HC Deb 23 April 1971 vol 815 cc1555-94
(1) A person shall not sell, by retail or otherwise, cigarettes packed in a packet containing one hundred cigarettes or less unless the packet bears the statement—
'Warning by H.M. Government
Smoking can damage your health'
and the statement satisfies such requirements as are prescribed with respect to its place on the packet, size and colour and with respect to such other matters, if any, as are prescribed.
(2) A person shall not, except in prescribed cases, publish in a prescribed manner an advertisement for cigarettes unless the advertisement includes the statement—
'Every packet carries a Government health warning'
and the statement satisfies such requirements as are prescribed with respect to its place in the layout of the advertisement, size and colour and with respect to such other matters, if any, as are prescribed.
(3) Regulations may provide that subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall have effect with the substitution for the statement specified in that subsection of such other statement as may be prescribed.
(4) A person who contravenes the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction or conviction on indictment to a fine which in the case of a summary conviction shall not exceed £400; but regulations may provide that a person who publishes an advertisement in the course of his activities in a prescribed capacity shall not by virtue of this subsection be guilty of an offence in consequence of the publication—[Sir G. Nabarro.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

2.7 p.m.

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

Every aspect of this matter was comprehensively debated in Committee, as was every aspect of the many Amendments and other new Clauses which have been grouped with new Clause 3. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry), who has raised points of order, participated in all those debates.

At the outset I should simplify matters for my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite in this apparently complicated situation by giving a brief explanation of what has occurred. The Committee, unrepresentative of the whole House for it comprised only 16 Members—this is a national issue of great moment and evidently of interest to all 630 Members of this House—could not hear all the voices in what is largely a non-party political issue—namely, the extent to which the Executive should intervene in

Clause. It is a large subject and there are a lot of matters to be discussed. However, the hon. Member will have to leave it to the Chair. If the Chair feels that the debate is going too wide it will say so. Subject to that, the best advice which I can give is that the hon. Member should leave himself in the hands of the Chair.

the personal and individual habits of millions of people in this country who smoke cigarettes, tobacco, cigars and other tobacco products.

I take the view that it is proper for Parliament to legislate to prevent people poisoning and killing themselves. Although the sponsors of the Bill, who are men and women of all political parties in this House and who widely represent both medical and lay opinion, broadly embrace the original principles of the Bill, they have been vocal in saying to me that they have no great interest in trying to dissuade inveterate smokers of adult years continuing this habit, but rather to direct most of their attention to younger people and preventing them commencing the habit.

There is an exact analogy in this context, in that in 1955 I brought in clear air legislation based on the Beaver Report. This time I have sought to bring in antismoking legislation based on the commendable report of the Royal College of Physicians, called "Smoking and Health Now", which was published only a few months ago, and it is wrong for anybody in this House, or without it, to suggest that the Bill goes wider than the recommendations made by the Royal College of Physicians. In fact it follows altogether too closely, in my view, those recommendations, and were it possible for me to do so within the rules of order, and having regard to local government susceptibilities, I should have preferred a much wider and even more comprehensive Bill, but that is hardly practicable in present parliamentary circumstances and the condition of public opinion outside this House.

The original Bill and the Bill which was amended in Committee upstairs have been disembowelled by the group of Amendments and new Clauses that we are discussing this afternoon. Disembowelled is the rhetoric. Apparently my right hon. Friend does not like the surgical term "disembowelled", but it seems highly appropriate.

The Secretary of State for Social Services (Sir Keith Joseph)

I was only preparing to count the number of times that my hon. Friend would enjoy himself by rolling that word round his tongue.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I have no desire to be avuncular in my delivery this afternoon —avuncular—or avuncular in the sense of parliamentary legislation, because normally, as a Conservative politician, I do not believe in grandmotherly interference—and I use the rhetoric "avuncular" this afternoon—with the liberties of the individual subject, save only where important health matters are concerned.

The original Bill has been disembowelled. I refer particularly to the Clauses of the Bill reported to the House from the Committee of which my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry) was a distinguished ornament.

Sir D. Kaberry

An active member.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

Order. The hon. Member must be more active still and rise if he wishes to intervene.

Sir G. Nabarro

The group of Amendments and new Clauses take out of the Bill as reported to the House from the Standing Committee Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8, and leave stet, subject to Amendment later, Clauses 7 and 9. My right hon. Friend is anxious to correct me I am sure, but the fact is that he did not move to delete Clause 7. I have sought to delete Clause 7 because my hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) submitted a Clause which was better than mine and which contained provisions which we had not thought of in the Standing Committee. I am literally correct when I use the term "disembowelled", because it means that the proposal is to delete Clauses 1 to 8, to amend Clause 9 and, in addition, to delete Schedules 1 and 2.

Sir K. Joseph indicated assent.

2.15 p.m.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend.

Having said all that, my right hon. Friend, with his superior draftsmanship and all the services of the technical bureaucracy at his elbow—I am glad to see my right hon. Friend nodding assent —has set down on the Notice Paper a group of new Clauses and a large number of Amendments to which 1, with alacrity, have added my name, sure in the knowledge that once my name, as the principal sponsor of the Bill, appears on the Notice Paper supporting my right hon. Friend's legislative intent, my name immediately takes precedence over his, and I therefore move the Government's new Clauses. That is exactly the position that I sought to create.

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)


Sir G. Nabarro

My hon. Friend has scant parliamentary knowledge. In 1957 I did exactly the same thing with a highly technical Measure called Thermal Insulation (Industrial Buildings) Bill. It was disembowelled on the floor of the House, and Lord Mills put in Clauses which I supported and therefore moved and carried through to the Statute Book in my name. That is the proper order of precedence with private Members' legislation, which Ministers and Whips alike should recognise is the effort of independent Members of the House of Commons. Ministers should sit on the sidelines and advise in the public interest. They should not seek to dominate with the services of the Whips at their elbows.

I bow to the superior draftsmanship of my right hon. Friend and his colleagues, and that is why I am supporting the Government's new Clauses and Amendments this afternoon. But let me explain that there are certain important differences between my right hon. Friend's new Clauses and the Clauses in the Bill as it was returned to the House from Standing Committee.

Let me go over these very shortly. First, my right hon. Friend and I have always been unequivocally united in condemning the smoking habit, on health grounds. My right hon. Friend has done so on innumerable occasions in the House, as I have. We differ only—

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;

House counted, and, 40 Members being present—

Sir G. Nabarro

In case there is any misunderstanding about who called the count—the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Atkinson) has just accused me of calling a count in the middle of my own speech—let me make it quite clear that the malignant parliamentary behaviour of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West is responsible for this trick. It is similar to the one which caused the proceedings of the House to be brought to a close on the Protection of Human Rights Bill. I hope that the Standing Orders are soon altered to stop this kind of trickery on matters of major parliamentary and national importance. My hon. Friend ought to be ashamed of himself, and should look beyond the Bar of the House. I shall continue my speech, sure in the knowledge that I may do so uninterrupted for a further one hour.

There have been three major differences of opinion between my right hon. Friend and myself. The first is that my right hon. Friend has always proclaimed that he wished to proceed in this matter of health hazards derived from smoking by voluntary agreement with the tobacco companies. I believe that such recourse is impracticable and in operation will be found to have little value. The second is that my right hon. Friend has wished to apply himself to cigarettes only and to exclude pipe tobacco, cigars and other tobacco products, whereas I believe that cigarettes and all tobacco products should be included within the ambit of any health warnings agreed.

