HC Deb 11 June 1968 vol 766 cc13-4
11. Dr. John Dunwoody

asked the Minister of Health if he will state when he intends to introduce legislation to ban cigarette coupons.

Mr. K. Robinson

I cannot say at present.

Dr. Dunwoody

Would my right hon. Friend at least confirm that he will be introducing legislation in the near future, without giving us any definite date? Would he go a little further, in view of the fact that over 30,000 people will die of lung cancer in this country this year, and start now a much bigger public health and educational campaign to try to get people off cigarette smoking?

Mr. Robinson

On the question of the campaign against cigarette smoking, the newly-constituted Health Education Council will be dealing with this matter in due course. As to the time of the legislation, my hon. Friend knows that it is not for me to decide. The statement which I made on 23rd October last stands.

Mr. Frederic Harris

While it is obviously important and invaluable for the Ministry to put over all the information it can by way of publicity to people warning them of the dangers of unnecessary smoking, may I ask what is the point of trying to ban their smoking if they so wish, since they can die in any way they wish?

Mr. Robinson

I have a responsibility to the House and the country for the promotion of health as well as the cure of disease.

Mr. Frederic Harris

You might as well ban everything.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell

Would my right hon. Friend see that any proposed Bill along these lines is put in the dustiest pigeon-hole in his Ministry and allowed to remain there?

Sir J. Rodgers

Would the right hon. Gentleman resist the temptation to interfere with the marketing methods used by the firms concerned of a product which is freely on sale?