HC Deb 30 April 1971 vol 816 cc886-969

The Secretary of State may exempt from the provisions of this Act regarding warning notices tobacco products which, as a result of progress in the development of safer smoking materials, satisfy the Secretary of State that it would no longer be justifiable to require them to comply with those provisions.

Amendment (b), in line 4, after 'who', insert 'knowingly'.

Amendment (c), in line 6, after 'who', insert 'knowingly'.

Amendment (d), in line 11, after 'who', insert 'knowingly'.

Amendment (e), in line 13, after 'comply', insert: 'to the best of his knowledge and belief'.

Amendment (f), in line 16, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£50'.

Amendment (g), in line 18, after 'fine', insert of '£500'.

Amendment No. 1, in page 1, line 5, leave out Clause 1.

Amendment No. 11, in page 1, line 19, leave out Clause 2.

Amendment No. 27, in page 2, line 1, leave out Clause 3.

Amendment No. 85, in page 4, line 2, leave out Schedule 1.

Amendment No. 87, in page 4, line 24, leave out Schedule 2.

Amendment No. 88, Title, at end insert 'or chewing tobacco'.

11.45 a.m.

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

Last Friday I had been explaining to the House, as fast as I could, but I fear at some length, the Government's strategy in connection with the dangers to the public from cigarette smoking. I had explained the whole battery of actions which the Government propose should be taken, centering round, but by no means confined to, health warnings to those who smoke cigarettes. I had concentrated on the difference between the voluntary approach which the Government wish to take, and the legislative approach, as embodied in the Bill, of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro). I had come to that stage of my argument—and I can comfort the House by saying that I am nearly at the end of it—when I was meeting my hon. Friend's argument that the Bill if passed would not delay the arrival in the public eye of the health warnings with which both he and the Government desire to see.

My hon. Friend had claimed that all that the industry needed to do after the Bill passed through both Houses was to buy some rubber stamps and apply the health warning to the cigarette packet.

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

I did not say that.

Sir K. Joseph

I beg my hon. Friend's pardon.

Sir G. Nabarro

I said that they would have to manufacture rubber stereos, because every cigarette packet is already printed all over, and it is only a matter of making new rubber stereos. I hope that my right hon. Friend will not mislead the House by imagining that thousands of girls in cigarette factories will be using a rubber stamp to put the warning on packets individually—the kind of archaic thing that would appeal to my right hon. Friend, but not to me.

Sir K. Joseph

I thought at the time that my hon. Friend was joking. I see that I must have misheard him slightly. My hon. Friend is far too good a business man to think that that is all that would be involved. Let us consider the difference between the voluntary agreement and the statutory approach as it affects the industry and timing. If we move by way of Statute, let us realise quite clearly that we are bringing in the whole apparatus of control and penalties. Manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and overseas manufacturers, too, will all be involved in studying minutely their responsibility under whatever Act is passed.

Sir G. Nabarro

Hear, hear.

Sir K. Joseph

There will need to be very precise regulations indeed taking account of what is fair for the industry and what is fair as between one firm and another.

Let me illustrate one of the difficulties. One firm will hold larger stocks of one brand than are held by another. It would be unfair if one firm were required to destroy or waste or withdraw for re-stamping a large stock, while other firms which had a different stock cycle had an advantage. We should have to take account of all those factors. We should have to lay down, after consultation with the industry, including overseas industry, the precise details of the warnings, both on advertisements and on packages.

It would not be a question of saying, as we shall be able to say in the code of practice, that there is to be a contrast in colour and a frame. We shall not be dealing with an industry which wants to comply with the spirit of the approach as we shall be if we move by way of voluntary agreement. We shall be dealing with an industry which will face considerable penalties if it fails to comply with precise regulations. My hon. Friend and I both wish advertisements to contain a reference to health warnings, but what is an advertisement? We know that posters are advertisements. We know that Press advertisements are clearly advertisements. But there is a whole range of alternatives on which decisions will have to be made.

I do not wish to stress this because I think I have said enough to show that we should need to have considerable time for discussions with the industry before I, as the Minister concerned, would be ready, with the best will in the world, to make regulations to deal with this subject. The regulations would have to allow sufficient time for the industry, overseas and at home, to react, and to make sure that no distributor, manufacturer, importer or wholesaler was caught by the penalty.

My hon. Friend realises that there is still a difference between the Bill—even if the Amendments which he and I together have signed were accepted—and the voluntary agreement, because the voluntary agreement does not touch imports. This was one of the big differences between my hon. Friend and the Government. The Bill covers imports, the agreement does not. Imports amount to half of one per cent. of the consumption of cigarettes, and I did not think it worth holding up action in order to cover imports. But by bringing in imports and then by attaching penalties, my hon. Friend would delay still further the application of the law.

In contrast to all this, if we move by way of voluntary agreement, we have an industry which will be only too anxious to show its good will.

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Bedford)

My right hon. Friend has been talking about an agreement with the industry. Is this agreement evidenced by an exchange of letters, or is it a formal legal agreement? What has he in mind?

Sir K. Joseph

It is not a formal legal agreement. It is embodied in an agreed minute of a meeting which, at the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South—and immediately upon his request—I published in this morning's HANSARD.

I was saying that the voluntary agreement will be something which the industry will be anxious to demonstrate as binding it. It will be self-policed. I explained all this last time. There will be 630 Members of Parliament and 54 million members of the public to police it. The industry will be anxious to be shown as an industry which keeps its word.

If the Bill were to pass, and if I, as Secretary of State, had to determine the day on which the resulting Act came into force, I would have to take into account all the considerations and more which I have mentioned this morning, before it could lead to the health warnings which we all want to see. The difference therefore between a voluntary agreement, which would lead to marked packages and advertisements coming into operation this summer and the whole of the stock being marked by the end of this year, and a Bill might be many months.

Dr. Tom Stuttaford (Norwich, South)

Would my right hon. Friend care to comment on the judgment given by Mr. Justice O'Connor in the case of Wright v. Dunlop Rubber Company, in which his lordship said that it was the duty of all manufacturers of chemicals which are carcinogenic to notify the general public to this effect?

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. and medically learned Friend has shot me from behind. I do not know the answer to that one.

Sir G. Nabarro

I must press my right hon. Friend. This is a matter of critical importance. The judgment referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) was sent to me yesterday, and absolutely riddles with grapeshot my right hon. Friend's argument for a voluntary agreement. In view of this judgment, the voluntary agreement is shown to be as I have always stigmatised it—quite valueless from a contractual standpoint and non-binding on any future Government.

Sir K. Joseph

In the moment that I have had to look, I think that the manufacturers, by honouring the voluntary agreement, would be complying with the obiter dicta or decision—I do not know which it is—of the learned judge.

Dr. Stuttaford

In fact, if they put it on cigarette packets, that would go some way to meeting the judgment, but in that there is some carcinogenic risk in pipes and cigars, although less, they would not be meeting it in respect of pipe and cigar tobacco.

Sir K. Joseph

I must be very careful in seeking to interpret a judgment which I have not read in full. If there is a legal implication, obviously we must take it very seriously into account.

Sir G. Nabarro

I am sorry to keep punctuating my right hon. Friend's speech, but would he cause one of the Law Officers of the Crown to be present to give an opinion on this matter, which is of critical importance and which has happened since our debates last week? It makes it abundantly clear that a statutory enactment is absolutely imperative in this field if the health of millions of smokers is properly to be safeguarded. If my right hon. Friend neglects this, he will be pilloried by all sections of professional opinion, including myself, both judicial and medical.

Sir K. Joseph

I am at great risk at this Box. Last week, it was disembowelling: this week it is pillorying. I think that my hon. Friend was probably right to suggest that the House may want a legal opinion on this. It is a new development and I must see whether one of my right hon. and learned Friends can advise the House. We heard in the previous debate that both the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General are not available today, but I will certainly ask my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, who replied to the previous debate, whether he can make himself available to comment on this point.

Meanwhile, to return to the substance, there is no difference between my hon. Friend and the Government in our common desire to cut the suffering caused by cigarette smoking. My hon. Friend has dropped those provisions of his Bill which most made it differ from the voluntary agreement. There remain two differences between my hon. Friend and the Government. My hon. Friend has covered im- ports and the Government have not, because they are only half of one per cent. of consumption. There remains the big gulf between us. My hon. Friend says that the agreement will not be effective, that there must be law, sanctions and penalties. The Government believe that this is quite unnecessary.

I now speak to my hon. Friend as a colleague on the Conservative benches. He and I both believe in private enterprise. Here we have a situation in which the industry is willing voluntarily to do everything which the Government think is necessary for it to do at this stage to protect public health. Surely his philosophy and mine should be to allow private enterprise, where it is willing to comply with what the Government think is right for the public health, to do so willingly and without statutory obligation. Of course, if they were foolish enough to break their word, a totally different situation would develop.