The third major difference between us is that my right hon. Friend has taken the view that advertising should not be discontinued for tobacco and tobacco products, including cigarettes, whereas I have always felt that severe restrictions should be placed on advertisements of these products, having regard to the grave injury which they do to human health. But I said in Committee, and have been awaiting the opportunity to say on report, that a total ban on advertising of tobacco and tobacco products was such a major consideration that it should not be dealt with by a small and largely unrepresentative Standing Committee, and that the matter should be debated on the Floor of the House on later stages of the Bill.

Those are the three differences between my right hon. Friend and myself in broad principle, although in relatively minor matters of application, there have been revealed, from the new Clauses tabled by the Government, certain differences on matters such as penalties, all of which we can deal with later.

First, this new Clause confines the Bill to cigarettes. It excludes pipe tobacco and cigars. Snuff was excluded by a diversion in the Committee. Let me put the matter in its correct context, and in the simplest terms. It is that 87 per cent. of all tobacco consumed in this country is in the form of cigarettes. I go this far, therefore, with my right hon. Friend—that, if we legislate only for cigarettes, we are covering 87 per cent., or seven-eights, of the whole market. That seems not unreasonable, if I wish to get the Bill on the Statute Book.

I therefore unreservedly withdraw my earlier opposition to the exclusion of pipe tobacco and cigars, and accept my right hon. Friend's advice that the Bill should relate only to cigarettes, but I am prompted to do so by a very important provision in my right hon. Friend's Amendments. He has taken absolute powers to make regulations, delegated legislation, Statutory Instruments, to be subject to affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament, within the whole context of health hazard arising from smoking tobacco. I am advised that he could therefore, by delegated legislation, present Statutory Instruments to bring in both pipe tobacco and cigars.

That is adequate for my purposes, but before I leave the question, it is important to draw attention to what the Royal College of Physicians said in this matter. Under the heading of "Less Dangerous Forms of Smoking", and dealing with pipes and cigars, it said in paragraph 98 on page 131: A remarkable disparity of risk between smokers of cigarettes and smokers of pipes and cigars suggests that much saving of life and health might be achieved if cigarette smokers were to change to pipes and cigars. Unfortunately, no study has yet been made on the health of those who have made this change. Cigarette smokers accustomed to inhaling might continue to inhale the smoke of pipes and cigars and smoke heavily enough to maintain the risks. That the change is likely to be beneficial is suggested by the experience of many individual cigarette smokers, who report that, on changing to pipes or cigars, their cough diminishes. But judgment must be reserved, since there are reports from Europe suggesting an incidence of lung cancer as great in pipe and cigar smokers as where cigarrettes are used, mostly of sun-cured tobacco, and though it is thought to be less dangerous, the mortality from lung cancer among smokers is still high throughout. The medical advice in Switzerland and Germany has already pronounced that pipes and cigars are as dangerous as cigarettes if not more dangerous.

As I said to my right hon. Friend in a supplementary question a few weeks ago, the only safe recourse is not to smoke tobacco at all, for it is very far from established yet by the scientists and all those concerned with tobacco research that cigars and pipe tobacco are indeed less dangerous.

Sir K. Joseph

I would rather have my hon. Friend with me than against me, so I welcome the degree to which I have succeeded in persuading him, but I should not like him to take my silence for agreement in one proposition which he has just made. He said that one of the reasons that he was willing to change his mind about pipes and cigars was that he thought that the Government would have power, under this new Clause, to cover pipes and cigars later by regulation if the evidence were to change. I am advised that the title of new Clause 3, which refers only to cigarettes and not to tobacco products as a whole, would not give the Government that power under the Clause.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, and I accept his assurances. Then, in future, when it is technically and scientifically established, if at all, that pipe tobacco and cigars are as dangerous as, if not more dangerous than, cigarettes, we shall have to legislate —if this Bill reaches the Statute Book.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

I can understand that my hon. Friend's concern for this legislation is entirely because of the loss of and damage to life which this practice does. Does he therefore contemplate legislation to stop the use of motor cars where the injury and loss of life is far more per year than that caused by smoking?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) would be out of order if he answered that question.

Sir G. Nabarro

In any event, that is a hoary old argument which has often been presented. No one has done more than I in public affairs to try to bring about a general realisation of the dangers arising from the pollutants in the exhausts of motor cars, but scientifically we are in an analogous position there, because there is no perfect remedy known to man at this stage for depolluting the exhaust fumes of motor vehicles. However, I will not pursue this. We do not do this, because there is no perfect remedy.

I am prepared to be guided on this occasion by the two major considerations —first, that 87 per cent. of the market is cigarettes and I would prefer the Bill to cover 87 per cent. than none at all, and, second, that I would prefer, having regard to the dubiety about the harmful effects to health of smoking cigars and pipe tobacco, to leave that for further consideration on a future occasion and additional legislation, if that becomes necessary.

2.30 p.m.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

I respectfully agree with the construction placed upon the language and scope of the Bill which has been put forward by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I was about to intervene to put that point when he did so. My hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) knows my interest in this matter and knows that I am glad that this legislation has come forward. In view of that construction, does not he agree that there is a good deal to be said for keeping the minority case, which is less clearly proven, for future legislation, rather than for regulations even if they were intra vires the Bill, which they are not, having regard to the general desirability of legislation through full parliamentary process rather than delegated legislation?

Sir G. Nabarro

I am very grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend, because in a short intervention he has proclaimed his support—and he carries great authority in this regard, as a former Conservative Minister of Health—for legislation rather than voluntary agreement, which is critically important in this context. I shall not argue it in depth at this stage, but I said at the beginning that in my judgment any voluntary agreement would be totally inoperable, ineffective and impracticable. It is for that reason that I welcome the conversion of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in tabling new Clauses which, if English words have any meaning, must surely be construed as an absolute embrace of the Nabarro principle, which is that legislation in this context is much more important than voluntary agreement. For if he denies such intent, why on earth did he put the new Clauses on the Order Paper in the first place?

Sir K. Joseph

I must ask my hon. Friend to limit the fertility of his imagination. He cannot presume my intentions from the Amendments put down by me until he has given me the chance to explain why there are on the Order Paper.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, but I promise him that I can read, and I have read his new Clauses. I am moving the Clause simply by the good fortune that I happen to be the sponsor of the Bill, and through this rare, if not unique, position, I have precedence over my right hon. Friend in being called, absolute precedence. I do not suppose that he realised when he tabled the new Clauses that he would not himself be moving them. I am glad to be corrected if he did realise it.

I can read, and what the new Clause I am moving says is that health warnings shall be attached to cigarettes sold in packets. If my right hon. Friend did not intend to legislate on this point—

Mr. Cormack

Will my hon. Friend allow me?

Sir G. Nabarro

My hon. Friend intervened 19 times on the Welsh National Opera Company Bill in order to hold up the proceedings on this Bill. Therefore, I will not easily give way to him. He intervened nineteen times, with long interventions, and therefore I shall not give way to him on this occasion. He will have his own opportunity to oppose the Bill later, for he is a strong opponent of it as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security. That is the august and elevated position occupied by my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack).

I was saying that I could read, and if English words have any meaning my right hon. Friend's new Clause is designed to attach warnings about health to packets of cigarettes. That is why I have associated myself with his new Clause. If he says that that is not the intention of the Clause, he had better withdraw his name from it and leave me to argue it out with other opponents of the Bill. Otherwise, I hope that he will accept that I have collaborated with him in disembowelling the Bill in order to replace my inferior and amateur draftsmanship with his superior and professional draftsmanship, all of which will contribute in the passage of time, I hope, to a splendid Statute.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Michael Alison)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, whose eloquence I so much enjoyed in Committee—

Sir G. Nabarro

My hon. Friend is enjoying it now.

