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Tobacco Sales

Volume 167: debated on Wednesday 14 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on the number of retail shops licensed to sell tobacco.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs
(Mr. Eric Forth)

It is not necessary to be licensed to sell tobacco.

Is the Minister aware that the Prime Minister has given her full support to the Parents against Tobacco campaign? It is estimated that at least 50 per cent. of retailers are prepared to sell to children under age, and that as many as 500,000 under-age children are regular smokers of tobacco. What will he do to put pressure on local councils to take up the campaign when they are granting planning permission, or to put pressure on newsagents to refuse to sell tobacco to children under the age of 16? Will he support his Prime Minister by putting pressure on them?

The hon. Gentleman has answered his own question. There is an adequate law to protect children against those who seek to sell tobacco to them. The problem is one of enforcement. It is for all hon. Members to take up where appropriate with local authorities and the police the effective enforcement of the existing law, and I am sure that they will, aided by the excellent campaign.

Does the Minister accept the Department of Health's policy to reduce the consumption of tobacco?