Chris Proctor, Head of Science and Regulation, British American Tobacco
Paul Kenny, Regional Secretary, London Region, GMB
Owen Tudor, Senior Policy Officer, Trade Union Congress
Professor Konrad Jamrozik, Imperial College, London
Geof Kaley, Chairman, Computer Cab and Member of Joint Radio Taxi Association
Kan Grover, Scrutiny Manager, GLA
Penny Housley, Committee Administrator, GLA
Apologies and Chair’s Announcements
There were none.
Declarations of Interest
Angie Bray declared a non-pecuniary interest as she was a smoker. Jennette Arnold and Louise Bloom commented that they were non-smokers but had smoked in the past.
Jennette Arnold declared a non-pecuniary interest as she was a member of GMB.
Evidentiary Session 4
The Chair welcomed to the Committee Chris Proctor, Head of Science and Regulation, British American Tobacco, Paul Kenny, Regional Secretary, London Region, GMB, Owen Tudor, Senior Policy Officer, Trade Union Congress, Professor Konrad Jamrozik, Imperial College, London and Geof Kaley, Chairman, Computer Cab and Member of Joint Radio Taxi Association
Chris Proctor, Head of Science and Regulation, British American Tobacco, made a brief presentation to the Committee. Mr Proctor stated that it was clear that active smoking was a cause of various diseases, including lung cancer, coronary heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The Committee heard that statistical studies showed that the risks were higher in groups that, started smoking earlier, smoked for more years and smoke more cigarettes per day. Mr Proctor explained that this, scientifically, meant that there was a dose response relationship, where the more smoke a person was exposed, to the greater the risk.
The Committee heard that Mr Proctor considered that the big scientific question was if what was known about active smoking could be extrapolated to passive smoking and he advised that early studies concluded that this was not the case. Mr Proctor explained that, all though the smoke active and passive smokers were exposed to was coming from the same place, the chemistry was varied in terms of the way the various substances in the smoke had their concentrations relative to one another. He added that non-smokers were exposed to a much lower amount of smoke than active smokers. Additionally, Mr Proctor claimed that the way smoke was inhaled differed between smokers and non-smokers. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that public health authorities had decided at the beginning of the 1980s that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) had to be looked at on its own. Mr Proctor reported to the Committee that one study had looked at the issue of non-smokers exposure to ETS and found that this was difficult as many substances found in ETS were found in air anyway, although there were some substances that were unique to ETS. The Committee heard that a lot of exposure studies had concluded that non-smokers were more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke in the home rather than the workplace or elsewhere. Mr Proctor stated that instances of lung cancer were 20 times greater in smokers than non-smokers. The Committee heard that Mr Proctor felt that when considering the risk of non-smokers contracting lung cancer through exposure to tobacco smoke it was important to consider the background population risk. Mr Proctor reported that the number of non-smokers who got lung cancer was very small compared to smokers and added that virtually all lung cancer cases were smokers.
The Committee heard from Mr Proctor that a relative risk of greater than 2 was considered to be more likely to reflect causation. Mr Proctor showed the Committee the results of the five of the largest studies undertaken on the link between spousal smoking and lung cancer. Mr Proctor reported that none of these studies had found a relative risk of 2 or above. The Committee heard that Mr Proctor felt that such studies would be more likely show an increase in risk of lung cancer in those whose spouse was a smokers for two reasons. The first of these was misclassification, where respondents had said they were non-smokers when in fact they were, or had been, smokers. The Committee heard that this would pollute the survey and show an increase in the risk of lung cancer, which was not down to exposure, but because of active smoking. Mr Proctor stated that the second reason studies may show that there was a link between spousal smoking and lung cancer was that non-smokers tended to be from lower socio-economic classes. He explained that those in lower socio-economic classes were more likely to have poorer diets, poorer houses and poorer access to health care.