Mr. Alison

—for giving way. I listened to him with close attention in Committee as he expounded with immense eloquence and fervour the case for including cigars and pipe tobacco, about which he now appears to have second thoughts. I hope that he will not disallow in the case of my right hon. Friend the fact that there may be better courses, as he himself found in the matter of the substantial arguments he put forward on cigars and tobacco.

Sir G. Nabarro

I will cut down on the banter and go in for the logic. It is the fact that many of us have had second thoughts on what is, after all, pioneering legislation. Nobody has tried to legislate on any substantial scale on the health hazards associated with tobacco. My right hon. Friend will not mind my mentioning that when we originally discussed this matter he was the first to say to me that it was too difficult for a private Member.

Sir K. Joseph indicated assent.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am glad to see that my right hon. Friend is nodding assent. He still thinks that it is too difficult for a private Member. I accept that it is very difficult and that there are hundreds of different points of view. I remember that in 1955 my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) said that legislation for clean air and a revolution at the fire side was too difficult for a private Member, even his hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster—as I then was, in that incarnation. But he later recognised that it is very useful for a private Member to steer through the House legislation that the Government do not want to touch.

It is an open secret that in the last Parliament a substantial body of opinion in the Labour Party wanted to legislate on smoking. The Minister of Health, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, wanted to legislate on smoking and health hazards. I know that he will not mind my saying this about him, because it is utterly true. He was prevented from doing so by many members of the Cabinet who took an opposite view.

This is not a Party political matter. It is a matter of judgment as to the extent to which Parliament should intervene in the private lives and habits of ordinary men and women. That is why I used the term "avuncular" earlier, or, if one likes, "Meddlesome Mattie". We are talking about the loss of about 100,000 lives a year on account of illness and disease arising directly or indirectly from smoking habits. The exact number has never been quantified, and I doubt whether it ever will be exactly quantified. We are talking about a very large loss of life. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) nods dissent, but the fact is that the loss of life from the tobacco habit is generally regarded by the medical profession as vastly greater than that arising from road accidents. Therefore, to pass legislation such as this is a proper rôle of Parliament.

It would not be sufficient to leave a matter of this sort to an agreement. My right hon. Friend says that it is not a legal contract. Therefore it is utterly non-binding in a legal sense. I counsel my right hon. Friend, because I am a friend of his personally and in a Parliamentary sense, not to be foolish. His actions are not binding on the next Government. If they happen to be a Labour Government, the tobacco companies could run out on the agreement on their first day in office, saying, "We made our agreement with the last Government. It does not apply to the new Government."

That is the weakness of my right hon. Friend's case. I must emphasise to the opponents of the Bill that not only is it in its new form to apply only to cigarettes, but there is nothing proposed by my right hon. Friend and myself that is not already the subject of agreement between him and the tobacco companies. There is nothing at all. If the Amendments and new Clauses in the names of my right hon. Friend and myself are accepted, all that the Bill now does is to give legislative respectability—

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury) indicated dissent.

Sir G. Naborro

I do wish that my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) would not nod dissent. We have been over all these things. The Bill gives legislative respectability to the voluntary agreement—

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham)

I cannot hear.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) cannot hear. The Bill gives legislative respectability to the voluntary agreement made by my right hon. Friend. All that is between us and the other opponents of the Bill is that my right hon. Friend says that he wants to achieve his object by voluntary agreement; the opponents of the Bill say that they want to do it by voluntary agreement, and I say that in order to make it effective and operable it must be done by parliamentary Statute and not by some sort of airy fairy, palsy-walsy agreement between a couple of top civil servants and a couple of cigarette manufacturers sitting in the Ivy Restaurant or some other reputable hotel or hostelry—

Dr. Tom Stuttaford (Norwich, South)

Is my hon. Friend aware that four times as many people die from carcinoma of the lung alone as are killed in road accidents? That takes no account of death from coronary disease and other forms of carcinoma. Four times as many people die from carcinoma of the lung as die in road accidents.

Sir G. Nabarro

I now propose to fix my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham for all time. I intended to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford)—a distinguished doctor—for his support for the Bill as a sponsor, and for the most important statement on the health hazards of smoking that I have yet read, out of millions of words. Due to a quirk of the time at which my hon. Friend made his speech in Standing Committee his utterance received altogether too little publicity. I would happily pay to have what he said printed as a notice and put into packets of cigarettes, for it is the most powerful indictment of the smoking habit that I have yet read. I quote it to the House this afternoon because of its important application to our deliberations and, notably, to try to swing the waverers behind me in a non-party issue and to underline the importance of legislation, having regard to the dreadful ravages described by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Burden rose

Sir G. Nabarro

I shall give way to my hon. Friend in a few moments. On 13th March, in Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) said: I think that, as has been stated so clearly, there can be no doubt that nine-tenths of the carcinoma of the lung in this country has, as one of its causes, tobacco smoking. The other one-tenth is a different form of carcinoma which occurs for other reasons. The figures which we can expect to see of 50,000 deaths a year from carcinoma of the lungs indicate a very large death rate with smoking as its cause. However, it is not about Carcinoma of the lung that I wish to speak. Generally, the public has in its mind that the danger to health to which everyone refers is carcinoma of the lung, but there are many other dangers to health—and, of course, causes of death—occasioned by tobacco smoking, and we must consider these. A criticism which I have of the notice which is to be put upon cigarette packages is that it implies hazards to health about which the lay public knows already. People will assume that the hazard referred to is carcinoma of the lung whereas, in medicine today, we realise more and more the prevalence of other hazards to health, particularly damage to the arteries, which are, perhaps, as significant a cause of death, and from the point of view of education, perhaps of greater significance. Our latest figures show that 12,500 people died of carcinoma of the lung. Compare that figure with the 31,000 who died before the age of 65 from coronary thromboses. When educating the general public about tobacco smoking, there is a danger—particularly among the young—to think in terms of a disease which will develop very slowly over the years. It is a case of `Smoke now—pay later '. Retribution comes slowly and at a time of life which is hard to visualise when one is 20 and as hard to visualise when one reaches the ages of 40 or 45. I can remember, in my days as a medical student, seeing a patient die of carcinoma of the lung. He was only 41. At that time, I was only 24 or 25 and when I walked away from his bed, I thought, 'He has had a reasonable life'. I have not quite reached the age of 40, and I do not consider that my life is finished, but at the age of 25 the prospect of something which will happen 15 years hence makes little impact. It is a different thing when we consider the effect that tobacco smoking has on the clotting mechanism of the blood. The very next cigarette which a person over the age of 35 lights may be his last cigarette. The effects upon the blood which it causes are immediate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee C, 17th March, 1971, c. 35–6.] 2.45 p.m.

I consider that to be the best indictment of tobacco smoking generally that I have been privileged to listen to from a doctor in all the millions of words that I have read on this topic. I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South. I am delighted to have him with me, as I am delighted to have almost every doctor in the House with me—my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Dr. Vaughan), my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Dr. Trafford), my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Sir M. Stoddart-Scott), the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) and the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill). It is not a coincidence that every one of those doctors takes the same view as that of my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South, that a voluntary agreement is grossly inadequate.

Mr. Burden

I am sure that my hon. Friend does not wish to exaggerate, and I am sure that that goes, too, for my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford). He stated that three times as many deaths occurred from lung cancer as from road accidents. My right hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) has stated that 12,500 people died from lung cancer, but it has not been established that all those deaths were entirely due to smoking. I suggest that the figures in respect of road casualties are established as to cause, and are certainly in excess of 12,500.

