Mark Pawsey was elected Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Rugby in 2010.
Relationship with the Tobacco Industry
For information on other MPs and peers who took hospitality from JTI or its competitors, see page on Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians.
Voted Against Plain Packaging: ‘Plain Packaging Will Make it Easier for Counterfeiters’
In March 2015, the UK Parliament voted in favour of introducing tobacco plain packaging, which required tobacco to be sold from May 2017 in standardised green packaging bearing graphic warnings of the dangers, and brand name restricted to a standard size, font and colour.
Pawsey was one of the 113 MPs who voted against the proposed tobacco control measure. There is strong independent evidence that the policy will help discourage young people from taking up smoking, support quitting amongst smokers, and help those that have quit to avoid relapsing into smoking.
In 2012, when the UK government first proposed the tobacco measure, Pawsey was one of 34 Conservative MPs who wrote a letter to the UK Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, expressing their concern about the proposal. The MPs dismissed claims that the policy was evidence-based, claiming “that there is no reliable evidence”, that the policy would threaten UK jobs and increase illicit trade, and that it would infringe on Intellectual Property right. The MPs also questioned whether this policy would act as a precedent for other products like alcohol, fast food and chocolate.
The MPs' arguments align with the arguments put forward by the tobacco industry in opposition to the tobacco control measure. Our page on Plain Packaging in the UK provides further detail on the tobacco industry strategies, tactics and arguments used to stop this policy from being passed into law.
In 2012 Pawsey set up, and became Chair, of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Packaging Manufacturing Industry. Packaging manufacturers have been staunchly opposed to plain packaging. One of objectives of this APPG is “to address issues facing the industry from regulation” In September 2013, Pawsey asked Bob Blackman MP, a vocally supporter of plain packaging, in Parliament:
“Is my hon.. Friend aware of the concerns of cigarette packaging that standardised packaging will be much easier for counterfeiters to copy? There is thus a grave danger that the very people about whom he is concerned are more likely to be smoking more dangerous illicit cigarettes”.
Lobbying for E-Cigarettes as a Harm Reduction Tool
Pawsey has been an advocate of the use of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit smoking. In 2014, he established the APPG for E-Cigarettes “to examine and scrutinise this rapidly growing e-cigarette industry exploring the benefits the devices could have for people looking to quit smoking.
Pawsey’s support for e-cigarettes has not been without controversy. In December 2015, UK tabloid The Mirror reported that Pawsey had promoted the alleged health benefits of e-cigarettes in Parliament, without disclosing that he had been treated to hospitality worth £1,650 by Japan Tobacco International, the manufacturer of UK e-cigarette brand E-Lites.
- For more information on JTI’s investments in e-cigarettes, [E-Cigarettes: Japan Tobacco International| click here]].
In May 2016, Pawsey was a speaker at the ‘Where next for vaping’ event, organised by right-wing think tank Institute of Economic Affairs, which has received funding from the tobacco industry in the past. Other speakers at the event included Christopher Snowdon, and Totally Wicked, an UK e-cigarette company which unsuccessfully challenged the European Tobacco Products Directive.
- All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for E-Cigarettes
- Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians
- Japan Tobacco International
- E-Cigarettes: Japan Tobacco International
- Harm Reduction
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Christopher Snowdon
Profile of Pawsey on UK Parliament website.
- M. Pawsey, Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK Sources, House of Commons Register of Members’ Financial Interests, 14 October 2015, accessed October 2017
- Press Association, Stricter cigarette packaging rules come into force in UK, The Guardian, 19 May 2017, accessed October 2017
- Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015- 11 Mar 2015 at 17:53, The Public Whip, undated, accessed October 2017
- Department of Health, Impact Assessment opinion: Standardised packaging of tobacco products (Final), 13 February 2015, accessed October 2017
- C. Chantler, Report of the independent review undertaken by Sir Cyril Chantler, April 2014, accessed October 2017
- Staff Reporter, Metcalfe and JDP slam plans for fags in brown wrappers, Your Thurrock, 20 August 2012, accessed October 2017
- M. Pawsey, Mark Pawsey MP takes on Chairmanship of a Parliamentary Group, 17 May 2012, accessed October 2017
- T. Corbin, APPG for packaging industry officially reformed, Packaging News, 24 July 2017, accessed October 2017
- Register of All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Packaging Manufacturing Industry, 30 July 2015, accessed October 2017
- Hansard, Commons Debate: Tobacco Products (Plain Packaging), Westminster Hall, 3 September 2013, accessed October 2017
- M. Pawsey, Mark sets up new group in Parliament to support e-cigarette users, 28 November 2014, accessed October 2014
- M. Smith, Tory MP heaps praise on e-cigarettes after vaping firm treats him to £1,600 trip to Rugby World Cup, the Mirror, 16 December 2015, accessed October 2017
- J. Doward, Health groups dismayed by news ‘big tobacco’ funded rightwing thinktanks, The Observer, 1 June 2013, accessed October 2017