Mr Proctor concluded that if there was a risk of lung cancer through exposure to tobacco smoke it was too small to measure with confidence. With regard to the threat from environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace Mr Proctor stated that he was in agreement with the Health and Safety Executive, who, he advised, had concluded that there was not enough data to show a convincing increase in risk. The Committee were advised by Mr Proctor that the increased risk of heart disease for smokers was much lower than the increased risk of lung cancer, the risk of heart disease to smokers being 3 or 4 times higher than non-smokers, opposed to 20 times higher risk of lung cancer. Based on this, Mr Proctor concluded that he would not expect to find measurable associations between ETS exposure and heart disease.
Mr Proctor advised that British American Tobacco (BAT) concluded that there was little data on the link between ETS and cancers other than lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Committee heard from Mr Proctor that BAT acknowledged that ETS could exacerbate adult asthma. The Committee heard that BAT also acknowledged that ETS could exacerbate childhood asthma but Mr Proctor stated that the data available did not suggest that ETS was a causation factor. Mr Proctor claimed that the data on the effect of ETS on the respiratory system in children, with symptoms such as coughs, wheezes, bronchitis and middle ear syndrome, was conclusive enough to warrant public health education not to smoke around children, in particularly young children. The Committee heard from Mr Proctor that the data available indicated an increase in risk of infant death syndrome from ETS, he added that it had not been concluded if this was due to maternal smoking or exposure to ETS following the birth. Mr Proctor stated that BAT felt that public health education should not to smoke when pregnant or around young children.
Mr Proctor concluded that British American Tobacco (BAT) considered that the data available suggested that any link between chronic diseases and ETS was too small to measure with any confidence. BAT also considered that there was data which was more suggestive of a variety of increased risks to young children from ETS and considered that ETS could exacerbate pre-existing conditions, such as asthma. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that British American Tobacco did not believe that people should be allowed to smoke indiscriminately and considered that where smoking was allowed meaningful efforts should be made to reduce exposure to ETS. The Committee heard that BAT supported reasonable smoking policies, including restrictions and the effective use of ventilation. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that BAT was impressed by the steps taken by the UK hospitality industry and felt that the work of the Charter Group was a sensible and effective approach. Mr Proctor concluded his opening remarks by stating that BAT was in favour of public education to smokers to encourage courtesy to others, such as asthmatics and about not smoking around children.
The Committee heard that none of the studies which Mr Proctor had referred to during his presentation had been funded by the tobacco industry. Mr Proctor stated that the studies he had referred to were from organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the US National Cancer Institute. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that were a couple of studies on Heart disease area which were funded by tobacco industry but he had not shown these.
Mr Proctor stated that he was not surprised by the statistics produced by the Consumers’ Association at a previous meeting of the Committee ,which showed that a majority of smokers and non-smokes believed that there were health risks linked to passive smoking. Mr Proctor felt that this was because the Government and a variety of public health bodies had said, in public, that passive smoking caused a variety of diseases. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that the Department of Health had undertaken a survey of public attitudes and found that a quarter of the population thought that passive smoking caused diabetes when in fact no data ever has suggested this. Mr Proctor concluded that he did not think that the science supported the link between passive smoking and various diseases but this had become the public view.
The Committee asked why British American Tobacco (BAT) financially supported pub and restaurant trade associations. Mr Proctor responded that BAT did not do so directly but did indirectly fund the Charter Group through the Tobacco Manufactures Association. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that BAT considered that the Approved Code of Practice was too restrictive and did not take into account how variable situations in London are. The Committee heard that BAT considered that the exciting thing about the Public Places Charter was that this was a commitment from both the government and the hospitality industry to work together on practical solutions. Mr Proctor stated that the Public Places Charter should be favoured over the ACOP as the Charter involved getting the hospitality industry to tackle the issue in the most effective way, with checks and balances provided by government to make sure progress was being made.
Mr Proctor stated that he felt that the hospitality industry staff should be made aware of issues surrounding ETS. He added that as venues get better through ventilation and/or separation, exposure to staff should be reduced. Mr Proctor concluded that there were practical steps that could be taken without resorting to complete prohibition, which he felt was not sensible on scientific grounds and would not work.
