“It is our duty and responsibility in this place to care for what we in the church call the “common good”—to care for the well-being of society and, not least, of young people.”- Bishop of Peterborough, 16/3/15
On 16th March the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in a debate on the motion to approve the ‘Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015’, to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes. The Bishop argued that the measure is necessary to safeguard the health of young people in the UK. The motion to approve the Regulations was passed.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I, too, was not planning to speak, but I am most grateful to the Minister for bringing this measure before us. I will make a very simple point. Packaging is designed to make the contents of the package attractive. This is about changing culture and changing the way that people think about tobacco and smoking. We all know the health arguments—they are indisputable and very clear. However, many young people, in particular, are still led astray and into dangerous behaviour—into self-harming of a very subtle but difficult sort.
It is our duty and responsibility in this place to care for what we in the church call the “common good”—to care for the well-being of society and, not least, of young people. It is very clear that making something look attractive will make it more appealing. Making it look, through its packaging, less attractive makes it less appealing. It is the simplest of all arguments. If people are allowed to dress up poison to look good, some people will take that poison. I ask noble Lords to please support this measure and oppose the amendment for the good of our young people and our society.