§ 44. Mr. Hastings
asked the Minister of Health what contribution, financial or otherwise, is being made by his Department in relation to research and propaganda on the connection between cancer of the lung and smoking.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Richard Thompson)
Cancer research at public expense is being undertaken by the Medical Research Council and within the National Health Service but it is not possible to say how much is spent on research into smoking and lung cancer. Copies of a report by the Council and of a statement made in the House on 27th June last year were sent to local health authorities with the request that they should publish in their campaigns on health education information about the risks of smoking. These campaigns attract 50 per cent. Exchequer grant.
§ Mr. Hastings
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the number of new cases of cancer of the lung is steadily increasing in this country, as indeed it is in other countries, and that the public really want to know whether tobacco in any form is safe, and if so, how much they can use? Will he consider preparing a leaflet with the imprint of the Ministry which can be given to the inquiring public by local authorities?
§ Mr. Thompson
My right hon. and learned Friend will shortly be asking local health authorities for reports on the action taken in this matter during the year since the Medical Research Council's report was originally sent to them and for their comments and suggestions generally. I will certainly bear in mind the hon. Gentleman's suggestion for further guidance.
§ Dr. Summerskill
Can the Parliamentary Secretary say how far his Department is co-operating with the Ministry of Education to educate boys about the danger of acquiring this habit?
§ Mr. Thompson
We believe that the main publicity effort should be directed at the young and should be made by the local health authorities, which are primarily responsible for health education in 875 their areas and are equipped to provide it. I have every reason to believe that the co-operation is good.