Many of us have complained, on both sides, that there are already too many Statutes, and here my hon. Friend wishes to add a quite redundant one—

Sir G. Nabarro

No, not redundant—I am never redundant.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend is a very public-spirited man. He has now been persuaded that the additions which he sought on top of the voluntary agreement are no longer necessary. He has dropped all that divided him from the Government, except the point of sanctions—

Sir G. Nabarro

No, that is wrong. My right hon. Friend must not mislead the House. Will he please look at Clause 7? I give him the opportunity to consult it. It is entitled Discouragement of young persons from smoking". It was carried unanimously in Committee. There is nothing about the contents of Clause 7 in my right hon. Friend's voluntary agreement—

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)

On a point of order—

Sir G. Nabarro

May I just finish?

Would my right hon. Friend please admit that there is no part of Clause 7 in his voluntary agreement?

Mr. Cormack

On a point of order. Is it in order for my hon. Friend to refer to Clause 7, when he himself has put his name to an Amendment which would delete it from the Bill?

Sir G. Nabarro

Further to that point of order. Clause 7 has not yet been reached, and I will deal with that point when it is reached.

12 noon.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to Clause 7.

Mr. Speaker

Order. It might be helpful if I point out that in my view this debate should be as wide as possible.

Sir K. Joseph

Last Friday I accepted that although vending machines were not covered by the voluntary agreement and were not mentioned as one of the spheres for action the Government had in mind a few weeks ago, such has been the strength of argument in this respect, both here and in another place, that I accept, on behalf of the Government, the need to look carefully at the question of vending machines which are available to school children.

I will not go into the whole of Clause 7 now because there will be a chance of debating it later. Nevertheless, I come to the crux of this part of our consideration and I appeal to my hon. Friend, as a public-spirited man—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I apologise for interrupting the right hon. Gentleman and I do so only because he said that there would be an opportunity later to debate Clause 7. In fact, Clause 7 is being debated with the new Clause.

Sir K. Joseph

I am grateful for that reminder, Mr. Speaker, and obviously this is the occasion when it would be appropriate to argue whether Clause 7 should be in the Bill.

The Government accept the need to consider whether something should be done to make cigarettes less accessible to school children by way of vending machines. We will need to study the position. The first information I have is that only a small fraction of the cigarettes which reach children actually reach them by way of vending machines. However, I have undertaken that the Government will study this aspect and, if necessary, come forward with proposals.

I come to the climax of my remarks and, in the situation we have now reached, where there is so little between us, I must put to my hon. Friend the point which I put when the Government first announced their reactions to the Report of the Royal College of Physicians. I ask my hon. Friend, solemnly and in the interests of getting on with the health warnings we all want to see, to do what he has power to do, and that is to withdraw his Bill.

Dr. Shirley Summerskill (Halifax)

The proceedings relating to this Bill, both in Committee and on the Floor of the House, have so far been a good illustration of how some hon. Members, and even the Secretary of State, can make a simple, well-meaning proposal to legislate for health warnings appear complicated, unnecessary and, in the right hon. Gentleman's words, actively mischievous.

I admire them for their ability to do this, particularly as it can lead on to an extensive discussion of every possible difficulty that might arise. However, with a private Bill time is a very precious commodity. A plethora of Amendments have been tabled, yet in all the discussion no hon. Member has so far said that he will vote against the Bill.

Sir G. Nabarro

Hear, hear.

Dr. Summerskill

In the last few weeks I have been fascinated by the political flirtation between the sponsor of the Bill and the Secretary of State. Of the two participants, the sponsor has been dedicated, courageous, persistent and more ready to yield and co-operate—and finally, last week, we were glad to see their names locked together on the Notice Paper. But then the right hon. Gentleman tantalisingly informed us that he did not want his hon. Friend's Bill. Apparently he does not want to legislate because, he believes, the voluntary agreement will suffice. We are, therefore, back to where we started.

The whole House agrees that some action must be taken to reduce cigarette smoking, particularly among young people. The frightening statistics of illness and death caused by smoking mean that some immediate action is essential, and this action should take the form of the most important public health Measure to be introduced into this country for many years.

The crisis is of such medical and social importance that not only the Government but Parliament must be seen to give a firm lead. We must legislate to protect the individual and reduce the number of tobacco deaths. Successive Governments have been admittedly too weak in this respect, but now not only the Minister of the day and not only the Government but Parliament has a duty to set an example to teachers, the medical profession, the communications media, parents and young people. It is only if we legislate that we can be seen by these people to be taking this matter seriously.

The Report of the Royal College of Physicians, which is continually mentioned in our discussions, summarises its findings by saying that we must legislate. If, therefore, we are to take proper note of the Report, let us, above all, take note of its conclusions and agree that legislation is necessary. The B.M.A., through its journal, has also said that legislation is necessary and has criticised the Government's attitude as being a weak approach to a serious problem.

Sir K. Joseph

Would the hon. Lady tell the House what the B.M.A. wants that cannot be achieved by the voluntary agreement, assuming that the agreement is effective?

Sir G. Nabarro

It wants legislation.

Dr. Summerskill

If the right hon. Gentleman will read one of the main editorials in the British Medical Journal recently he will see listed broadly the recommendations of the Royal College of Physicians' Report. The B.M.A. wants legislation. The Royal College and the B.M.A. are, therefore, at one in this matter of legislation.

Sir K. Joseph

I have announced, on behalf of the Government, that all the rest of the Royal College of Physicians' recommendations are being studied by the Government on the direct instructions of the Prime Minister. When we have completed that study we shall announce what further needs to be done.

Dr. Summerskill

I am pleased to hear that and I hope that the report will not be too long delayed.

Nevertheless, the Government have been in an extraordinary hurry to legis- late on, for example, higher prescription charges. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may think this a red herring, but it is extremely relevant in that prescription charges tax the sick. In my view they act as a deterrent. Yet with this sort of Measure, which is essentially a facet of preventive medicine, we are having to goad and coax the Government into introducing any sort of legislation to save lives.

Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)

It is understandable that, from the Opposition benches, the hon. Lady has a natural predisposition in favour of legislation, which she will not necessarily expect us to accept. The argument which she must meet is my right hon. Friend's comment that legislation would have the effect of delaying what can be achieved by a voluntary agreement.

Dr. Summerskill

I deny that I have a natural predisposition to legislation any more than that possessed by other hon. Members. Nobody wants to legislate simply for the sake of it. The hon. Gentleman cannot divide the House into legislators on this side and anti-legislators on the benches opposite. What he says has not been my impression in recent months.

Secondly, on the subject of delay, the important point is that we should have a Measure which is enforceable. It is no good bringing in—I never knew there was such haste for action on the part of hon. Members opposite—a Measure intended simply to speed things up and to get on if it is not to be effective. We should like to see legislation which is both urgent and effective. As I have just pointed out, the Government were very quick to put on higher prescription charges: if they wanted to do something in the present matter they could bring in a Bill at the end of next week.

The right hon. Gentleman has said: We cannot be wet nurses to every citizen. I note very carefully everything that the right hon. Gentleman ever says in public: Nor can we enforce legislation that is not socially acceptable."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1578.] This Measure is intended to protect the citizen, not to be his wet nurse. I also believe that social legislation in this matter would be welcomed by the public and would be socially acceptable. The public would have far more trust in and far more respect for a law passed by Parliament than in a gentleman's agreement between the Minister and the faceless tobacco moguls—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I am quite certain that that is how the public will view the agreement.

Sir K. Joseph

Then why did one of my predecessors, the hon. Lady's right hon. Friend, Mr. Kenneth Robinson, seek to enter into a voluntary agreement on behalf of her own party's Government with the same faceless moguls—an effort which, in the end, did not come to anything?

Dr. Summerskill

As the right hon. Gentleman said, my right hon. Friend spent two years trying to persuade the faceless moguls to come to an agreement, and was totally unsuccessful. That shows the lack of co-operation he got when he tried. I do not know what blandishments the right hon. Gentleman used, but obviously this Report helped him to get some agreement with them. I can only show the history of non-co-operation by the tobacco companies in this matter—

Sir K. Joseph

No. Surely the conclusion is that when her right hon. Friend, on behalf of her own party, failed to get an agreement at that time, her Government did not bring in any legislation, yet the hon. Lady, speaking from the Opposition Front Bench on behalf of her party, is asking for legislation when the present Government have immediately got the agreement of the industry on what we want.

Dr. Summerskill

I agree that the last successive Governments have not legislated and that they have been weak in this respect. On the other hand, the present Government have behind them the great strength of the Royal College of Physicians' Report. I think that they also have behind them public opinion, which is now ready for legislation. I admit that up to now the public have not accepted that legislation is needed, and I also feel that even the doctors themselves have not until recently campaigned hard enough. So we have this Report to thank for any progress that is being made. It is one of the things that has got the Government of the day and the public to do something.

Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

There seems to be some confusion as to the difference between legislation and action. When the professional bodies talked about legislation they were thinking in the rather wider sense, and that would apply to the general public as well. What they want is action, but not necessarily hard-and-fast legislation.

Dr. Summerskill

None of us can generalise about what the public want but, as I said earlier, it is for the Government and Parliament to give a lead. Government by "nod and wink", which was the expression used in last week's debate, is not regarded by the public—which, after all, elect Parliament to act on their behalf—as a strong form of Government.

Sir K. Joseph

I do not think that the hon. Lady can claim that the Royal College of Physicians' Report is a brand new and unique factor, because it is the second Report of the Royal College. Her Government could very well have acted, had they wished, on "Smoking And Health", which was published by the Royal College, and was just as clear about the dangers, as long ago as 1962.

Dr. Summerskill

I agree that doctors and enlightened people were already convinced about the dangers of smoking when Doll and Hill reported. This is a very old subject for many people, but for others it is new. The leaders of the tobacco companies themselves—I talked to them a few years ago—would not even accept that there was a link between smoking, disease and death even though, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, there had been the previous Report. It is only now, with this latest Report, that we have got to the point, among the tobacco companies and among the general public, at which there is general agreement that there is a link between smoking, disease and death, and we now proceed from there—

Dr. Stuttaford

Does the hon. Lady agree that the latest Report stresses far more that the link is not only with carcinoma of the lung, and that this is the marked difference between the two Reports. This Report shows that by smoking we may well be killing ourselves in other ways.

Dr. Summerskill

I certainly agree.

The right hon. Gentleman has repeatedly extolled the virtues of private enterprise. He uses the fact that he is dealing with a small, definable number of tobacco manufactures, only three of them of significance, as an argument in favour of his non-intervention. But are these people to be immune from the ordinary processes of the law? This is not a desirable principle to follow, as has been well pointed out by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) who will, I hope, catch your eye, Mr. Speaker.

It will be recalled that in dealing in recent legislation with trade unionists, which occupied a great deal of our time, the Government were very eager to add another Statute to the overcrowded Statute Book. They were very eager to interfere with individual liberties, and they were very eager to condemn the principle of voluntary agreements in relation to trade unionists. They pressed the virtues of legislation and were even prepared to impose penalties—all the very things that the right hon. Gentleman said this morning are so undesirable. Here we are dealing not with strikes and industrial relations but literally with life and death. Yet we have a total reversal of the principles extolled by the right hon. Gentleman.

It would have been preferable had the agreement with the companies, printed in yesterday's OFFICIAL REPORT, been given a little more publicity in the Press and among the public. It seems wrong that this code should have been drawn up between the Minister and the tobacco companies with Parliament having no voice at all. If the Bill does not go through we shall have apparently spent many fruitless hours in Standing Committee talking in great detail about whether the label should be inside the packet or outside; on the cigarette; on the tin; under the box or on top of the box; what size it should be; whether there should be a picture of the sponsor, and so on. We shall find, if the Bill does not go through, that all this has been decided in private conversation between the right hon. Gentleman and a few tobacco directors, without Parliament having any voice at all in the matter. I hope that it will be noted that the Government and the tobacco companies have vested in- terests in smoking; because the Government rely very greatly on the revenue from tobacco and the companies, being business men, think constantly of the profits that they will make or that they want to make. It was wrong of the Government and the tobacco companies to reach an agreement over the heads of the elected representatives of the people on such a vitally important matter.

When a few years ago I spoke to the tobacco companies they would not even recognise that there was a link between what they were doing—supplying cigarettes—and the fact that cigarettes can cause disease and death. Why have the tobacco companies always resisted a tobacco agreement with the Minister of Health under a Labour Government? They resisted that for two years and that Minister could not get anywhere. Now the companies are apparently resisting legislation. What have they to protect that they do not want—

Sir G. Nabarro

The hon. Lady has just made a most important statement. Is it the fact—I was not aware that it was—that the tobacco companies resisted legislation or any agreement under the Labour Government between 1964 and 1970? If so, why has this fact not been revealed earlier.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sorry if I misled the House. What I was trying to say was what the Secretary of State said earlier—that Mr. Kenneth Robinson had talks with the tobacco companies to try to reach a voluntary agreement but failed; so presumably if Mr. Robinson could not reach a voluntary agreement he certainly would not have been able to get the companies' agreement to legislation.

Sir G. Nabarro

Is it not the fact that the tobacco companies have reached their voluntary agreement with my right hon. Friend only because of this Bill? If this Bill had not been introduced and given a First Reading on 15th December last, there would have been no voluntary agreement or any other kind of agreement with the tobacco companies.

Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Lady has made a most important point. She has suggested that the tobacco manufacturers have resisted legislation. It does not lie in anybody's power to resist legislation if the Government backed by Parliament wish to pass legislation. I explained to the House that the tobacco manufacturers, in their own enlightened self-interest, could read the signs of the times having read the Second Report of the Royal College of Physicians. Before my hon. Friend tabled his Bill the manufacturers had willingly entered into discussions with me on a voluntary agreement.

Dr. Summerskill

As the manufacturers were unwilling to have a voluntary agreement with Mr. Robinson, I assumed that they had not been favourable to legislation. What their attitude now is with the right hon. Gentleman only he knows: he has had the talks with the manufacturers. What their private attitude is to legislation the Secretary of State could no doubt tell the House better than I could.

The manufacturers must think of their profits. My view is that their past history on this whole subject is not a very enlightened one. They spend £50 million a year advertising the advantages of smoking. That is their job. It is not asking much to request that they should put a small warning at the bottom of their advertisements. They might object if they were asked to make the warning as large as the advertisement or the advertisement as small as the warning.

The Secretary of State said that the noble Lord, Lord Platt, had made a very significant speech in the other place. The noble Lord distrusts the tobacco companies, if "distrusts" is an appropriate word—

Sir K. Joseph indicated assent.

Dr. Summerskill

—because he recalls the way in which they have behaved over previous assurances about advertising. As far as I can see, as a reader of newspapers and magazines, the tobacco advertisements seem to be getting bigger, more colourful and more numerous than ever. They are certainly appealing to young people, and to young women in particular, because the tobacco companies have found that women are not smoking as much as men, but now the figures of smoking for women are on the increase.

The right hon. Gentleman has said that there is a wide gap between Lord Platt and the industry. If I had to choose between the views of Lord Platt, who is a very esteemed physician, and those of the industry, which after all has a vested interest in smoking, I should prefer to take the views of Lord Platt who has no axe to grind in the matter.

I was not very persuaded by the right hon. Gentleman's many arguments against legislation this morning, when he almost seemed to be looking for every possible small difficulty which might stand in the way of legislation. He admits that the voluntary agreement might not bite.

Sir K. Joseph

I do not. I say that it will be self-policing and effective.

Dr. Summerskill

The OFFICIAL REPORT shows that last week the right hon. Gentleman said that there was a possibility that the voluntary agreement might not bite. The right hon. Gentleman's word was "bite".

Sir K. Joseph

I was meeting fair and square the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South and the case that a voluntary agreement, as opposed to law, might not bite. I did not accept that the voluntary agreement was likely not to bite.

Dr. Summerskill

I remind the Secretary of State that in some American States the voluntary agreement had to be abandoned and legislation introduced.

Mr. Cormack

The hon. Lady has talked at some length about advertisements. An Amendment standing in the names of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South is designed to delete Clause 3, which would remove the provision about a statement of health hazards on all advertisements. Where does the hon. Lady stand on this? Does she intend to support the deletion of Clause 3 or its retention?

Dr. Summerskill

The banning of advertisements is part of the recommendations of the Royal College of Physicians. Obviously that is a final action which can be taken and which will have to be studied by the inter-departmental group which the Prime Minister has set up. My personal and private view—not from the Front Bench—is that all advertisements should be banned.

Mr. Skeet

I see the hon. Lady's point. The banning of advertisements would have a great effect as regards children. However, if it is legal to sell tobacco, should a company be denied the right to advertise its own goods? I seek to preserve this right, because if such a ban were applied to tobacco it would have to be extended to everything else which was dangerous. Who is to say what is dangerous?

Dr. Summerskill

A parallel can be drawn between, say, tobacco, which is legal, and anything else which is dangerous and unpleasant and which is also legal but which we do not wish to be promoted. There is the problem that private enterprise has a right to advertise and it would be a precedent if advertising were to be banned. However, faced with deaths and disease of this magnitude we must consider establishing a precedent as a public health measure.

Mr. Skeet

The hon. Lady will probably appreciate that people who drink too much whisky will probably kill themselves. The good rule should be—"Take nothing to excess". People who eat too much can eliminate themselves. We must be careful about carrying this argument too far.

Dr. Summerskill

I warmly welcome the Secretary of State's measures for a television campaign. It is refreshing that there are no tobacco advertisements on television. At least there will be some counter-education on television which tobacco manufacturers cannot cancel with their own advertisements.