Dr. Stuttaford

Is my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) aware that his hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) is confusing deaths with casualties? That is where the mistake has arisen. Is he also aware that his hon. Friend is badly informed, and that deaths from carcinoma of the lung account for 75 per cent. of those who smoke tobacco? It is a common belief that more people die from road accidents than from carcinoma of the lung, but that is not so. Four times as many people die from carcinoma of the lung as die from road accidents. I am not speaking of road casualties; I am referring to deaths from road accidents.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. In this context, I prefer his testimony to the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham.

Mr. Hugh Dykes (Harrow, East)

May I revert to what my hon. Friend said earlier before that dramatic passage—that the terms of the Bill were not in disaccord with the potential or actual terms of a voluntary agreement; it was just a question of difference in approach and techniques in legislative form. Does that include Clause 5, which refers to the maximum tar and nicotine content?

Sir G. Nabarro

As I said, Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and others are to be deleted from the Bill. If my hon. Friend looks at the Amendment Paper, he will find proposals to that effect. New Clause No. 4 and its associated Amendments refer to the treatment of poisons—tar and nicotine—which the Minister proposes to deal with by notices in tobacconists' shops and other places of sale rather than on the packet. I cannot go into that matter because it is not dealt with in the Clause we are debating. We shall deal with it later.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

It is Amendment No. 52.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

Order. We must guard against sedentary interventions and try to keep the debate on as high a level as possible. As the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) said, it would be out of order to go into that question now.

Sir G. Nabarro

It may have been a sedentary interruption by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), but it was vastly more valuable than many interventions made from a standing position.

Dr. Anthony Trafford (The Wrekin)

I have some figures which my hon. Friend probably has not come across relative to the incidence of lung cancer. It is probable—and I know that my hon. Friend concedes this point—that not all cases of carcinoma of the lung are due to smoking, but it may interest him to have the following figures. The incidence of lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers living in rural districts is about 10 per 100,000. If this is compared with the figure for those who smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day living in towns, the number rises to 509, which is approximately 50 times greater than the figure for non-smokers living in rural areas. It is tenable to a small extent to say that the reason is the difference between urban and rural situations—in other words, the environment. But the incidence among smokers in rural areas is still about 20 times. This adequately establishes the point which my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) made that there cannot be any dispute that people who die from lung cancer predominantly die as a result of this habit.

The figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) were entirely accurate. The figure of 12,500 which he gave referred, I believe, to deaths of people under the age of 65, which is a quite different figure from the total figure. The total figure is over 30,000.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin, who is a distinguished consultant and doctor. This testimony, with that of all the other doctors participating in our debates, should be sufficient to sway wavering opinion that legislation, rather than a voluntary agreement, is imperative.

I wish to deal with one last major issue. My right hon. Friend the Minister has, with obvious legislative intent inserted in his new Clause which I am moving a form of words which was agreed with the tobacco companies. I read the words: 'Warning by H.M Government Smoking can damage your health' Two things are wrong with that form of warning. The first is that it drags the good name of the Government into it. The second is the word "can". I wish to apply myself to both aspects in the context of Amendment (c) which stands in my name alone. The words proposed in it are "Smoking IS harmful to health". The word "is" is in block capitals while ordinary type is employed for the other words in the message.

Why bring in the good name of the Government? This is a Tory Government. I can well imagine a working class man in Wolverhampton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Glasgow, Kidderminster, Evesham, Coventry, London or Feltham looking at the warning proposed by my right hon. Friend and saying, "Her Majesty's Government?—Tory tricks", spitting on the floor and lighting up another fag to denote his opprobrium for my right hon. Friend and the other members of his Government. "Her Majesty's Govern- ment" has a highly political connotation. Her Majesty's Government are not omniscient—

Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)

Hear, hear.

Sir G. Nabarro

—neither are they universally respected—

Mr. Hamling

Hear, hear.

Sir G. Nabarro

—in the context of human health or other activities. You might as well put my face on the warning—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon.

Sir G. Nabarro

I was using the vernacular, Mr. Speaker. I was quoting —"You might as well put my face on the health warning or even a moustache if you wanted to cause opprobrium among many people in different parts of the country".

Mr. Crouch

Or damage to health.

Sir G. Nabarro

I agree. All of this underlines the ridiculous sentiment of bringing the Government into it. We are legislating for putting a health warning on packets.

The form of words which I use, in terms of the utmost purity, in the Amendment is definitive. "Smoking IS"—and "is" is the important word— "harmful to health" are exactly the words recommended by the British Medical Association.

3 p.m.

It is interesting to relate that, on the day the Committee stage of the Bill started, the B.M.A. issued a Press notice. It said, first, "We want legislation and not a voluntary agreement". Secondly, it said, "We want the legislation to apply to tobacco and all tobacco products and not cigarettes alone". Thirdly, it said, "We want the words 'smoking is harmful to health' as the nature of the warning on the side of all packets of tobacco and tobacco products, including cigarettes."

Therefore, the B.M.A., which, I suppose, is the best professional representative body of doctors in this country—and we should be unwise to discard its advice, information and help—has told the Secretary of State in no uncertain terms, "Nabarro is right and you are wrong." But he replies, "No. I, the Minister, am right, and Nabarro is wrong." This is the difference of opinion between us.

But I am never a whole-hogger. I am old enough and experienced enough to know that if one gets 51 per cent. of what one is seeking in parliamentary legislation, one is doing well, and, as Winston Churchill once said, a majority of one is enough. If I get 51 per cent. of what I seek, I can go on my way rejoicing, scratch my own back and say that I have done a job of work. Here I am getting 87 per cent. of what I am seeking—the general tobacco market with health warnings attached to it.

All I say to my right hon. Friend—I should be out of order to deal with it now—is that he should not try to wreck this Bill through the medium of Amendment. No. 90, standing in the name of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Southport (Mr. Percival), which was put on the Order Paper late last night and therefore starred and not available for discussion today. It is a wrecking Amendment, a last-ditch reserve by the Department and its friends to cast this Bill out if it reaches that stage.

I cannot delineate on Amendment No. 90, but my hon. Friends can see what it would do. It will be the last Amendment to be debated probably next Friday or the following Friday, and the object is to wreck the Bill. The effect, by dragging in the London Gazette and voluntary agreements and all sorts of other crazy notions, supported by my right hon. Friend, is to wreck the Bill, and, as far as I am concerned, although I am a friend of the Secretary of State both personally and in the parliamentary sense, I am not going to have this Bill wrecked save only over my dead body.

I appeal to my right hon. Friend, therefore, to follow through sensibly and logically new Clause 3. He inspired it and he drafted it and put it on the Paper. I hope that he will not now go to that Dispatch Box and say that he did not mean the words in the new Clause and that it was put down only for the purpose of having a debate on the Floor of the House. If he gets up to any tricks of that kind, then I remind him that the remainder of the time today and the time available on two other Fridays is available for debate on this Bill. I want the Bill to be debated. I am not trying to frustrate it. I firmly and adamantly believe that parliamentary legislation is imperative in this matter and that any voluntary agreement would be valueless.

Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East)

I am in some confusion over the complicated state of the Amendments. Would it not be rather neater if my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) withdrew his name from new Clause 3 and restricted himself to Amendment (c)? I cannot understand just what he wants. Does he want new Clause 3 or Amendment (c)?

Sir G. Nabarro

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. McMaster) is experienced enough to know that, when a number of new Clauses and Amendments are grouped, the mover applies himself to the first new Clause, and I am moving it. If my hon. Friend has any particular point to raise in connection with Amendment (c), there will, I believe, be an opportunity for a separate vote on it. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that that is your desire. I will go on talking about this so that you may consult your papers but I hope that there will be opportunity for a separate vote on Amendment (c).

