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Smoking (Children)

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the voluntary agreement on tobacco advertising and sponsorship being circumvented by the practice of tobacco companies paying film companies for the placing of brand name tobacco products in films likely to be televised and watched by children; and what steps he will take to stop this practice.

We have recently received representations on the question of "product placement", as this practice is known, from ASH and Parents Against Tobacco quoting examples of American-produced films shown in the United Kingdom. We do not have any evidence that this practice is being used by the United Kingdom tobacco industry but if such evidence emerges we will raise the matter with it in the context of our system of voluntary agreements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the illegal sale of single cigarettes to children; and if he will take steps to prohibit the practice of selling cigarettes from opened packs.

We have received three representations on this subject, two of them from hon. Members.The sale of any tobacco product to a child under 16 years of age is already illegal. My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is considering ways in which the relevant legislation can be strengthened.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to bring in legislation to tackle the problem of children smoking; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.The Government are very concerned about children smoking and the way in which the law on the sale of tobacco to children is being flouted. The steps which might be taken to strengthen the law in this area are under review.