Mr Proctor refuted the suggestion that British American Tobacco’s main concern in the debate on smoking in public places was that if smoking was further restricted, there would be reduced tobacco sales and the company would loose profits. Mr Proctor advised the Committee that there was variable data on the relationship between smoking bans and consumption levels. For example, in Britain, where there had been progressively stricter bans on smoking in the workplace, there was no evidence to show that consumption had fallen as a result, whilst there were studies in Australia which showed that there had been a slight reduction in consumption following smoking restriction, reported Mr Proctor. The Committee heard that Mr Proctor considered the public policy issue was whether it was best to bring in prohibitions to force people to stop smoking, which led to further issues such as prohibitions on fatty foods to stop people eating too much, or if education was the best method, to help people to make up their minds.
The Committee heard the British American Tobacco (BAT) did not dispute that smoking tobacco was an indoor pollutant. Chris Proctor advised the Committee that BAT considered that the best way of dealing with this was to look at practical solutions and this was why BAT supported the Public Places Charter. Mr Proctor stated that BAT also considered that it needed to work with government on the best ways to inform smokers to be courteous and to not smoke around children
Chris Proctor advised the Committee that British American Tobacco (BAT) wanted to reduce the health impact of smoking tobacco and felt that it was important in partnership with politicians to look at ways of achieving this. Mr Proctor stated that he thought that it was critically important to stop children smoking and this was why BAT was suggested raising the age limit for purchasing tobacco from 16 to 18 and investing in identity cards for children. The Committee were advised that BAT was investing in developing cigarettes which reduced the health risks. Mr Proctor stated that BAT had found to form a partnership with government as the tobacco industry had a bad image and was it was seen as not right that they should contribute to the debate but he felt that the tobacco industry should be involved. The Committee heard that BAT considered it important for the tobacco industry and the government to work in partnership to look for a practical way forward.
The Committee asked how British American intended to publicise the position it held, that people should not smoke indiscriminately, especially around children. The Committee was informed by Chris Proctor that the information which British American Tobacco (BAT) had submitted to the Committee was available on the BAT website. Mr Proctor also advised that BAT recognised that there was a need to act in consultation with the GLA and other authorities. Mr Proctor explained that the tobacco industry was in a difficult position and used the example of when it had ran advertisements not to smoke on MTV and had been accused of trying to get children to smoke. Mr Proctor acknowledged that many children in London lived below the poverty line and would not have access to the internet and other media sources and stated that other forms of communicating the message not to smoke to children should be adopted, through schools, local education authorities and GPs was given as an example. The Committee heard that BAT would be willing to be involved in this, if this was what those involved wanted.
The Committee heard opening remarks from Professor Konrad Jamrozik, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Imperial College, London. Professor Jamrozik advised the Committee that he was a medical graduate and had been working on tobacco and the issue of the epidemiology of diseases caused by tobacco since 1979. Professor Jamrozik stated he was speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Public Medicine, Royal College of Physicians.
Professor Jamrozik stated that the evidence that something needed to be done regarding ETS was scientifically compelling. Professor Jamrozik also suggested that the principle of being prudent suggested that there was a need to move faster on smoke free policies in London, he added that Britain was lagging behind places such as certain states in North America and Australia, in terms of smoke free policies. Professor Jamrozik advised the Committee that the need to introduce smoke free policies was supported by five factors. The first of these factors was children, who were an important consideration when looking at smoking restriction. Professor Jamrozik advised that restrictions would not only limit the amount of exposure to ETS to children but would it was also known that smoking restrictions helped people stop smoking entirely, this would reduce the number of occasions children saw adults smoke. The Committee heard that the second factor was the that there was an issue surrounding women in the early stages of pregnancy, or who did not know that they were pregnant, whom were involuntary exposed to passive smoke. Professor Jamrozik stated that the third factor was that there was an issue around heart and lung disease, both as a causal and exacerbating factor. The Committee heard from Professor Jamrozik that the fourth factor was non-smokers as the majority of adults in Britain were non-smokers and there were health risks and issues of inconvenience and nuisance. Professor Jamrozik reported that the fifth factor he considered to be a factor in the need to introduce smoke free policies was smokers themselves. He stated that many smokers supported smoke free policies as many smokers wished to stop smoking because of the health risks, because they recognised that smoking was publicly frowned upon and because they did not wish to encourage their children to smoke.