Mr. Speaker

I can reassure the hon. Gentleman. There will be a separate vote on Amendment (c), if desired.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am most grateful, Mr. Speaker, as always, for your guidance. There will be an opportunity and that will furnish me with the opportunity to substitute for the words, Warning by H.M. Government Smoking can damage your health the words of my Amendment (c), Smoking IS harmful to health knowing that I have the whole of the British Medical Association behind me.

The Secretary of State for Social Services (Sir Keith Joseph)

I very much regret, though I think it is my duty, to rise now when there is such a very large number of my hon. Friends here in the Chamber and my rising now will inevitably put back the time when they will have a chance to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker.

Sir G. Nabarro

There is always next Friday.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, there is plenty of time.

I also regret that I should have to come into conflict of opinion with my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro). He has every right to be pleased with his achievement in the 'fifties when he put the Beaver recommendations on to the Statute Book, admittedly with the help of the then Government. I have often in the country praised his achievements at that time as just the example of what a Private Member can do. I happen to think that on this occasion his enthusiasm and his constructive zeal are being applied at the wrong point. That will emerge from what I have to say.

The Government are absolutely determined to secure a sharp fall in the suffering associated with cigarette smoking. I cannot make a more flat or determined statement than that. The House will note that I have expressed our intention in terms of a sharp fall in the suffering associated with cigarette smoking. I am a non-smoker, and I find cigarette smoking an obnoxious habit; it is unpleasant to a non-smoker to be near cigarette smoking; but that is a personal reaction.

It may be that we shall achieve our objective partly by bringing about a fall in the consumption of cigarettes and partly perhaps and happily by some method discovered by the industry or by other means of making cigarette smoking less hazardous. What we are determined to do is by a combination of these two methods to bring about a fall in the suffering.

I am very conscious that we are a free society and that there exists for the Government a fairly narrow path between, on the one hand, excessive laissez faire in a habit proven to be seriously damaging to health, and, on the other hand, a degree of grandmotherly intervention which goes further than merely securing that every citizen knows exactly what he or she is in for if he or she consumes cigarettes. It is to find that middle way that the Government are embarked upon the campaign to which we have set our hands.

I must tell the House that we shall mislead ourselves if we think of this campaign as a broadside now to be successful and forgotten. That is not the way it will be at all. We are dealing with a widespread addiction which has unfortunately seized a large proportion of the children as well as of the adults of this country, and there will be a whole series of stages ahead if we are to achieve our purpose. Today we are discussing one part and one part only of the first stage of that campaign. It is true that the Government see this first stage as centring upon, though not, of course, limited to, voluntary agreement or in the legal terms of the contents of the new Clauses to which my hon. Friend and I have our names and which he has introduced in his characteristic speech just now. The Government still firmly believe that the voluntary agreement is the right course. I recognise that there are legitimate doubts about the voluntary agreement. I will not run away from them but will come to them later.

The Government do not regard the Bill as necessary, and I shall explain why we think it is actively mischievous. In what is virtually the Second Reading of a new approach to the problem—because that is what the introduction of the sponsor's name on the Government new Clauses is, in effect—I want to stress, to underline and to emphasise that the contents of the Bill, or for that matter the contents of the voluntary agreement, are only one ingredient in the campaign which lies before us.

If we still believe that the voluntary, agreement is the right course, why did I—because it is my initiative and my decision—put the Government new Clauses on the Order Paper? The answer is that the House may decide to legislate and, if it does, the Government hope that the legislation that emerges will embody—in statutory form and with sanctions the points on which my hon. Friend legitimately lays emphasis—the contents of the voluntary agreement. That is why it is perfectly consistent for me to say that I am not converted to the view that legislation is necessary, although I have deliberately put new Clauses on the Order Paper.

By your decision, Mr. Speaker, there are to be taken in this debate on the new Clause many separate strands of argument. I shall not presume at this stage to try to guide hon. Members or to comment on each one of those separate Amendments which are in this new Clause 3 package. What I seek to do is to put either the voluntary agreement or the Bill into the total strategy which the Government foresee will be necessary to achieve our purpose. I hope that it will be possible for my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, who was on the Standing Committee, to comment later on the Amendments that go with new Clause 3.

My hon. Friend the sponsor of the Bill has straightforwardly explained how he has changed his mind to the extent of accepting a large part of what he seeks and being willing for that purpose to sacrifice the totality of what he originally sought. There remain between him and the Government three main issues. The first is advertising, which he said he intended to raise at this stage in the debate, but he has not raised it. All I have to do, therefore, is to point out to the House that at least the sponsor is not suggesting that the Government should legislate at this stage to ban the advertising of cigarettes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right in saying that this would be a big step. We shall certainly have to consider it in the immediate future when in the Government's view it will become relevant. I will return to this shortly.

The second difference my hon. Friend has virtually disposed of for the moment, although he may not have satisfied some of his supporters. He has come to accept as better than nothing a Bill which deals only with cigarettes rather than one which deals with all tobacco products, so that difference vanishes.

The third and largest difference remains. He and his supporters think that a voluntary agreement—what he might call a legally toothless agreement —is not enough. That is the main difference between him and the Government. I shall spell out the Government strategy and, I hope, meet all the relevant objections which have so far been raised.

After the publication of the Report of the Royal College of Physicians—" Smoking and Health Now "—no one can seriously doubt that cigarette smoking kills many thousands a year and damages the health of scores of thousands more.

3.15 p.m.

Mr. Burden

None of us wants to exaggerate the effect of smoking. It has been implied that deaths from lung cancer are caused almost entirely by smoking. It would be interesting if the hospitals could produce figures showing who had smoked and who had been non-smokers amongst those who had contracted the disease.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend is right to express a certain scepticism about the wholesale denunciations, coupled with figures, which are fashionable. I do not know about other hon. Members, but I have found totally convincing the living experiment that the doctors carried out. It was the Doll and Hill experiment conducted from 1951 on thousands and thousands of doctors themselves, and which showed the mortality experienced over the last 20 years of doctors who smoked different amounts and those who had given up smoking, which totally convinced me that cigarette smoking inflicts very grave and avoidable suffering on large numbers of our fellow countrymen. I accept, however, that the more figures we have the better.

Nevertheless, even faced with this avoidable misery, we live in a free society. We cannot be wet nurses to every citizen. Nor can we enforce legislation that is not socially acceptable. We must balance our action against the freedom of individuals and against the danger of discrediting the law if we seek to apply the law where it cannot effectively be enforced.

I am glad that my hon. Friend has virtually taken out of the debate for the moment the argument about pipe tobacco and cigars. I expect that other hon. Members will return to it and I know that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary would like to guide hon. Members on the validity of the advice of the Royal College of Physicians that we should concentrate on cigarettes.

I certainly do not want to mislead people into thinking that the manufacturers of cigarettes are on the point of finding a "safer cigarette", but I understand that they are putting a great deal of effort into research in this direction. It is certainly in their own interests to do so. The Government welcome their efforts. This may lead to the use of different materials or to decreasing the nicotine and the tar yield.

One of the most important decisions that the Government have made has been to initiate the setting up of a scientific committee on which there will be Government scientists as well as scientists from the tobacco industry. It will be this Committee's task to pass judgment upon and to validate the methods used by the industry in its pursuit of and measurement of the relative safety or danger of different smoking materials. We shall have for the first time a forum on which Government scientists will sit and which will be able to guide the public on this difficult subject.