It would be extremely unfortunate if this Bill, which is sponsored with such good intention, were talked out so that the public felt that Parliament could not see its way to legislate on this important social problem.

Sir G. Nabarro

Hear, hear.

Dr. Summerskill

The public would regard Parliament as not having that will to act on this important subject. It is a very small thing that is being proposed, when one considers all the other proposals in the Royal College of Physicians' Report which we must think about implementing. This would be a minor start in tackling a major and very serious crisis in medicine which this country is facing.

12.30 p.m.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

I begin by apologising to you, Mr. Speaker, to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and to the House in general that I was not in my place when the debate started, for a reason which I have communicated to you. But it will be within the recollection of hon. Members present that I was here throughout the proceedings last Friday.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill), who always addresses the House with charm and clarity. Today was no exception. It is a personal pleasure for me to see her at the Dispatch Box, more particularly when I recall that her distinguished mother used to speak from that Box, and I from the Dispatch Box on this side of the House, about 12 years ago in constructive, keen but always agreeable controversy on the great issues of health.

I want to deal with what my right hon. Friend defined last Friday as the main issue—that is to say, the means by which we should pursue what is, I think, now an agreed end—that is to say, whether it is appropriate to pursue the legislative path or the path of voluntary agreement.

May I begin by referring to the background of these matters, and particularly to my own participation therein. If it does not sound too antediluvian to say so, I became Minister of Health in 1957 and served in that office for three years. Even in those days, much preoccupied as we were with matters like the Mental Health Bill, the great effort to achieve immunisation from the scourge of poliomyelitis and those matters which dominated our thinking in those days, nevertheless we were profoundly concerned with the problem which we are discussing today.

At that time we had already, and had had for a few years, the benefit of the Doll and Hill Report and the corresponding report of the same sort of vintage on the other side of the Atlantic, which I think was called the Wynder and Graham Report. Therefore, the evidence was already making an impact and causing concern at that time.

If I may give one perhaps rather graphic illustration from a very distinguished predecessor of mine in the Ministry of Health in the 1950s, I am credibly informed that the late lain Macleod when he came to the Ministry was himself quite a heavy cigarette smoker, but when, with his acute mind and discerning intelligence, he had had the opportunity to study the evidence, he smoked no more. In those days in the late 1950s we were actively considering this matter. We were actively pursuing remedies—remedies, indeed, in the context of what is suggested is now sufficient: publicity, persuasion, education and the like. Then, after I had left the Ministry, there followed in 1962 the first Report of the Royal College of Physicians, of which I think Lord Platt was the chairman—that distinguished medical statesman whose sage guidance we have valued so much.

So between the 1950s and today we have a long history of mounting evidence and non-statutory endeavour. What is the result? Still thousands of deaths from lung cancer of which the prime cause is smoking, and, I believe, it is the only preventable internal cancer. So the position is this, is it not?—It is preventable. We are not preventing it.

The conclusion, therefore, is clear, that something must be done, and the only question is what that something should be. I submit that one factor in the choice of the right means must be this long history of accumulating knowledge but insufficient progress. When we ask ourselves the main question—should it be legislation or should it be further non-statutory effort?—we must have these things in mind. For myself I believe that the time has come for statutory action in this matter and that it is impossible against the background of the history of the matter to say that it would be either premature or unnecessary.

In saying that, I must add that I have great respect for the views of some of my hon. Friends, and it may be of hon. Members opposite, too, in their desire not to proceed by legislation if there is some other method, and I share their concern to limit and where possible avoid the incursion of government into the lives of citizens. I respect the views of my hon. Friends and I should like to make specific mention of one of them, my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry) with his long practical experience, whose wise counsel and sage guidance I value very much in all matters. [Interruption.] There must always be an exception to prove the rule. But I do not despair of my hon. Friend. After all, "there is more joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth". I should like to occupy a moment or two in seeking to put these matters in perspective for the assistance of my hon. Friend.

Sir Ronald Kaberry (Leeds, North-West)

Will my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) forgive my responding to that wonderful flattery which I feel somehow was intended to secure—[AN HON. MEMBER: "To seduce the hon. Gentleman."] Is not the logic of what he is saying, "Stop all manufacture of tobacco; ban everything and be done with it"? Is it as simple as that, and would my right hon. and learned Friend like to devote a few moments to that point?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

Of course I will. I would always respond to any such invitation from my hon. Friend. I do so the more readily because it is the point which, in any event, I was about to develop.

The difference is clear and it emphasises the limited nature of the proposed so-called Government interference in this context. Of course, the prohibition of the sale of tobacco would be an extreme step and a serious inroad into the life of the citizen. But nothing of the sort is proposed. All that is proposed is a statutory process of warning, and that is part of the basic duty of government particularly in the sphere of health. It is, in fact, no more than an application and an extension of the principle which underlies the whole of our pharmaceutical legislation, our food and drugs legislation and the like—fundamentally the principle that vendors are under a duty to inform purchasers of the nature and content of the commodity that they ofler, in particular if it has any inherently dangerous content.

There is nothing grandmotherly or dictatorial in that. Parliament has been passing legislation of that kind for generations. It is not even open to the charge that it ascribes superior wisdom to the Government on the basis that the gentlemen in Whitehall know best. It is not suggested that they have superior wisdom in that sense. What they have is more knowledge, and they have more knowledge because they have more information. The information does not come from bureaucratic sources; it comes from professional and scientific sources, and the Government are under a duty to see that it is communicated to the consumer in a clear form. Plainly, there is nothing in the performance of that basic duty—and that alone is what is imposed by the Bill—which derogates from individual liberty or contravenes constitutional principle.

It is suggested, in effect, that liberty demands that the State should not prevent people, as it were, going to hell in their own way. That was the tenor of much of the argument which we heard last Friday. But, with respect, that line of argument overlooks two material considerations. The first is the impact of the matter on the National Health Service itself. If, by a course of conduct, people lead to a situation in which they impose additional strain on the limited resources of the National Health Service, of course it is a matter of concern for the public because, those resources being limited—and every former Minister of Health knows just how limited—if there is a building up in the number of lung cancer cases, their treatment must involve a diversion of resources from something else. Therefore, it is a public matter and not only a matter of concern to the individual.

The other consideration in this context is that smoking and the effects of it are not relevant only in the context of the smoker. That may be true in the case of lung cancer, but(as my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) observed in an intervention during the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax, lung cancer is not the only matter involved. Taking into account other things, and, in particular, the atmospheric pollution effects on bronchitic diseases, it is of concern to others; it is directly of concern not only to the smoker but to people within, as it were, the target area of his operations.

12.45 p.m.

These considerations are enormously important. Bronchitis is known as the English disease, with enormous incidence, considerable morbidity and not a little mortality, together with inconvenience and distress, and great economic loss to the nation. I cannot, therefore, go along with the suggestion that, even in the context of health, apart from economics, there is not a wider interest than that solely of the individual.

There is, therefore, no reason of principle against legislation in this field and no constitutional inhibition against it. We come then to the question whether it is desirable. Last Friday, my right hon. Friend observed, Nor can we enforce legislation that is not socially acceptable".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1578.] I agree entitrely with that proposition. The art of timing, the art of assessing the acceptability of action, is an important part of political skill. If I may say so, it is a skill which my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro), among his many other qualities, has in a marked degree—the sort of parliamentary equivalent of what Cavour called, "Le tact des chosen possibles". My hon. Friend showed it in his valuable Clean Air Bill, and I think that he has rightly judged the acceptability of this legislation, too.

Sir G. Nabarro

Would my right hon. and learned Friend translate that for me?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

My hon. Friend has perhaps spent so much time on his public duties as not to acquire the rudiments of that tongue. I think that "The art of the possible" would do as a translation.

I come then to the question: if legislation is the constitutionally appropriate method, what is the case for a voluntary agreement? On this, with respect, the onus must lie with my right hon. Friend, because it is an exceptional approach. The normal approach is by legislation and by normal process of law. One has to ask, therefore, what is the distinguishing factor here which justifies a deviation from the normal? It cannot be justified on the time factor, for the reasons which I have already given. It cannot be justified on the ground that there has not been every opportunity for non-statutory remedies to work, if work they can. It cannot be justified by saying that an agreement would be binding.

My right hon. Friend says that a voluntary agreement would be effective and self-policing. But it would not be legally enforceable. There is no question of that. The party making it is not a legal entity. It could not be subject to the processes of enforcement, to actions for specific performance, injunction or the like. I do not for a moment say that the tobacco industry would not want to keep the agreement. I do not associate myself with observations about "faceless moguls" or the like. I know that Lord Platt had some hard things to say in the other place, as my right hon. Friend reminded us, but, for myself, I am happy to assume that the tobacco manufacturers would want to keep the agreement. What is clear, however, is that they could not be compelled to do so.