Professor Jamrozik advised the Committee that he considered that the factors he had described translated into ease of implementation of smoke free policies. He considered that with adequate warning, discussion and signage there would be no problem in enforcing the restrictions and this would prepare the ground for further smoke free restrictions. Professor Jamrozik stated that the Faculty of Public Health Medicine would like the Committee to support the medium term goal of comprehensive smoke free policies and identify a number of reasonable stages for reaching this goal.
The Committee noted that Professor Jamrozik considered that there was no doubt that compared to active smokers the individual non-smoker who was passively exposed had a much smaller extra risk of disease caused by smoking. Professor Jamrozik reported that those who had never smoked who were exposed to passive smoke had an increased risk of lung cancer of 25-30% compared to smokers who were not exposed to passive smoke, while smokers had an increased risk of 2000%. The Committee heard that it was important to not only consider the risk to individuals but to also consider how many people were exposed. Professor Jamrozik advised the Committee that there was a formula used in epidemiology to work about the proportionable cases in a population that may be attributed to a particular factor. Professor Jamrozik compared passive smoking to asbestos poisoning, an issue which he reported regularly exercised public health authorities. The Committee heard from Professor Jamrozik that the risk from passive smoking was higher than the risk from asbestos, maybe a hundredfold higher. Professor Jamrozik also advised that there was a need to consider the issue of involuntary exposure. He stated that much work had gone into removing involuntary exposure to asbestos and yet passive smoking was, in the main, a risk that was assumed involuntarily. The Committee heard that Professor Jamrozik considered that when looking at public health policy it was important to consider the magnitude of risk, the proportion of people exposed and the ethical issue of if the risk was assumed involuntarily.
Professor Jamrozik stated that cardiac patients, pregnant women and other affected groups, while going about their daily activities, such as going to a workplace, a hospitality venue, or a public transport venue, were exposed to passive smoke was an entirely avoidable hazard in the environment. Professor Jamrozik stated that the view of a public health physician was that prevention was better than cure. He added that if it was reasonable to make an environment smoke free, then it should be smoke free, as the best form of prevention was not to release the hazard in the first place.
The Committee heard that Professor Jamrozik considered that the simpler path in terms of policy introduction for smoking restrictions was to look at venues, first of all this should be workplaces outside of the hospitality industry. He added that great progress had been made in certain states in the USA and Australia to introduce smoke free policies in the hospitality industry.
The Committee asked if Professor Jamrozik was seeking a complete ban on smoking. He replied that internationally where virtually all indoor places where the public has access to are smoke free people began to think seriously about no smoking in public places at all. Professor Jamrozik accepted that this was a radical proposition for London in 2001 but, in terms of serving the public health, banning smoking in all public places would do the most good. The Committee heard from Professor Jamrozik that this would mean that smoking would ultimately become a habit which adults indulged in private and this should be the long term goal.
The Committee asked if Professor Jamrozik accepted the figure of 2 as the epidemiological figure where factors became significant. Professor Jamrozik stated that he did not accept that the figure of two was the watershed between epidemiological certainty and uncertainty. He stated that he would accept that the nearer to 1.0 that a study came to then one should become more cautious and look for other explanations. The Committee heard that there was a well established set of rules for making a judgement in epidemiology. The Committee heard that with regards to the link between passive smoking and lung cancer and heart disease 4 of the 6 criteria regularly used were fulfilled
The Committee advised Professor Jamrozik that none of the studies that they had been alerted to reached the figure of 2 on the scale of significance and asked if it was unreasonable to change public policy based on this data. Professor Jamrozik responded that the figure of 2, which had been quoted, related to certainty and this was different to statistical significance. He added that in a sufficiently large study 1.5 could be significant. Public Health significance comes from combination of size of risk and numbers exposed and also if the risk was assumed voluntarily.