Despite all this, it would be unrealistic to hope for a safe cigarette in the foreseeable future. I hope that hon. Members, whatever their enthusiasm, will agree also that it would certainly be equally unrealistic to dream of there being an ending of cigarette smoking. That is just not on.

I must now make, my task harder by explaining to the House that easy references to the importance of preventing people from embarking upon cigarette smoking is merely a matter of words. None of us knows how, effectively, to stop young people from embarking upon smoking. We know in theory what should be done. If we could stop all parents, teachers, people on the television and on the films in cinemas from smoking, perhaps it would have an immediate effect upon children. But that is beyond hope.

Sir G. Nabarro

Or stop all doctors, too.

Sir K. Joseph

The doctors, of all the professions, have probably gone further than any in setting a good example, though the Royal College of Physicians hopes that even more of their number will set that good example.

I can promise that the Government will seek all the practical ways there are to influence the young not to take up cigarette smoking. But until we have the co-operation of all those people I have listed, and particularly the parents and the teachers, to some extent we shall be blowing against the wind. What we are embarked upon is the task of making cigarette smoking socially unacceptable. Until we achieve that, we shall not have made a real impression on our task.

I hope to explain to the House some of the measures we intend. The first stage includes the voluntary agreement, as the Government would wish, or this legislation, as my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South would wish. I must explain that the voluntary agreement was reached not by some civil servants with some officials from the industry but by the leaders of the industry, personally, with the Secretary of State for Social Services of the day, personally. It was not an agreement that will vanish with a new Secretary of State or a new Government. It is not, as my hon. Friend sought to suggest, like a particular Government seeking to bind its successor to a policy. That is not the position. The industry has undertaken to the holder of my office to accept and to adhere to a voluntary agreement, with a code of practice to be agreed between the holder of my office and the industry. Motivation is vital in human affairs, and I emphasise that it is greatly to the interest of the industry to adhere to the voluntary agreement, because the industry can tell, from the witness of this day's debate—and from the words of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), a most distinguished past Minister of Health himself—the signs of the times.

The Royal College of Physicians has produced a report which no Government can afford to ignore. If the industry were foolish enough to break the voluntary agreement, it would not be long before legislation would descend on it. Having entered into the voluntary agreement under no threats and in a genuine attempt to mitigate the damage, without any original intent or awareness, which its product is now found to cause, the industry must recognise abundantly that it is in its interest to show itself willing to accept the content of the vountary agreement.

That agreement covers the marking of packages and advertisements, setting up a scientific committee, and the publication of nicotine content and tar yield in the form of league tables. I repeat those ingredients—the ingredients of the voluntary agreement or of the Bill: marked packages and advertisements warning of the health hazard; the scientific committee; the publication of league tables showing relative and respective nicotine contents and tar yields.

The House would be wrong to think that that voluntary agreement, significant and powerful though it is, is the whole picture. There are a number of things that it is not for the industry or legislation to bring about. The Government will be embarking upon a television campaign. Public money will be put at the disposal of the Health Education Council to warn the public by way of television. I am in touch with the Chairman of both the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. about the possibility of reducing the amount of cigarette smoking that is shown on television. We are seeking to disenchant the young, to de-symbolise the cigarette, and we shall follow up every sensible, practicable, non-avuncular method which seems to make sense. I borrow shamelessly the words of a noble Lord with whom I do not generally find myself in agreement. In the words of the noble Lord, Lord Soper, we shall try anything "to enlarge the smokeless zone". That is a concept which is familiar to my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South.

I am in touch with the Railways, to see whether we can further extend the provision for non-smokers.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)

My right hon. Friend says that he intends to go to this great trouble, and even those of us who do not approve of this Bill, who accept the voluntary agreement and who do not want too much Government interference, think it right that he should go to a certain amount of trouble. Will not my right hon. Friend go further and try to persuade the Chancellor of the Exchequer to change the tax structure on tobacco so that on cigarettes he increases it and on cigars and pipe tobacco he reduces it? That would be an effective means of cutting down the loss of life caused by smoking cigarettes.

Sir K. Joseph

I shall come to what is proper for me to discuss on that sort of question in a few minutes. I must make sure that I do not forget it.

When I spoke at this Dispatch Box a few weeks ago to announce the voluntary agreement, I included in the number of steps that I intended to take a reference to making contact with aero- plane companies, entertainment companies, and the restaurant people. I have studied the subject more since then, and I have reached the conclusion that there will be grave difficulties in achieving a larger smokeless zone in aeroplanes and in places of entertainment, as it were, from scratch.

There are many countries in Europe where, for 20 or 30 years, it has been normal for smoking not to be allowed in cinemas, theatres and concert halls. I asked my advisers how it was enforced. We know that cinema attendances are declining. Do cinema managers simply kick their patrons out? I am told that there is no problem. The habit is so longstanding that it has become socially acceptable. I am told that the original ban was not on personal health grounds or on social or aesthetic grounds, but simply on fire risk grounds. The fact is that the Home Office has not thought fit to ban smoking from the normality of such places. Instead of any easy approach to these people, what I propose to do is invite them to discussions to see how far we can go.

Mr. John Nott (St. Ives)

My right hon. Friend knows that I bear him some good will in this matter. To be entirely convincing in a parliamentary sense, however, I should like him to devote a few moments to the following two points. First, does my right hon. Friend think that it is more desirable from a constitutional viewpoint to proceed by the "nudge and wink" from a Minister rather than by the process of law? Second, since "intervention" is being bandied about as a word—and I am just as much a non-interventionist as my right hon. Friend—what is there essentially less interventionist in a Minister suggesting that there should be a voluntary agreement, backed up with a threat of legal sanction if it is not kept, than in the proposal which is being made in the Bill, that a health warning should be put on cigarette packets under an Act of Parliament? What is there essentially less interventionist in my right hon. Friend's procedure than in that proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro)?

3.30 p.m.

Sir K. Joseph

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I shall come to this point later. I know his views and those of a number of my hon. Friends on the impropriety of government by "nudge and wink".

There are two points to be considered. First, we are dealing here with a small definable number of organisations, the tobacco manufacturers, of whom there are three of significance in this country. The amount of imports coming in is one-half of 1 per cent. of the market. These people have said that they are willing to do all that we require of them at the moment. Should we clutter up the Statute Book—Lord knows, many of us think that there are already too many Statutes —with an additional Act of Parliament to achieve precisely what can be done without statute? I shall come to the difficulties about the effectiveness of the agreement later.

Secondly, it is particularly for my hon. Friends and for me and, if I may include the sponsor of the Bill, for him, because we are all united by respect for private enterprise, to give private enterprise a chance to volunteer action before it is required to take action. We on this side of the House believe that private enterprise is responsible and willing to do what is socially right if it can be shown what is required and if it can still be allowed to survive and perform its function—always, of course, within the law. It is for us, if we wish, to ban something with which we say private enterprise shall not concern itself.

We can ban drugs, we can ban prosstitution, and we can try to enforce the ban. If we were proposing to ban cigarette smoking, the law would have to do it. However, this limited range of things which we want to achieve has been offered by the industry. Therefore, it is surely not for the champions of private enterprise—

Sir G. Nabarro

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Sir K. Joseph

I should like to finish my sentence. I shall then give way. It is surely not for the champions of private enterprise to reject the offer of the industry and to insist on legislation unless—I shall come to this point later—the voluntary agreement will be flouted.