As a House of Commons, therefore, we have to ask ourselves whether that would be enough, and, when we come to that question, we must have some regard to the context of this parliamentary Session. I have myself filled a good many columns in HANSARD in the last few months, and my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Employment and the Solicitor-General have filled many more, in arguing the desirability of legally enforceable agreements in another collective context. How, then, with the ink scarcely dry on those arguments in HANSARD, can the Government logically now say that in this case there should be a collective agreement which will not be legally enforceable?

Mr. Cormack

Will my right hon. and learned Friend give way?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

Yes, but time is getting on.

Mr. Cormack

I am much obliged. All of us, I am sure, are greatly impressed by what my right hon. and learned Friend says, but, surely, we can give the voluntary agreement time to work. Why not give it a chance? The Government stepped in to deal with industrial relations because it was necessary to step in; there was a manifest need. The armoury will remain, the weapons will be the same, if the voluntary agreement negotiated by my right hon. Friend is not honoured. Legislation will remain a weapon which can be used by the Government.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

It was partly for that reason that I began my speech by explaining something of the background and history of this matter. It has all been going on for a long time, and the position is not getting any better. Therefore, the case cannot be made that, exceptionally, one should here apply the method of a legally unenforceable agreement in preference to the normal constitutional statutory approach of legislation.

There is this further difficulty, which I ventured to point out to my right hon. Friend last Friday when he commended the idea of agreement in this case on the ground that there are only two or three companies involved. As I pointed out then that is really an impossible position for any Government to take up. A Government cannot say that an industry can avoid legislation by creating monopoly or near monopoly conditions. That would be an inducement to monopoly and clearly contrary to public policy.

I respect my right hon. Friend's approach in seeking to find other ways of dealing with this matter if he can. Now he has done what he can and what he should, but after parliamentary examination of the proposition and of the possibilities of voluntary agreement—and after all it is one of the prime functions of Parliament to put these things under the microscope—then my right hon. Friend's exceptionally acute mind and keen intelligence will see the flaws and fallacies in the approach of voluntary agreement and, like the good constitutionalist he is, he will accept a statutory approach.

I wish to say a brief word about the form of warning. I believe the form of the warning should have these requisites—it should be clear, factually correct, pithy and arresting. I have a little experience of putting out these sort of warnings, more particularly in the case of the polio epidemic and the effort then to persuade the public voluntarily to accept immunisation.

Our warnings went largely disregarded, or at any rate to a fair extent, and stocks of the vaccine were piling up unused. Then fate intervened. A famous footballer of the day died of polio. This made an enormous impact on the minds of the young—the thought of this man struck down in the full flower of his manhood. That did far more than all the logical exhortations that the Minister of Health was able to make. The people flocked in for vaccination and our problem changed overnight from the difficulty of getting rid of the vaccine to the difficulty of seeing that we had sufficient stocks.

I mention that for two reasons, first to show the inherent difficulties of this matter and, secondly, to point out that there is a different position here. That sort of tragic event will not operate in this context. With smoking the effects are slow and cumulative, not instant and dramatic as with poliomyelitis. Therefore we need a constant stream of warnings which will, with its drip, drip, bring home the lesson because no more dramatic method is possible.

As to the phraseology of the words: Warning by Her Majesty's Government I think it would be better not specifically to incorporate a reference to the Government. Some such phrase as "official health warning" would possibly be much more acceptable and effective. On the other point at issue, for myself, I prefer the phrase "is harmful" to "can damage". I listened respectfully to what my right hon. Friend said about the words "your health". The fact is that in this context not only smokers are involved.

I would hope that when the Bill goes to another place it will be possible to find the best form of words. They are already exercising their ingenuity and I see that one noble Lady has suggested "Fags are fatal" as an appropriate warning to put upon the packet.

Sir K. Joseph

I must protect the copyright of my noble Friend the Minister of State in my Department who threw that out as one possibility.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

It is also in the speech of the noble Lady, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, I think.

Sir K. Joseph

She quoted it.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

I am sure that no jealousy of copyright would come into this. This is a possibility and I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for saying that it came from the imaginative ingenuity of his own Department.

I hope that this Bill will get its passage. It will not work a miracle of itself, but I believe it will be an important ingredient in the extensive programme of action referred to by my right hon. Friend. The programme will, I hope, include early and positive action to restrict smoking in public transport, in places of assembly and the like. The Bill should be a valuable reinforcement of the work that my right hon. Friend properly has in hand. I congratulate my hon. Friend for his initiative in bringing forward the Bill and respectfully commend its provisions to the House.

Mr. Speaker

I wish to correct something I said earlier. I intervened in the speech of the Secretary of State to say that Clause 7 was being discussed at the present time. I was wrong. It is new Clause 7 which is being discussed in this debate and the Amendment to delete Clause 7 is being debated with new Clause 13. I apologise to the House.

Mr. Michael Cocks (Bristol, South)

I have listened with great interest to the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), who has wide experience on these matters. I hope he will forgive me if I do not follow him too closely into the history of this matter because I have only been a Member of the House for less than a year. The first time I spoke in Committee on the Bill I declared my interest and it is only proper that I should do so again now.

I sit for the constituency of Bristol, South which contains the headquarters of the Imperial Tobacco Company and two cigarette factories and one cigar factory belonging to W.D. & H.O. Wills. There are 6,000 people working in this tobacco complex and 2,000 pensioners live in the area round the factories.

Bristol has been well known for tobacco since 1786 and the company has a very long record of benefaction and good work in Bristol. It has been criticised in the past for being paternalistic but it is now making every effort to break down the barriers which have existed between the staff and those on the factory floor. It is planning new developments in my division which I have discussed with it. It believes in the widest possible public consultation about new projects and I cannot recognise in the men to whom I have spoken the faceless moguls described by my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill).

They may be moguls, I did not probe too deeply into that, but they are certainly not faceless. Neither are the other people who work in the industry. Throughout the industry they are normal people trying to earn a good living and they are deeply worried about the whole question of smoking and health.

In the original statement by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State he paid tribute to the helpfulness and the responsibility of the industry during the negotiations which led to the statement about voluntary agreement. I am not in a position to discuss what has gone on in the past with the tobacco manufacturers, because I have only recently taken this close interest in the matter. My experience of the manufacturers is that their attitude does not square with that suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax. She says that she has not spoken to them for a few years and I feel that it is a pity that she did not approach them when this more recent report came out.

1.0 p.m.

Parts of my hon. Friend's speech produced comments which have been almost completely absent from our discussions up to now. This is particularly so in the case of advertisements. I have read the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Platt, in another place and of others about advertising. One noble Lord mentioned the voluntary code which the industry had adopted. He was strongly attacked by the following speaker, who described an advertisement which had appeared in a newspaper which she named. The House of Commons Library was unable to trace this advertisement but it is apparent that it has appeared in the British Press and is for an American cigarette. We should be a little discriminating in our references to advertising because a large number of foreign brands of cigarettes are displayed in our magazines and other journals.

I am sure that the Government would agree that the industry itself, through its sponsorship of the Tobacco Research Council, has produced a great deal of the evidence upon which we are now trying to form a basis of action. It has been a great pleasure to me to see the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) at close quarters over a period of time. Shortly after I came to this House, we had a debate about whether the time for ten-minue rule Bills should be moved from the afternon towards the end of the sitting. The hon. Gentleman spoke vigorously about the opportunities afforded to a back bencher to put forward legislation and obtain a great deal of valuable propaganda for it even if it did not come finally to fruition. To see such a great exponent in action so early in my parliamentary career has been a useful and valuable experience.

The Clause deals with the question of cigarettes only, and I welcome the conversion of the hon. Gentleman to a point of view which I pressed in Committee—that cigars and pipes should be excluded from the Bill. The hon. Gentleman resisted this very strongly indeed; he was a hard nut to crack. But he is now shattered. I do not claim for myself the responsibility for cracking him, but he has accepted that these provisions should apply to cigarettes only.

This all boils down to the question of the degree of risk. On the first Amendment which I moved in Committee, I made the point that, as far as we can judge at the moment on all the evidence available, the degree of risk involved in pipe and cigar smoking is substantially less than the risk in cigarettes. I pointed out that a recent study on the Continent had indicated an opposite conclusion. I therefore quoted to the Committee the reported remarks of Dr. Charles Fletcher, who was closely associated with the Royal College of Physicians Report. I repeat them. He said: There are some people who can assess scientific evidence and some who can't. If 80 reports say that cigars and pipes are virtually harmless and one report says they are harmful—you must always look at the majority evidence. That is a valid comment in the present state of knowledge.

Dr. Stuttaford

If we had adopted that rule for thalidomide, we should still be having thalidomide tragedies all over the country.