The Committee asked if there was a study on the relative risks from passive smoking and asbestos. Professor Jamrozik advised that the calculation he had referred to came from the work of Sir Richard Doll, which not a direct comparison of asbestos and passive smoking but was a comparison of the risks of the two exposure as assessed in separate studies. He informed the Committee that had drawn the analogy to help the Committee consider the scale of the risk and to point out that public and policy makers had become very exercised with regards to asbestos but it was likely that someone exposed to passive smoking assumed a higher risk. Professor Jamrozik summarised that the judgement of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine on the risk from passive smoking by stating that, there was a significant risk, that it was a risk shared by many people, that it was an involuntary assumed risk and therefore this was an appropriate subject for policy response.
Professor Jamrozik advised the Committee that the issue of using technological solutions to deal with the risk from passive smoking had been looked ad behalf on Ministerial Task Force on Passive Smoking in Western Australia. The Committee heard that the conclusion of this had been that ventilation was expensive, impractical in hospitality industry (due to high turnover of staff) and had high recurrent costs due to the maintenance required.
The Committee heard opening remarks from Paul Kenny, Regional Secretary, London Region, GMB. Mr Kenny explained that the union had many members who operated in the leisure industry. He reported that for some time members of GMB had been flagging up to their union the severe problems they were encountering at work due to exposure to tobacco smoke. Mr Kenny stated that members in the leisure industry had no opportunity to negotiate a smoking policy at work and that staff were directly exposed to tobacco smoke from customers for up to 8 –10 hours. The Committee heard that GMB had conducted a survey of its 5000 staff in the leisure industry who were considered to be front line staff, this included bar staff and croupiers, who all worked in direct contact with the public in smoking areas. Mr Kenny reported that the results of this survey clearly showed that these people have real concerns about exposure to tobacco smoke , they were suffering from eye complaints, chest complaints, breathing difficulties. The Committee heard that many staff had their work stations around 12 inches from customers who were smoking, many of the rooms they worked in had no natural ventilation and staff had to work in these conditions for 8-10 hours with small brakes. Mr Kenny considered that many customers were not sensitive to the effect their smoke had on staff and smoke often blew directly at staff. The Committee heard that where it occurs that staff and employers cannot agree smoking policies to try and achieve a balance of the interests of smokers and non-smokers there were no regulations to enforce clean air.
Owen Tudor, Senior Policy Officer, Trade Union Congress reported that his organisation was concerned that the voluntary approach, as reflected in the Public Places Charter, would not deliver the changes that people were seeking. He suggested that the number of pubs taking up the charter, which he reported at under 30%, was not a good sign for the voluntary approach, particularly as, as a minimum requirement, a pub only needed to put up sign to say smoking was allowed throughout to comply with the Charter. Mr Tudor reported that he was not aware of any independent economic research that showed that a ban on smoking had led to a fall in takings. Mr Tudor stated that he felt that the pub trade was confining to catering for the minority who smoke and this meant that non-smokers were avoiding these places. The Committee heard from Mr Tudor that in California, where smoking bans had been introduced, the number of customers had gone up and this had economic benefits.
The Committee asked what experience GMB had of employers consulting with their staff on smoking policies, as recommended when introducing the Public Places Charter. Paul Kenny, GMB, reported that there had been a mixed response. Some cases, particularly chain pubs, had listened to the concerns of their staff, while other establishments had not, Mr Kenny reported that had written to all casinos asking for comments on the issue of staff exposure to tobacco smoke and had not received one response. The Committee heard that GMB would like the Assembly to recommend to the government to change the approach from self regulatory to regulatory, Mr Kenny added that he believed that some employers would not change their approach unless forced to.
The Committee asked if Health and Safety officers could raise issues relating to passive smoke in their work place. Paul Kenny, GMB, responded that Health and Safety officers did get involved in the issue but the problem was that it was currently acceptable for someone to be presented with a place of work where they would be exposed to other people’s smoke 8-10 hours a day. Mr Kenny stressed that it was important to recognise that pubs and other hospitality venues were places of work as well as places of leisure. The Committee heard that Mr Kenny considered that there was a difficulty in translating smoking policies like those which were negotiated in many workplaces to hospitality industry, as there were employers in the hospitality sector who considered that such policies would damage their business. Mr Kenny advised the Committee that given the choice of the Public Places Charter or the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) GMB would support the ACOP.
