HC Deb 11 July 1957 vol 573 c524
14. Mr. Hastings

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education what steps he is taking to ensure that senior pupils in schools are made acquainted with the latest conclusions of the Medical Research Council on the probable relationship between cigarette smoking and cancer of the lung.

Sir E. Boyle

My noble Friend has sent copies of the statement in the House on 27th June to local education authorities and to all independent schools. My noble Friend considers that it must be left to teachers themselves to decide how to make their senior pupils acquainted with these conclusions. He hopes, however, that they will in any case also encourage young people to use their own judgment on the choice of the best directions in which to spend their money.

Mr. Hastings

Cannot the Minister go a step further and make direct suggestions to the teachers—suggestions from the Ministry have a great effect on teachers—so that they may make sure that children leaving school at any rate know the up-to-date facts as to the relationship which is believed to exist between cigerette smoking and cancer of the lung and other diseases?

Sir E. Boyle

I quite agree that teachers should acquaint pupils with the facts, but how they do so is best left as their own responsibility. It would be a mistake for this advice to be too negative. The important thing, surely, is to point out the very wide range of choice which people have in our modern society, and it seems that the wider approach would obviously be the best one.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Could the hon. Gentleman approach the Central Council for Health Education with a view to a rather more lively presentation of the facts, about which it knows a great deal?

Sir E. Boyle

I will consider that, Chapter 13 of the well-known Handbook on Health Education will be brought up to date before it is reprinted.