HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 c3
3. Dr. David Kerr

asked the Minister of Health when he proposes to introduce legislation to ban cigarette coupons.

Mr. K. Robinson

As my hon. Friend knows, the timing of legislation is not for me.

Dr. Kerr

I suppose that I must say, "In thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply", but is he aware that his reply is not satisfactory? Does he realise that a number of us on this side of the House do not see the banning of cigarette coupons as the answer to this most complex problem of discouraging people from smoking? While we think that this is a very useful measure in indicating the Government's intentions towards cigarette smoking, can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the whole programme will be prosecuted with greater vigour than appears to be the case at the moment?

Mr. Robinson

When I discussed the possibility of a voluntary ban with the industry, I offered it a reasonable, indeed a generous, period for the winding up of existing schemes. Since the Government have announced their decision and the industry is on notice, I regard the winding up period as now running. Therefore, the timing of legislation is not perhaps as vital as it might otherwise have been.

Sir J. Rodgers

What evidence has the Minister that the giving of coupons by cigarette manufacturers increases the consumption of cigarettes?

Mr. Robinson

We had a considerable exchange at Question Time on a recent Monday on this matter, and I expressed my view that the giving of gifts—more gifts and better gifts the more cigarettes one smoked—prima facie suggested that it was an encouragement to smoke more.

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