Paul Kenny, GMB, that he wanted people to go to work in a health environment and that he wanted people to go to work without the fear of contracting diseases due to exposure to other people’s smoke. Mr Kenny reported that the policy GMB had arrived at the previous year was that it would seek a ban on smoking in public places, this was tempered with the realisation that there was a need to move towards a better education policy and a better clean air policy. He acknowledged that there was a need take as many people with the policy as possible. He considered that somewhere down the line people may, on health grounds, decide that there was a banning issue. Mr Kenny concluded that a ban was an emotive issue and stated that in practical reality what he was asking for was the strongest form of regulation to ensure that safe working environment for his Members comes about. He added that he did not believe that this would come about through self-regulation.
Paul Kenny, GMB, advised the Committee that GMB represented 5000 frontline staff in the hospitality industry and more in the industry as a whole. Mr Kenny reported that he thought that about 200,000 people worked in the sector as a whole.
The Committee asked for Mr Kenny’s consideration on the amount of mobility of staff in the hospitality industry. Mr Kenny responded that there was a cross section, some people worked in the industry for the whole of their working life while others were only in the industry for a short term. He stressed however, that there were a lot of people who built careers in the hospitality industry and added that in particular areas there were very skilled jobs.
Paul Kenny, GMB, advised the Committee that GMB had undertaken co-sponsorship of a conference with the tobacco company Philip Morris on clear air in the workplace two years previously. The Committee heard that while many employers had attended the conference little had taken place as a result. Mr Kenny advised that the GMB acknowledged that there was a problem and a need to make sure that people in the hospitality industry had a safe working life. The Committee heard that GMB considered that if dialogue did not work and this appeared to be the case, Mr Kenny reminded Members that he had written to 400 casino employers and had no response, then there was a need for regulation.
Owen Tudor, Senior Policy Officer, Trade Union Congress (TUC) advised the Committee that he was a member of the Health and Safety Commission and the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council but was not speaking to the Committee on their behalf. Mr Tudor commented that he thought that it was important for the Committee to note that some elevated risks look quite small when looking at large populations a lot of people would be affected. The Committee were advised by Mr Tudor that there were 6.7million trade union members in trade unions affiliated to the TUC, of whom just over 10% were based in London, this was 700,000 workers. Mr Tudor stated that there was evidence to demonstrate that the TUC represented the views of non-members. The Committee heard from Mr Tudor that the TUC’s objective in this area was to protect the health and welfare of working people. Owen Tudor, TUC, advised the Committee that Members of the TUC had repeatedly reported that they wished to work in smoke free environment. Mr Tudor stressed to the Committee that the TUC was emphatically not anti-smoker, and in fact represented many workers in the tobacco industry.
Owen Tudor, TUC, spoke in favour of the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), he stated that the ACOP would be there to explain how employers should meet the duties they had to carry out in existing legislation. The Committee heard that Mr Tudor felt that the ACOP was a proportionate response, particularly as it contained the important principle of reasonable practicability. Mr Tudor felt that it was important not to have different health and safety rules for different sectors. The Committee also heard that the ACOP was also concerned with the position of vulnerable groups, such as those with chronic asthma, and the responsibilities required through the Disability Discrimination Act. Mr Tudor stated that he felt that the ACOP would be of benefit to the leisure industry by providing clarity and the opportunity to reach more customers.
The Committee asked at what stage the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) was currently at. Owen Tudor, TUC, advised that the Health and Safety Commission had been asked by the Government to consider the implications of the ACOP for small businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry and stated that this was currently being pursued. Mr Tudor reported that he expected that the Health and Safety Commission to submit a revised proposal for the ACOP in summer/autumn 2002 with implementation in summer 2003 but stressed that this was speculative. In response to a question from the Committee on why the ACOP was based on welfare rather health Mr Tudor responded that if the ACOP was to be based on health there would be no choice but to ban smoking in the workplace. Mr Tudor stated that he considered that ventilation would be sufficient to deal with welfare issues relation to environmental tobacco smoke but was unsure if this would be case on health issues.
