Stephen Hepburn

This page was last edited on at

Stephen Hepburn has been the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Jarrow (Tyne and Wear, England) since May 1997.

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Accepted Tobacco Hospitality

In May 2014 Hepburn accepted a ticket to the Chelsea Flower show worth £702.00 from Japan Tobacco International (JTI).1
For more information on the tobacco industry tactic to offer hospitality to those with influence over the passage of tobacco laws, go to Tobacco Industry Hospitality for UK Politicians.

Co-Hosted Illicit Tobacco Event

In July 2017, Hepburn and fellow MPs Ian Paisley and David Morris co-hosted an anti-illicit tobacco event with JTI in a Dining Room at Parliament.2

The event was attended by several MPs, including John Whittingdale.3

The event presented JTI as the victim of illicit tobacco trade. This is contrary to evidence that shows that tobacco companies, including JTI, have facilitated the smuggling of their own products for decades. For more information, see Tobacco Smuggling and JTI Involvement in Smuggling.

Opposed Tobacco Control Measures in the UK

Voted Against Amendments to the Children and Families Bill 2014

In February 2014, Hepburn was one of only 24 MPs who voted against tabled amendments to the Children and Families Bill which would enable the UK government to:4

1. Introduce regulations requiring plain packaging for tobacco products;

2. Introduce regulations making it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to children under 18;

3. Make it an offence for an adult to buy cigarettes for anyone under the age of 18 (proxy purchasing).56

The Bill passed with 453 MPs voting in favour of the amendments.

Against Plain Packaging

Hepburn was one of the 50 MPs who wrote to then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in 2012 expressing serious concerns over plain packaging proposals.7

“There is no reliable evidence that plain packaging will have any public health benefit; no country in the world has yet to introduce it. However, such a measure could have extremely negative consequences elsewhere. The proposal will be a smuggler’s charter. … this policy threatens more than 5,500 jobs directly employed by the UK tobacco sector, and over 65,000 valued jobs in the associated supply chain. … Given the continued difficult economic climate, businesses should not be subjected to further red tape and regulation.”

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Profile of Stephen Hepburn on TheyWorkForYou website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. House of Commons Publications, Register of Members’ Financial Interests – 9 February 2015 report, UK Parliament website, 9 February 2015, accessed August 2018
  2. JTI, JTI calls on government to take a stand against illegal tobacco,, 10 July 2017, accessed August 2018

  3. Attendees “were walked through how JTI helps to support UK law enforcement and Trading Standards in cracking down on illegal tobacco sales through the company’s test purchasing of goods across Britain, working with media to raise awareness, and assisting overseas authorities in Poland and other eastern European countries in tackling the illegal manufacture of cigarettes”.
  4. Hansard, Children and Families Bill (Programme No. 3), House of Commons Debates, 10 February 2014, UK Parliament website, accessed August 2018
  5. S. MacGuill. House of Enablers – Does anything now go for tobacco control in the UK? Euromonitor International, 11 February 2014
  6. Smokefree Action Coalition. SFAC welcomes Parliament’s support for a package of measures to reduce smoking and protect children. Smokefree Action Coalition News, 10 February 2014
  7. M. Barrett, 34 Conservative MPs write to Andrew Lansley to express “serious concerns” about plain tobacco packaging, Conservative Home, 2 July 2012, accessed August 2018