Mr. Cocks

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, but I think that he is being a little naughty with the House, as he was earlier on in his previous intervention regarding the judgment about a chemical case which had to do with cancer of the bladder from the handling of certain aniline dyes. These were the result of specific substances which are known. In cigarette, pipe and cigar smoke there are thousands of constituents and the dosage received of each is extremely small. We are not even sure of the effects of a large number of them. Until we have done more work we cannot even really isolate in each the carcinogenic element. While I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's substantial medical knowledge, to which many elaborate tributes, which I share, have been paid, he has introduced, in my view, perhaps not a specious argument but certainly a much simplified one into our deliberations.

There is, as far as we know, a substantially reduced risk in the smoking of pipes and cigars. The Royal College Report makes the same point in several places. In his speech last Friday—I very much enjoyed it—the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South told us that he was not very much concerned with the inveterate smoker. He added that both he and his fellow sponsors had no great interest in trying to dissuade inveterate smokers of adult years. That to some extent illustrates the difference between his approach and mine. I am not prepared to write off over 20 million people in this country who are now smoking, for we have to recognise that all the evidence from this country and others shows that a substantial number of people will go on smoking. The Secretary of State made that same point last Friday.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) made an interesting point about poliomyelitis and the way in which one dramatic incident impinged on public consciousness and caused a great change in behaviour. The general public by and large is very aware of the health hazard. The House will recall that in the Chepstow area a few years ago there was an outbreak of liver fluke. There were 14 to 20 cases. It was due to unwashed watercress and the national consumption of watercress dropped by about 50 per cent. for several weeks afterwards. There was a similar nationwide response when the whole question of corned beef and typhoid was brought up in the Aberdeen outbreak some years ago.

So the general public is very conscious of this sort of thing. We have to face the fact that smoking is an extremely difficult habit to give up. There are various examples in the literature of clinics which people have attended. One of them is run by the Surrey County Council. It is known that 80 per cent. of the people who have attended that clinic have returned to smoking after a period of some 20 months. All the evidence we have at the moment is that a substantial number of people will carry on with this habit. How are we going to help them? I do not agree that we should write them off and say that if they are unable to give it up that is their own look-out.

I believe that we can help them substantially, because the Royal College report and others show that there is a strong relationship between the amount of smoking and in particular the dosage of tar and nicotine and the incidence of disease. I believe that we have a duty to try and steer those who continue smoking towards less dangerous smoking habits. The Royal College Report makes a number of suggestions as to how this should be done. It is a pity that some of these suggestions have not had as much publicity as they might have done.

It may be unfortunate, but such has been the crusading zeal among hon. Members in this matter, that when one says that one is concerned with the Bill, people ask, "Are you for it, or against it?" That is a grotesque over-simplication of the matter. There is evidence, for example from Austria, that when people are given information about tar and nicotine content, they will switch their smoking habits into channels which carry less risk.

I therefore particularly welcome subsection (3), which gives the Secretary of State power to change the wording from time to time, because as we progress, the Secretary of State may well feel that one from of product, one type of cigarette, carries a substantially lower risk, and he may wish to indicate that to the general public. I welcome the flexibility and I welcome his statement about league tables. League tables are something we all understand. Indeed, during the last few weeks, some of us have had some harrowing moments looking at them and seeing how a particular evening match with a resulting goal average could result in changes in position of our local favourite team, and I shall not mention Bristol City, because it would be quite wrong to draw attention to one club in a debate of this sort.

However, I hope that in the context of the Clause the Secretary of State envisages some sort of ranking order, because some 20 brands of cigarettes on the British market take up 95 per cent. of the cigarettes smoked, which is a very large majority. If the Secretary of State were to give information to the public in rank order showing the tar content, for instance, the general public would be able to decide for itself and the manufacturers would have an extremely strong incentive to improve their place in the league table and to make cigarettes in which the dosage was even less.

The Secretary of State extolled the virtues of private enterprise. He will appreciate that I have a different political philosophy and do not embrace private enterprise with quite the rapture that he has. But one thing which emerged from the Committee stage of the Bill was the great difficulty of legislating precisely on this sort of matter. The Committee spent a long time with an Amendment of the hon. Member for Leeds, North-West (Sir D. Kaberry) about the labelling of cigar boxes.

I showed the Committee two packets of United States cigarettes, one with the earlier agreed warning and the other with the later agreed warning, the wording of which was stronger, although, because of colour schemes and so on, it left the earlier and weaker warning with the much more effective visual impact. It is difficult to get this sort of thing done properly unless co-operation is forthcoming. Experience has shown me that it is much better to get the spirit of an agreement than the letter of the law. As the Secretary of State has said, if an agreement is not honoured, we shall plainly have to think again, but if we are to have legislation, the new Clause embodies it as well as is possible. The forum of manufacturers and scientists will be most important, because it will give the industry a framework within which to work.

1.15 p.m.

Sir G. Nabarro

The hon. Gentleman will not wish to mislead the House. The comprehensive discussion which we had in Standing Committee C about the applicability of these health warnings and their scope and whether they should be applied to cigarettes, or, as the Bill originally required, to all tobacco products, hinged on the relative health hazards of cigarettes on the one hand and, on the other, cigars, tobacco and other tobacco products. It was finally voted on by the Committee in Division No. 2—c. 49–50 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th March—when the hon. Member and only two others voted for cigarettes only, whereas the overwhelming majority of the Committee, the other 11 Members present, voted for the health warnings being applied to cigarettes and all tobacco products. That has been reversed by the new Clause now only because the Minister has insisted on cigarettes only. I have accepted 87½ per cent. of the cake, being the total of cigarettes sold, as better than no cake. That has nothing to do with the technical difficulties of labelling cigars.

Mr. Cocks

I apologise if I inadvertently misled the House about the proceedings in Committee. As the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South says, the Amendment relating to cigarettes was lost on a Division. As I said earlier, I welcome the hon. Gentleman's conversion, even if it is on the ground, as he said, that 87½per cent. of the market is well worth having.

We have to try to strike some sort of balance. It is true that there is a risk in everything we do, and I have quoted the booklet issued by the British Medical Association, which advises middle-aged and elderly men, such as myself, not to have more than three eggs a week because of the dangers of a heart attack, and I finished by suggesting that there might be a warning label on eggs to replace the lion we once had.

We have to strike a balance and to find a position between extremely frightened people and those who are ignorant of the facts. To frighten people too much would be counter-productive, because it would produce the sort of fatalism which makes people say, "You have to die of something and it will be a long time yet". That is the sort of attitude which is induced by over exaggeration. On the other hand, we have to ensure that people understand that if they change their smoking habits into the way suggested, while they will not eliminate the risk, they will reduce it, and the extent to which they reduce it they may decide for themselves. Somewhere between the two extremes the Clause finds a way, and I shall therefore support it.

1.15 p.m.

Mr. Cormack

I should like to begin in the same spirit as the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) and pay a sincere tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) for making sure that this subject is sufficiently aired. My hon. Friend has been a little less than fair to some of us and he accused me of intervening 19 times on the Welsh National Opera Bill in order to delay the passage of this Bill. He did not recognise my deep cultural interest in those matters and nor did he count properly, for it was not 19 but ten times and, for an hon. Member so renowned for his statistical accuracy, that was unfortunate. However, I pay my well deserved tribute to what he has done.

I happen to believe that co-operation is better than compulsion. The reason that I am taking such a close interest in this Bill and have added my name to one of the Amendments is that, if the House should decide that there should be such a Bill—and it is a matter for the House—I want it to be a tidy piece of legislation. Last week my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South accused the Secretary of State of embracing his principles, but to try to tidy the Bill is not necessarily the same as trying to embrace the sponsor or his principles.

We might profitably look this afternoon at the history of this vexed subject. Much has been said about the fact that this is pioneering legislation, that we are striking out on something new and that to harry or, as some would put it, though not I, to persecute the smoker by issuing health warnings, is a novel concept, or at any rate a concept belonging to the twentieth century. However, this is far from true. I have with me a quotation which I am sure will appeal to my hon. Friend because it luxuriates in the same sort of verbiage he finds attractive. It refers to smoking as A branch of the sin of drunkenness, which is the root of all sins. A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.

Sir G. Nabarro

But that sort of warning could not be printed on the side of a packet of 10 cigarettes.

Mr. Cormack

I am not suggesting that it should. If my hon. Friend contains himself—I know that he is not very good at containing himself, and we are accustomed to his outbursts—he will hear that that quotation puts the hon. Gentleman in strange company. It comes from James I who, apart from certain hirsute growth and indulgence in some fine language, had little else in common with the hon. Gentleman.

Despite this denunciation from the throne and a subsequent increase in the duty on tobacco, the popularity of smoking continued. It is a nice thought that it was largely due to the increase in popularity of smoking that England kept its hold on North America. In 1616 the first successful shipload of new Virginian tobacco was sent across the Atlantic. When the colonists asked for women to be sent out to them, their travelling expenses were paid by another shipment of tobacco. Had this not been the case, the colony might have died out and the history of the world might have been very different.

