HC Deb 11 July 1956 vol 556 cc376-7
6. Mr. Gordon Walker

asked the Postmaster-General, in view of the decision that there is an incontrovertible statistical association between cigarette smoking and the incidence of lung cancer, whether he will make regulations under Section 4 (4) of the Television Act, 1954, prescribing that there shall be no tobacco advertisements within a quarter of an hour before and after children's programmes.

Dr. Hill

No, Sir.

Mr. Gordon Walker

In view of what the Minister of Health has said about the connection between smoking and cancer, does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that it really is indefensible that there should be incitement to smoking in close conjunction with children's programmes?

Dr. Hill

The programme companies have decided not to include advertisements for tobacco in these programmes. That seems to me to be reasonable. To go beyond that, bearing in mind the smoking advertisements in newspapers and on hoardings, would seem to me to be grandmotherly and petty.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Would it not be a contribution to better public relations and to the rather improving standard of advertising practice on commercial television if the programme contractors undertook not to exhibit their advertisements for cigarettes and tobacco in association with the children's programmes? Would it not be a contribution to better public and political relations if they were to give such an undertaking?

Dr. Hill

The programme companies have decided of their own free will not to include such advertisements in the programmes. What the right hon. Gentleman was suggesting to me was that I should bring an affirmative order before this House to modify the schedule to deal with this other quarter of an hour.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Has my right hon. Friend taken note of a discussion which took place yesterday at the British Medical Association and which seems to be a direct contradiction to the implications in this Question?

Dr. Hill

It is not strictly my field, but let nothing I say appear to controvert the acknowledged statistical relationship between heavy cigarette smoking and cancer of the lung.