Sir G. Nabarro

The simple observation I wanted to make was that my right hon. Friend's analogy was singularly ill-chosen. He said, "We can ban prostitution". On the contrary, we can do nothing of the kind. That was an utterly ill-chosen analogy. All we have done is to cause it to be conducted underground instead of on the streets. That is very desirable—I do not dispute that—but my right hon. Friend should not drag into the controversy about cigarettes and tobacco the proposition that we can ban prostitution, because it is manifestly nonsense.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend is quite right. In my anxiety to shorten the argument, what I was saying in my shorthand way was that we can ban private enterprise seeking to make profits out of prostitution and drugs. We have banned those two matters. It is a criminal offence to traffic in prostitution or in drugs. If we were to deal with cigarettes, in the same way, it would be a matter for the law. But making and selling cigarettes remains legal. I do not think that anyone in this House wishes to prevent it from being legal. That is why I believe that the voluntary agreement, provided that it can be effective, should be the first step.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

Will my right hon. Friend reflect upon one possibly disturbing inference which comes from his suggestion that, because there are only two or three large manufacturers concerned, therefore it is possible and proper to substitute the ordinary operation of law by what my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Nott), in his graphic phrase, called government by "nudge and wink"? Does not my right hon. Friend feel that this is giving a privileged position to and an argument for monopoly, having regard to the statutory definition of monopolies of scale as those commanding a third of the market? There are those who think that the processes of monopoly have gone far enough and that they should not be given further incentive.

Sir K. Joseph

My right hon. and learned Friend has a point which I must be careful to guard against. I was seeking to say only that, if we were dealing with a fragmented industry which could not come into a single room and make a an agreement, we should have to move by way of law. My right hon. and learned Friend will accept, from the fluctuating fortunes, profits and share values of the three main manufacturers, that there is effective and powerful competition, even though one has a majority of the market.

Mr. Phillip Holland (Carlton)

I am sorry to keep on about the "nudge and wink" but I do not think that the Secretary of State made clear to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Nott) what he said earlier. I understood him to say that the industry accepted the voluntary agreement, not because my right hon. Friend threatened legislation but because it was obvious to them, from the direction in which public opinion was moving, that sooner or later, if they did not reach a voluntary agreement something would happen.

Sir K. Joseph

There was no threat, but the industry are perfectly capable of seeing where their enlightened self-interest lies. That is why they were ready to accept the voluntary agreement.

I was listing some of the action parallel with the issues in the policy upon which the Government have embarked. I am circulating to National Health Service authorities and local authorities stronger advice on discouraging cirgarette smoking, in as much as is practicable, on their premises. The Secretary of State for Education and Science and I are studying ways in which we can bring effective advice to school children and teachers. The Health Eduation Council already has funds to cover a campaign against cirgarette smoking, and I am increasing those funds, as I have told the House, for a television campaign which will be continued next year. I have in mind not a continuous television campaign but a series of short, sharp campaigns, repeated at intervals, with as much monitoring as we effectively can.

If people have to smoke, and if they have to smoke cirgarettes, there are undoubtedly sensible ways in which they can try to reduce the damage to their own health.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the letter sent to every hon. Member by the firm which makes Aqua-Filters, which it is claimed will help to stop cancer, but which has to pay 55 per cent. purchase tax? Will he have a word with the Chancellor to see whether the tax should be dropped or reduced, since this would obviously help?

Sir K. Joseph

This material has been put in my hand just now for the first time. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for drawing it to my attention. I was about to list some of the things which the cigarette smoker can do if he wants to try to reduce his intake.

One has to be careful in making pronouncements of this sort, but American evidence tends to suggest that filters reduce the amount of tar which goes into the lungs. There is not as much evidence yet as I would wish, but it is proper to say that much. If one must smoke cigarettes, it is sensible to leave a longer stub. It is sensible to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and it is sensible not to inhale. But at the end of the day, the only sensible thing to do is to give up cigarettes, if one humanly can, and, if one cannot, to switch to pipes or, if one can afford them, to cigars. I shall return later to the tax point, so far as it is proper for me to do so.

Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)

I wanted to intervene before my right hon. Friend left the subject of the young. Does not he think that it is a legitimate exercise of non-avuncular Government to ban cigarette machines?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that that is one of the things we shall obviously have to consider, and I shall come to that matter in a moment or two.

If the voluntary agreement were allowed to go ahead, marked packs would begin to come into the shops, and marked advertisements to appear in the newspapers and on hoardings, this summer. By the end of the year, if the voluntary agreement were allowed to go ahead, it would be fully effective and all stock and all advertising would be marked. If the voluntary agreement were allowed to go ahead, we should synchronise the first T.V. campaign with the arrival in the shops of marked stock.

I come now to explain the next stage in the campaign on which the Government have decided. The Prime Minister some months ago, just before the Report of the Royal College of Physicians was published, ordered a Government internal study of the further methods we should need beyond those I have outlined to reduce the suffering caused by cigarette smoking and the quantity of cigarette smoking, and the implications of those methods. Obviously, it is only responsible for the Government to study the revenue implications of success, the success we are determined to have. We must study the liberty of the subject and side effects, such as the repercussions on the newspapers of a wholesale ban on cigarette advertising.

Sir G. Nabarro

My right hon. Friend has said many times over that if it were not for the Bill the health warnings would appear on packets this summer. Does not he realise from the condition of the Bill today that it could easily pass through this House and another place within two or three weeks, but certainly before Whitsuntide, with his benevolence, support and aid, and that then the same health warnings could be on the packets this summer? It is a very simple operation for tobacco manufacturers, who have to overprint the packets all over the surface anyway, to print a health warning on them. They have only to make a few new rubber stereos, and therefore the health warnings could be on the packets by July even if the Bill went through. So it is quite wrong to suggest that we are holding up the health warnings.

Sir K. Joseph

For a business man, my hon. Friend is very wrong. I should like to have heard his reaction in the old days if any Government had told him that every no-nail box was to have this or that done to it instanter. He would have pointed out a number of things. I shall return to my hon. Friend's point in the proper place in my argument.

I was explaining that there is a Government study in hand on the next stages and their implications.

Dr. Trafford

When my right hon. Friend is pursuing this developing programme against smoking, which I am sure we all welcome, he should bear in mind that we must not get too carried away. May I draw his attention to recent reports in the Lancet on the experience of those in California who spent a great deal of time and trouble in stopping people from getting coronary thrombosis by giving them the right things to eat. The results looked excellent. People stopped getting coronaries when they adhered to the diet, and everything seemed fine until it was discovered later that they were all dying just as fast of something else. There are risks in this connection in the pursuit of variations using different types of filter, different types of cigarette, arguing about pipes versus cigarette tobacco and so on. From the Report on Smoking and Health it can be seen that in 10 years little evidence was found about carcinoma of the bladder but by 15 years a slight change was already becoming apparent. Therefore, when my right hon. Friend considers advocating any form of change, such as changing to another type of tobacco, there can be long-term effects. My right hon. Friend above all else will not forget the classic case of thalidomide, which was widely advertised as the safest sleeping drug—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is very nearly an abuse of an intervention, if it is not so already.

Sir K. Joseph

I repeat to my hon. Friend, who is a consultant, that the evidence of the doctors, Doll and Hill, who carried out the survey is very conclusive.

I was about to explain that as part of the study ordered by the Prime Minister into the next stage—and I am addressing my remarks to my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis)—the implications for taxation will obviously have to be considered by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I shall draw to his attention what my hon. Friend said today. There lie ahead for the Government at that stage very difficult questions connected with advertising, coupons and other subjects connected with cigarettes. During 1972, when the voluntary agreement, if it is allowed to persist, or the contents of this Bill—one or the other—will be in full force, our intention is to study the results achieved and the results of the Government examination which is now going on.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. McMaster

My right hon. Friend has not mentioned, as part of the Government's study, something that is relevant to his previous remark, namely, that it is not the duty of the Government to wet-nurse our population. If the full provisions of the Bill were put into effect and they dramatically cut down the consumption of tobacco, it would affect employment in the tobacco industry and might have other dangerous effects, especially with the present level of unemployment in various regions. Will the Government consider, along with other factors, the effect upon employment of a dramatic and rapid cut-back in the consumption and sale of cigarettes in this country?

