill calling for a comprehensive ban on smoking

10 January 2006
Session 2005-06
Committee Chair Tables Amendment on Health Bill calling for a comprehensive ban on smoking

Later today, The Chairman of the Health Select Committee, Kevin Barron together with 9 other committee members will table an amendment to the Government's Health Bill.

If passed, the amendment will mean that no pubs or licensed clubs will be able to be exempted from the ban.

The amendment follows the recent Committee report that branded government plans to introduce a partial ban (which exempts drink only pubs) as 'unfair, unjust, inefficient and unworkable' .

In their report MPs conclude that all workers  - including bar staff  - deserve protection from the dangers of second hand smoke. Current plans to exempt those pubs which don't serve food ignores the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and will also undermine the Government's goal of reducing health inequalities as drink only pubs are concentrated in deprived areas.

The amendment is as follows:

Page 2, line 35, [Clause 3], leave out lines 35 and 36 and insert-

'(2A) The following premises, or subsets of premises, may not be specified under subsection (1):-

(a) licensed premises,

(b) premises in respect of which there is a club premises certificate is in force.

Page 3, {Clause 3], leave out lines 1 and 2.

The amendment has been signed by the following members of the committee:

Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP (Labour)

Mr David Amess MP (Conservative)

Charlotte Atkins MP (Labour)

Mr Paul Burstow (Liberal Democrat)

Jim Dowd MP (Labour)

Anne Milton MP (Conservative)

Mike Penning MP (Conservative)

Dr Howard Stoate MP (Labour)

Dr Doug Naysmith MP (Labour)

Dr Richard Taylor MP (Independent)

Commenting, Kevin Barron said: 'The Government is considering giving Labour MPs a free vote on this amendment.  I hope they do. If carried, our amendment will greatly strengthen  that part of the bill which  aims to protect the public from the dangers of second hand smoke. Since 1997 this Government has come a long way towards controlling the harmful effects of tobacco use and this is another milestone towards the improvement of public health.'

Mr Barron notes the UK Government's considerable achievements in tobacco control since 1997:

The UK is now the top major European country in terms of its tobacco control measures, according to an independent expert report.  [Joossens, L.  Effective tobacco control policies in 28 European countries.  ENSP, 2004.]  This is due to measures brought in by Labour following its landmark white paper on tobacco control "Smoking Kills"   These included:

A comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising (enacted in 2002, entering into force on 14 Feb 2003).

Specialist stop smoking services, available across the nation to all smokers.   Unique to the UK, by 2005, these services were recording 4-week quit rates in excess of 50%.

The wider availability of stop smoking aids. A wide range of Nicotine Replacement Therapy is now available on general sale, giving people the option of buying patches, gum, etc. in pharmacists or at their local supermarket.

A commitment to halt the rise in under-age smoking.   The target to reduce smoking among 11-15 year olds to 11% by 2005 has been exceeded and smoking rates among children are now steadily declining.

A major campaign to reverse the rise in tobacco smuggling. By 2003, the illicit market in tobacco had fallen from 25% to 18% of the market, representing 2.5 million fewer smuggled cigarettes than the previous year.

Notes to Editors

1. The title of the Committee report is 'Smoking in Public Places' and is the Committee's First Report of Session 2005-06 (HC 485-I) .

2. The Membership of the Committee is as follows Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP (Chairman) [L] Rother Valley, Mr David Amess MP [C] Southend West, Charlotte Atkins MP[L] Staffordshire Moorlands Mr Paul Burstow MP [LD] Sutton & Cheam, Mr Ronnie Campbell MP [L] Blyth Valley, Jim Dowd MP [L] Lewisham West, Anne Milton MP [C] Guildford, Dr Doug Naysmith MP [L] Bristol North West, Mike Penning MP [C] Hemel Hempstead, Dr Howard Stoate MP [L] Dartford, Dr Richard Taylor MP [IND] Wyre Fores

3. For Media Enquiries please call Luke Robinson on 020 7219 5693 or 07917 488 549

4. From the evidence submitted to the Committee it is believed exemptions will include a) Pubs that don't serve food b) Members clubs c) the Crown Estate  - including the Ministry of Defence, HM Prisons, Government Departments and Psychiatric institutions.

The text of Committee reports, minutes of evidence and press notices can be accessed through the Internet at Parliament's website www.parliament.uk/healthcom