Mr Tudor advised that members of the TUC with severe asthma reported that they found it particularly difficult to work in smokey environments and sometimes felt that they were forced to work in these conditions. Mr Tudor accepted that those with particularly severe asthma would be unable to work in smoke filled atmospheres but considered that there were many people with asthma who worked in such atmospheres. Mr Tudor acknowledged that the first choice of job for an asthma sufferer would not be working in a smoke filled environment but stated that many people, especially in the hospitality sector, were not working in their first choice job and many had no choice but to accept what was in fact their last choice job.
The Committee asked why Owen Tudor, TUC, thought that the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) had not been implemented. Mr Tudor responded that he felt that those who were resisting the ACOP were not aware that no new legislative measures were being proposed. He added that he thought that an ACOP was a flexible document as that measures different to those prescribed in the ACOP but which achieved the same ends would be accepted. The Committee heard that the ACOP set out the steps which employers needed to take to comply with legislation and should be seen as a management tool rather than instructions.
Owen Tudor, TUC, reported that the TUC did represent a substantial number of workers in the tobacco industry and would not support a ban on smoking. However, he reported that agreement had been reached amongst members of smoking restrictions and therefore the policies which were being put forward, including support for the Approved Code of Practice, were adhered to by tobacco industry workers.
The Committee heard opening remarks from Geof Kaley, Chairman, Computer Cab and Member of Joint Radio Taxi Association. Mr Kaley reported that he was directly representing 9000 taxi drivers and felt that he was also representing all the industry as there was no disagreement over the policy he was proposing. Mr Kaley explained that taxi drivers currently had no power to enforce non-smoking requests. The Committee heard that cabs did have partitions between the front and back but not always effective. Mr Kaley stated that non-smoking customers often did not like getting into a cab if the previous customer had been smoking. The Committee were advised by Mr Kaley that the Mayor was the regulator for London Taxis. Mr Kaley stated that for some years there had been a campaign for taxi drivers to have the right to decide if their cab was smoking or non-smoking. The Committee heard that it was proposed that cabs would have suitable signage outside displaying if they were smoking or non-smoking and when people telephoned for a radio cab they could choose which type of cab they required. Mr Kaley felt that this would benefit customer as well as drivers as they would either not be bothered by a taxi driver smoking or, if they were a smoker, would know that they would be welcome to smoke. Mr Kaley advised the Committee that the policy had been close to being implemented previously but the then Minister responsible had had concerns over how the policy would be enforced. Mr Kaley likened the enforcement concern to situations where customers refused to pay which drivers had to deal with, and considered that on the whole the vast majority of customers would comply. Mr Kaley concluded by stating that he though that the policy of drivers deciding if their cabs were to be smoking or non-smoking made sense. He added that of all the complicated arguments surrounding smoking restrictions this was one area where a solution which would benefit all parties could be found quickly.
The Committee asked Mr Kaley if he felt that taxi drivers really wanted further regulations. Mr Kaley responded that in the case of designating cabs as smoking or non-smoking taxi drivers would welcome further regulations as this provided choice. In response to a question from the Committee on how drivers would deal with non-compliance of a smoking ban Mr Kaley responded that drivers often had to deal with awkward customers and the way in which they dealt with this was dependent on the situation.
The Committee asked if any of the witnesses would like to make further points.
Chris Proctor, Head of Science and Regulation, British American Tobacco, responded that he could not imagine how the risk from asbestos could be much lower than the risk from passive smoke, as indicated by Professor Konrad Jamrozik, Imperial College, London. Mr Proctor stated that he would be interested to look at the work referred to by Professor Jamrozik.
Paul Kenny, GMB, stated that he was pleased that the issue of hospitality workers being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke was being aired in public and stressed that he did not believe that smokers should have the right to blow their smoke at people who where at their work station.