One of the great pleasures of being tail-end Charlie in these debates is that one has the opportunity to sit through and listen to every contribution. The disadvantage is getting nudged to hurry up by those on the Front Bench. So, I have torn up my original speech, Madam Deputy Speaker, and will focus instead on the bits from the contributions of others that you did not have the opportunity to hear yourself.
There have been lots of interesting suggestions on how we can solve this problem, which we all agree needs to be addressed. I am a father of teenage children as well, and I share the concerns of my hon. Friend Steve Brine. I have experience of my own children’s friends using vapes—their friends, I hasten to add.
Obviously that is wholly inappropriate, but part of the problem in reaching the correct solution to this shared concern has been demonstrated by the richness of the debate we have had today.
All sorts of suggestions have been made. My non-exhaustive list indicates that some hon. Members said that we should ban flavours. Some of them said that we should ban all flavours; others said that we should ban only flavours that are targeted directly at young palates. There have been suggestions that we should ban disposable vapes, or that we should require bland packaging for vapes, although others suggested that the issue is not so much the packaging as the fact that they should be hidden behind closed doors. There has been a suggestion that we should increase the cost of vapes, but that was controversial—Mary Glindon rightly pointed out that for adults seeking to give up smoking who are on very limited means, the cost of vapes is a very relevant consideration.
It has been suggested that we should crack down on marketing. Others have suggested that we should increase education in schools, and there is a wider debate about schools policy and the use of loos in schools. There are other concerns, overriding all of these, about what impact our actions in relation to vapes—including single-use vapes—could have on the ability of adults to give up smoking, in order to continue the downward trend of smoking addiction in this country. These are serious and interrelated issues. If this debate were to result in a Division, there is no way that I could support the Labour motion, which focuses solely on banning branding and advertising for the young, because it may not go far enough. It may just focus on one little area, when the richness of the debate on both sides has highlighted how much wider and more complex the issue is.
As such, what we are really talking about is not so much our concerns about vaping, including by children: the main issue is, “How should we make our law?” It is a given on both sides of the Chamber that action should be taken, and the first speech on behalf of the Government, made by the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend Neil O'Brien made it clear that the Government have already acted and are intending to go further. In fact, the Secretary of State said at Health questions yesterday that the Government were looking to go further, particularly on single-use disposables. It is not a question of whether we are going to act: the question is, on what basis do we act? For my money, we should act on the evidence and not solely on anecdote, important though that is.
To wrap up my submissions, I will say that the Government are absolutely right to have put out a call for evidence. That evidence has now been obtained, last month, and the Government should take every second that is needed to assess it and come up with draft proposals, but not a second longer, because this is a very important issue. As a parent, I share the concerns that have been expressed across the House. We need to address this issue—we cannot waste time—but we should do so based on the evidence.