I turn to the history of harrying and persecution. Violent suppressive measures sprang up in innumerable countries from Denmark to Japan throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. In Turkey because smoking was not sanctioned by the Koran, it was only thought fit for "Christian dogs" and some offenders had pipes put through their noses and were led on mules through the streets. There was a Chinese decree in 1638 which threatened decapitation to anyone who trafficked in tobacco. Russian offenders were deported to Siberia and some czars submitted them to torture, even to death. In 1642 we had the famous Bull of Urban VIII, when the Pope talked about the growing level of the iniquitous habit of smoking in and around places of worship and threatened with excommunication those of the faithful who thus offended.

Yet these desperate decrees and measures only served to encourage men to smoke in secret. Such decrees began to disappear when rulers realised how tobacco duties could enrich their royal treasuries. Even James I, before he died in 1625, reached the conclusion that there was something in this. By 1639 tobacco was cultivated in 12 English counties, including, I am told on good authority, Worcestershire, South. Cromwell himself was lenient towards those who smoked.

Orders were hard to enforce when they were on the Statute Book and when officers were sent by the Privy Council to enforce them we read about some splendid scenes of resistance. Pepys, writing of the inhabitants of Winchcombe in Gloucestershire, which is a neightbouring county of Worcestershire, said that they did not only offer violence but had like to have slain the sheriff, giving out they would lose their lives rather than obey the laws in that case provided". Smoking thus maintained its hold on English peers and squires and Members of Parliament, parsons, labourers and even women.

Dr. Stuttaford

Which Clause are we debating at the moment?

Mr. Cormack

It is very important in this Chamber to set a matter of such tremendous importance in its right historical context and I am guided by what was said by Mr. Deputy Speaker last week when he thought a fairly wide-ranging debate would be allowed and would be beneficial to the House. I hope that a little later I shall come on to medical statistics in due course. We have the whole afternoon before us and there is ample time to expand.

Sir G. Nabarro

But whereas it is a time-hallowed parliamentary practice to try to filibuster at length, I wish my hon. Friend would come to the nub of the matter, which is the labelling of cigarette packets with health warnings. Although Winchcombe is six miles from my home, in the county of Gloucestershire, and is very well known to me, Winchcombe has no possible relationship to the labelling of cigarettes in the 1970s.

Mr. Cormack

I am sorry that my hon. Friend's well-known passionate devotion to history does not allow him to enjoy a short dissertation on the historical associations of this very interesting subject. It ill behoves my hon Friend, who last week took an hour to come to the nub of the problem, to criticise me when I have not been on my feet for 10 minutes.

Sir G. Nabarro

My hon. Friend is again wrong. I did not take an hour to come to the nub of the problem. I was responsible for moving five new Clauses and a large number of associated Amendments to establish the highest common factor of relationship and agreement between my right hon. Friend and myself. That is not taking an hour to come to the nub of the matter.

Mr. Cormack

One might say that the nub is in the eye of the beholder. But perhaps I may be allowed to continue. I know that not everybody is uninterested in these historic references. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) has come from that fine cathedral city because he knew I was going to give an account of these historic matters. It is right that we should talk about them here.

As I was saying when I was interrupted —and the interruption has merely served to lengthen my speech—in the eighteenth century it was the case that certain women enjoyed tobacco even if they had to smoke it in taverns. And indeed by the end of the seventeenth century smoking was not prohibited and had by then become encouraged. During the terrible year of the Plague in 1665 the boys of Eton were ordered to smoke to purge their lungs. When Pepys saw houses marked with ominous red crosses, he felt obliged to chew a roll of tobacco.

Let us proceed and go to the eighteenth century which was the age of snuff, when Beau Nash was forbidding smoking in the public places in Bath. Smoking still had a hold on many people, particularly those of literary sensibilities. One thinks of the writings of Fielding and Addison and also of the engravings and paintings of Hogarth. By the end of the eighteenth century, in 1773 in fact, Dr. Johnson was saying that smoking was going out and he added I cannot account why a thing which requires so little exertion yet preserves the mind from total vacuity should have gone out. Therefore, it is right we should set this matter in its historical context. I have been trying to describe to my hon. Friends and to those hon. Members opposite who survive, that this is a matter which has been in the public eye for a very long period of time and that people have been concerned about smoking.

I would like to refer in particular to the problem of health because, from what has been said in the Chamber in recent hours, one might have thought that the discovery of smoking being injurious to health was new. That is not so, because in 1621 Dr. Venner of Bath was saying that if a man wanted to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body he should not smoke. James I referred to the lungs. We have graphic accounts of Dutch surgeons performing anatomy lessons and showing their pupils the blackened lungs of corpses.

I know that there are others who are pregnant with speech and desparate to to deliver, but I must, before I sit down, refer to the Amendment in my name relating to chewing tobacco. This is a matter which has not been heard of in the Chamber, but it is of considerable importance, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will bear with me for a moment or two while I allow myself to expand on this subject.

Mr. Norman Fowler (Nottingham, South)

If the dangers were known as long ago as 1621, my hon. Friend's statement is giving weight to the case which says that there should be legislation. If we are saying that the dangers of tobacco were known 400 years ago, we have waited an unconscionable time for some action to be taken.

Mr. Cormack

The dangers have been discussed for all that time, but people have not taken notice of them. If we were debating prohibition, my hon. Friend would have a point. What we are debating is not prohibition, but the benefits of warnings about tobacco dangers. My hon. Friend must not tempt me into returning to these fascinating byeways of history. He must allow me to talk about the Amendment in my name relating to chewing tobacco. This is a matter of some importance, and it should be considered.

There is an Amendment to add chewing tobacco to the title of the Bill, and I am not referring to chewing tobacco merely because it is obnoxious to anybody to think of this nauseous habit of masticating vegetable substance, or even the expectoration which invariably ensues. One has a charming quotation from John Greig in 1827: Should an American gentleman, during a visit to England, be seen chewing tobacco, it matters not what may be his dress, or his letters of introduction; he will immediately be set down as a low-brew mechanic or, at best, as the master of a merchant vessel. I am not developing my argument in support of that class-conscious sentiment. It is beyond any shadow of doubt—and my medical friends will, I know, agree—that in India, where a mixture of betel nut and ordinary tobacco is chewed extensively there is irrefutable evidence that this causes cancer of the mouth, and that in South Africa, where the Bantu prepare and use a snuff of grounded tobacco, which is sniffed, there is evidence that it causes cancer of the nasal sinus.

If we are to have a Bill, it must be a tidy Bill, and it must be a Bill which gives true cognisance to all the dangers of tobacco. I suggest that whereas it is permissible to leave cigars and pipes out, it is important to put chewing tobacco in.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown (Glasgow, Provan)

I do not know whether I am pregnant with speech, or desperate to deliver, but I will not follow the hon. Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack) in his historical researches, interesting though they were. I do not know whether his facts were prepared for him, or whether they were—

Mr. Cormack

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to withdraw that comment. I am capable of conducting my own historical research, with my own fair hands.

Mr. Brown

It sounds rather pompous, because I am grateful if someone does my research for me.

I am delighted to see that the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) is still in the Chamber, because I want to make one or two remarks about him. It is well understood that any subject which brings me to this place on a Friday is of considerable interest. I do not want to make a party point, but I notice that no Scottish Member was on the Committee. That is a shortcoming in any Committee, and certainly there has been very little interest shown in the subject by the Scottish Office. I say that because I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education, Scottish Office, is a great admirer of the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South, and I should not like to think that there is any significance in his absence.

Sir K. Joseph

My statement about Government policy was made in association with the Secretary of State for Scotland and Wales.

Mr. Brown

I am not making a party point, but I should have thought that we might have had present one Minister who is responsible for health in Scotland. I should have thought that one Minister could have found time to listen to the debate.

I have been rather interested in the philosophical differences between hon. Gentlemen opposite. Having spent six years on the Government benches, but not being a member of the Labour Government, I know how hon. Gentlemen opposite feel. Last Friday I felt that I had strayed into a Conservative Party seminar. The discussion taking place seemed to have little or no relevance to the subject, but to be related rather to the difference in the philosophical approaches of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the subject of the Bill.

It is understandable that this should be a wide-ranging debate. After all, there was no Second Reading debate. I do not blame that on the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South but, equally, hon. Gentlemen opposite can appreciate that some of us are concerned about this issue, which is one of great public interest.

I have no financial interest to declare. To some extent I have a constituency interest, and I shall return to this later. I recognise the difficulty of dealing with a subject such as this by way of a Private Member's Bill. I have always thought that three things are necessary if a private Member is to succeed in promoting a Bill. First, he must have the Government's blessing, certainly not their opposition, and I am not sure what the position is at the moment. Second, he must have wide support in the House, and in the country. Third, and to a limited extent, success in getting a Bill through depends on his popularity.

