On 13th November 2018 Lord Vaux of Harrowden asked the Government ‘whether they have any plans to restrict or ban the advertising or sale of flavoured nicotine vaping fluids.’ The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a follow-up question, which is in context below:
Baroness Thornton (Lab): The noble Lord, Lord Vaux, asked a legitimate Question about the flavoured nicotine substitutes that are on sale. If the Minister believes that we might see the emergence of vape flavours such as unicorn milk and rocket popsicles—which can only be designed to appeal to young people—can he confirm that the Government have plans for dealing with that?
Lord O’Shaughnessy: I am not sure who unicorn milk would appeal to—maybe my five year-old, but she is not smoking yet. Seriously, the point here is about advertising. It is quite right that they cannot be advertised to promote them but they can be advertised for public health reasons. They are incredibly effective at stopping people smoking. As I have said, we are not seeing the kind of abuse and the epidemic of youth usage that we have seen in the States, but we are alert to any signs that that may be the case.
“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.
On 20th November 2013, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Children and Families Bill. He spoke in favour of amendments to the Bill that would ban smoking in cars when children are present, and also in relation to measures to standardise the packaging of cigarettes.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I will speak very briefly. Over the years I have been attracted by most vices, but never to smoking, so in the circumstances it is easy to speak against it. I will add that it is not just a domestic issue. The noble Lord says that he has an interest in BAT. What astonishes me is the way in which the growing awareness in this country of the dangers of smoking seems to be so slowly taken up in the developing world. We have a moral need, not only in relation to our own children but to the developing world, to make clear the dangers of smoking. It really is a global issue. It behoves particularly the wealthier countries—not least if the interests of big business are engaged, as undoubtedly they are, or those of the Exchequer—to give a proper lead. I think these amendments do just that.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): …The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester rightly suggested that this is a global issue. I agree. We are, however, considered to be a leader in tobacco control internationally. The World Health Organisation has assessed us to be number one in Europe in this area, and through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control we share this good practice as much as we can…