Sir K. Joseph

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I shall refer to that point later. Further action will undoubtedly be needed if we are to achieve our objective. Some of that action will be within the power of the industry, and where it is it seems to me that the proper course—subject to the industry's having kept its previous agreement—will be to ask it to act voluntarily. But where the industry cannot or will not act, or where matters lie outside its power to act, the Government will have to take their own action.

The point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Longden) is very relevant. In the debate in another place, the report of which I have read with admiration and respect, many noble Lords emphasised the relevance of doing something about vending machines. I know that some of my hon. Friends agree with that proposition.

A number of complexities are involved. Not all vending machines in or near schools are necessarily used only by children. Some vending machines are situated in medical schools and colleges which are almost entirely inhabited by people who now have the vote. But there is something for the Government to examine here, and I undertake that we shall see whether there is a case for banning or controlling vending machines which are exclusively available to children.

Much pressure was exerted in the other place for intervention by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Educa- cation and Science in school curricula in order to educate children against cigarette smoking. That is for my right hon. Friend to answer—but the Health Education Council is embarking upon an effort to produce the right sort of effects upon school children. Meanwhile, we must continue to emphasise the scale of the problem that we are trying to tackle. At the moment it is very widespread. Our aims will take time to achieve—and several stages, involving cumulative action, if they are to be effective. I do not wish to pin too much hope, or to encourage my hon. Friends or hon. Members opposite to pin too much hope, on messages alone. But there is great significance in messages. For the first time they bring into the open the implications of cigarette smoking.

I disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South that the Government's participation in the message is damaging. On the contrary, I think that the participation of the Government, who are thought to be the main beneficiaries of cigarette smoking, in the message adds a particular force to the message. I cannot pretend that the exact wording is vital. One could say that, after the novelty effect has worn off, the message will not be as widely read and pondered as many of us would wish. But, so far as lies in us, we have achieved a form of wording which we think is most effective. We have associated the Government with it. We have said that Smoking can damage your health because not every individual who smokes a cigarette suffers damage to his or her health, although it may be that he or she will be one of those who suffer.

We have been scrupulously accurate in our message because we regard it as counter-productive not to be accurate. If the message can be shown to be exaggerated or too lurid, it will be even more discounted. We have included in our message the word which advertising experts advise us is crucial—"your". My hon. Friend's message does not include it. He proposes a message which is weaker. He uses the word "harmful" instead of "damage". His message says that smoking can be "harmful to health" instead of "damage your health". We qualify the message by use of the word "can" because we cannot be absolutely certain that every individual who smokes a cigarette will suffer as a result.

Sir G. Nabarro

My right hon. Friend must not impute to me authorship of the message proposed in my Amendment. It is the official declaration of the British Medical Association and, therefore, I thought that it was superior to anything which could be thought of by the bureaucrats.

Sir K. Joseph

It is a question whether my advisers consulted good advertising experts and whether the B.M.A. took that trouble. It would not have been automatic for the B.M.A. to consult advertising experts before it designed its message. However, this is a matter which we can reconsider and, if necessary, change. All that I am saying is that I do not think that messages, however much we may want to see them, will turn the tide on their own. They will not. But, coupled with television campaigns and the other steps we are taking, perhaps they will begin to turn the tide; perhaps they will make a dent.

This is the programme. It may be necessary to legislate later in the programme. But for the moment all that we require of the industry, as opposed to the other things, like television campaigns, upon which we are embarking, is in the voluntary agreement.

I come to perhaps the most powerful argument on the side of the Bill's sponsor. Will the voluntary agreement bite? Will it be adhered to by the industry? I think that I have already persuaded the House that it is in the industry's interest to abide by the agreement. A code of practice will be agreed by me. I can assure the House that the industry will police the agreement itself. Each one of the three companies will be only too keen to make sure that the other two do not get away with a breach. So that the agreement will be self-policed.

The agreement was made, not with anonymous civil servants, however distinguished, but with the Secretary of State. I must, however, confess that one of the most disturbing features of the House of Lords debate was the emphasis put by the noble Lord, Lord Platt on the degree to which, in his view, the industry had broken its undertaking given to the previous Government. He twice levelled at the industry the charge that, although it said that advertising was only to serve the inter-brand competition, much advertising was addressed to increasing the size of the market in that area which was not so saturated as the rest, namely, among women.

I have taken this allegation by Lord Platt extremely seriously. I have asked the industry. It says that it does not feel that its advertisements have transgressed the code. But it regards it as necessary to be scrupulous in staying within the spirit of what is intended. That is what the industry says. So there is a wide gulf between what Lord Platt says and what the industry says.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

I must apologise to my right hon. Friend in that I went out for a few minutes to smoke a small cigar. It is extremely difficult to define interpretation in advertising, and what Lord Platt said and what may have been said in answer to him in debate or by the tobacco manufacturers themselves is very much a matter of interpretation.

Sir K. Joseph

Yes. But I was coming to the punch line on this subject. There they are: the noble Lord, a very distinguished observer of the scene, on the one hand, and the industry on the other, with a wide gap between. I am told that the industry has made certain changes quite recently in its advertising policy which will become evident. Perhaps we can leave it for the moment at that and see what changes are in evidence.

I fear that I have spoken fast but there has been a lot of ground to cover. I may not quite finish today but I will do my best.

Sir D. Kaberry

Before my right hon. Friend leaves this matter, I hope that he will deal with subsection (2) of new Clause 3, which deals with advertisements. I understood him to say that he had taken the point put by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) that he would not support any longer opposition to advertising. Is it the case that my right hon. Friend would now prefer to withdraw subsection (2)? If he does not prefer to do so, can he indicate what types of advertisement he would sanction? What would authorised advertisements be?

Sir K. Joseph

I detect quagmires ahead if I am required off the cuff to define advertisements, but I think that there is a misunderstanding here. When I said that my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South had dropped his advertisement thesis, I meant that he had dropped his proposal to introduce the proposition that all advertising of cigarettes should be banned. I remain firmly of the opinion that we should have, either by way of voluntary agreement or by subsection (2) of new Clause 3, an obligation on the industry to put a reference to health hazards on its products, and that I would defend as an essential part of the campaign.

I come now to the nub of the point. The Government do not regard the Bill as necessary. We regard the voluntary agreement as bound to be effective. We do not think that it is sensible to impose on a willing industry a superfluous statute, with all the apparatus of controls and penalties which that involves. But I still have to meet my hon. Friend's charge that, whether by way of voluntary agreement or by way of legislation, there is nothing in it as to time. I have no time today to explain the implications for the industry and for the Government of proceeding by way of legislation rather than by voluntary agreement. But my hon. Friend, with his long business experience, should well understand the detail to which regulations would have to go if we were to require by legislation the obligations which we are already virtually agreed upon with the industry.

The regulations would have to lay down precise details. They would have to take account of the rights of the individual firms to regulate their affairs so as to conform with the changed law, without damage to the jobs which, in places like Northern Ireland in particular, as my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. McMaster) pointed out, we as a Government must have seriously in mind. We, if we pursue the legislative path, embark upon a whole apparatus of controls, with penalties as the outcome, with criminal offences as the potential outcome. We must, as the House of Commons, be clear that we are being fair to the industry—

It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed upon Friday next.

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