PML’s Response to the DH’s Consultation on the future of tobacco control, 8 Sept. 2008
Philip Morris Limited (“
is pleased to take this opportunity to provide a response tothe Department of Health’s (the “
”) Consultation on the Future of Tobacco Control (31May 2008) (the “
The issues raised in the Consultation Paper cover a wide spectrum of matters posing stark andcontrasting visions for the “
future of tobacco control
” in the United Kingdom. On the onehand, the DH presents a future that incorporates “
the potential of a harm reduction approachin tobacco control
By raising regulation of alternative tobacco products and other aspectsof product regulation as a valid strand of tobacco policy, the DH offers a compelling vision of governmental tobacco policy that, in addition to appropriately maintaining its focus on preventing initiation and encouraging cessation, will address the reality that millions of adultsin the UK will continue to use tobacco products.On the other hand, the DH side-steps needed measures, including action to reduce youthsmoking that it has proposed for over 10 years, and raises new issues that lack solid evidence bases and are unlikely to foster harm reduction. In this vision of the future, the question presented -- stripped of rhetoric -- is whether to exclude tobacco from legitimate commerce inthe UK. Specifically, the DH proposes to ban the display of products at point of sale --- a practice described by the Department in 1998 and again in 2002 as perfectly legitimate for alegal consumer product – and suggests consideration of the radical step of plain packaging.While we support comprehensive, effective regulation of the manufacturing, sale, marketingand use of tobacco products, we do not support regulation designed to prevent adults from buying and using tobacco products or to impose unnecessary impediments to the operation of the legitimate tobacco market. Regulation must be evidence based and should not raiseunintended consequences that are neither good for public health nor for the legitimatetobacco industry.The need for evidence based regulation is a central component of Government policy: “p
olicysolutions must be proportionate”
, “need to be evidence based, objective and rational,”
appropriate and fair,
tackle as directly as possible the specific market failures, public concerns and other socio-economic problems identified.
Also, in taking policydecisions, the Government must
“aim to ensure that all relevant evidence has beenconsidered and, where possible, quantified before it takes decisions on ris
Despite our strong disagreement on banning point of sale display and further consideration of plain packaging, we are hopeful that the DH will pursue its breakthrough on harm reductionand choose a future government tobacco policy based on a three-pronged approach:
Philip Morris Limited is the UK affiliate of Philip Morris International.
Consultation Paper at 5.
Better Regulation Commission,
Five Principles of Good Regulation
, available at http://www.berr.gov.uk/bre.
Better Regulation Commission,
Risk, Responsibility and Regulation – Whose Risk is it Anyway
at 17 (October 2006).
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman,
Principles of Good Administration
(27 March 2007)
Managing Risks to the Public: Appraisal Guidance
at 10 (June 2005)
Government’s Principles of Managing Risk to the Public