I am not sure what the Government's attitude is to the Bill, though it looks almost like becoming a Government Measure if there is a vote. There is wide support in the country for action of some kind to deal with this problem. I do not think that anyone disputes that, but I suggest to the Government that if they intend to show that they are concerned about the moral, spiritual and physical health of the nation, it is not the best way of doing so to introduce, as one of their first pieces of legislation, a Measure to hand State money and State public houses over to private enterprise. The Government must accept that if they are trying to create the impression of being a reforming Government when it conies to dealing with health matters, their action about State public houses is hardly the best way to go about it. I am not making anything of it, but I hope that they will bear that in mind.

When it comes to the popularity of an hon. Member, and his ability to get a piece of legislation on to the Statute Book, I must say that I find the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South about the least popular Member in the House. I have never seen anyone who was so conceited, so arrogant and so pompous. I am sorry that he is not here—no, I am not the least bit concerned whether he is here or not, because I said that I was going to refer to him. I find his style offensive. He has strained even my reputation—a reputation which I awarded myself—of being very fair-minded and objective.

This is one of the problems in politics—trying to weigh up the merits of a proposition rather than those of the man who puts it forward. The Conservative Party are no better or purer in their approach than we are. But I thought that the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South was going a bit too far in some of his remarks last week when, with his usual exaggeration, he unfairly criticised the Secretary of State for having reached a voluntary agreement on the basis of a "cosy chat".

He said that it was grossly inaccurate and that even to suggest putting on a warning with the authority of the Government was dragging the good name of Government into an area where it had no right to be. There is something to be said for mentioning the Government. People are intelligent enough to know whether it is a Conservative Government or a Labour Government. Such a reference has the hallmark of some body independent of the manufacturers, and to that extent it is a good thing.

The hon. Member for Worcestershire, South spoke for an hour last week. As he said, he was dealing with several new Clauses and Amendments, but that does seem an awfully long speech. I agree that he had about 20 interventions to put up with, but I believe that he loved them, because they gave him further opportunities to show his undoubted skill and ability in manipulating this place.

In that speech he said: …I am not going to have this Bill wrecked save only over my dead body."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1573.] That is a very tempting inducement to wreck the Bill. I find it depressing to think that for a back bencher to be effective—as the hon. Member undoubtedly is—apparently he has to have some of the qualities which I find so objectionable in him. However, I have wasted enough time on him by now and he is not here, so it is a bit pointless.

I am a little concerned in this. I need not declare a constituency interest. Although one of the Imperial Tobacco Company factories is in my constituency—or was, before the Parliamentary redistribution—unlike the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks), I have only 500 or 600 of their workers in my constituency. But I should declare an interest as a smoker. No one other than the Minister has yet said what his personal habits are. Therefore, I would add quickly—a smoker in moderation.

I agree that this is a matter of great concern. As a personal observation, I find that there is nothing so obnoxious as the convert to anything, whether it be religion or non-smoking. I sometimes find the psychology of the person who has stopped smoking a little objectionable—possibly because he is a constant reminder of my own weaknesses and inability to stop smoking. But this is something which the psychologists must consider.

I have mentioned a narrow constituency interest, but there is a Scottish interest in this and I make no apology for mentioning it. I will come to the constructive approach later. I do not care what narrow commercial interest some hon. Members may have—I am not talking in terms only of a constituency interest—but there is no shadow of a doubt that the overwhelming body of opinion demands action of some kind. The present Government or any other Government—I will not argue why it was not done under a Labour Government or before the Labour Government—with this report now find that public opinion will allow them to do what they want to do.

1.45 p.m.

There are considerations of jobs. I do not want to be misunderstood; this is a difficult case to put. I have had discussions with the representatives in Glasgow of the Tobacco Workers' Union. From the point of view of regional policy, and when we are concerned about heavy unemployment, it is interesting to note that much of the expansion in the industry has taken place in Scotland and in Glasgow. There were about 1,000 people employed by the industry less than ten years ago, and that figure has more than doubled.

This consideration does not influence me in my approach to the problem of smoking, but there is obviously some concern in an industry which has a good record of reasonably well paid employment, in that any further cut-back in cigarette smoking, which has begun and will obviously continue, could have a greater effect in areas of heavy unemployment.

As to the attitude of those employed in the industry, the Tobacco Workers' Union has been exceptional. It has taken no stand for or against the problem of smoking. This is very wise. Obviously, it has a job interest. In case there are any cynical Members present, I would point out that it is understandable for anyone to hang on to his job even though he knows that it may be causing harm to others. We can moralise too much about this. I have therefore been very impressed by the responsible approach of this union, who are certainly conscious of the nature of their industry. Those I have met are just as worried about the effect on public health as I and other hon. Members.

But we are dealing here with powerful financial interests. I appreciate the Government's dilemma. There are only three manufacturers of any substance. As an easy answer, we could have some public ownership. If it is good enough to argue that private capital be considered in public industry, and if the health hazards are so great, this industry should perhaps be on a non-profit-making footing. That must cause the Minister a bit of concern—

Sir K. Joseph indicated assent.

Mr. Brown

But we are not arguing on party politics. I am recognising, as I am sure he will, that there is something to be said for this approach. Otherwise, the logic is a monopoly or legislation which works against free market forces. This is a dilemma for hon. Members opposite more than for me. So I am not unaware of the powerful financial interests, although, in my limited experience, they are not sinister. I have found them a bit out of touch with what ordinary people think, but that is not confined to the tobacco barons. Considering this long, almost family, tradition of tremendous power, wealth and influence, I frankly believe that they do not know what is going on among the ordinary people.

I am not unduly perturbed about their profit margins, which seem to be substantial. It is clear that the major firms have been diversifying their interests in recent years, and this must be linked with their concern, for themselves and their shareholders, about diminishing returns, though not diminishing profits, from tobacco sales. I therefore favour a voluntary approach.

I do not entirely agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill), for while nobody wants to pass legislation just for the sake of it, the Bill in its present form is a shambles. I see no point in passing legislation to do what can be accomplished in some other way. I warn the Government, however, that the House and country will expect the volun- tary agreement not only to be successful but to be taken further, by the Government continuing their campaign to dissuade people from smoking.

I hope that once the agreement and campaign are under way, the House will be kept fully and regularly informed. Despite what my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax said about her findings of several years ago, I do not see manufacturers daring to be in any way obstructive over this. It is, therefore, unfair for people like the Chairman of the National Society of Non-Smokers to have stated, as reported yesterday in an Edinburgh newspaper, that the Minister was compromising with death … making a secret deal with the tobacco manufacturers—not introducing dynamic legislation to curb smoking when he had the opportunity to do so … and … putting profits before people. Normally I would agree with those final words, but in this case I am prepared to make a genuine exception, realising that the right hon. Gentleman is in some philosophical difficulty.

I accept that, in good faith, the Government wish to pursue a voluntary agreement. My soundings are that it will be effective in terms of being accepted, though there will obviously be administrative and practical problems associated with packaging and so on.

I will not comment at length on some of the other matters which I would, on another occasion, discuss. I fully support any further research that might be made into this subject, though I have the feeling that it might be wise to establish alternative research facilities, remembering that at present they are largely financed by the industry. It is never desirable to have research facilities linked with what one might call a vested interest. My suggestion would result in the public being satisfied that there was an independent research body.

I agree with everything that has been said about the need to educate young people against smoking, whether by example or, for instance, by trying to keep them from cigarette vending machines. I am 100 per cent. behind any effort to dissuade people from smoking, and to some extent we have been living in a sort of tobacco-dominated society, rather like the male society. There is need for nonsmokers to be more aggressive. Indeed, most smokers would welcome further limitations and restrictions as being in their best interests; and smoking is more enjoyable if one smokes fewer cigarettes.

The arguments in favour of advertising and coupons have been well ventilated. Legislative problems exist here because of the small group of people who are operating these schemes. Most important, we must create a climate in which it is socially unacceptable to smoke. This must be our key approach. Perhaps I have a guilt complex, but I feel that I must almost seek permission to smoke, even in private company. Certainly this is so in public places.

It is clear that a change is coming over our social smoking habits and, because of this, even if the Labour Party were in Government and I were the Minister of Health, I would prefer not to legislate but to allow public opinion to continue to change the climate, at any rate for some time.

Local authorities and other bodies already have power to curb smoking in many places. If there is overwhelming evidence that people want to be cured of this obnoxious habit, and if it can be shown that it is offensive to the majority of people, it should be to the commercial advantage of, say, a cinema owner to ban smoking except in the foyer.

Perhaps an extension of non-smoking areas is the answer. I am not necessarily advocating this, but longer intervals between films, enabling people to spend more time in bars and lounges, might be the answer. If more time were available by this means, it might not be unreasonable to limit smoking to the foyer and ban it from the auditorium. These things should be influenced by public taste and demand.

In broad terms, I support the Government on this issue—and I emphasise "on this issue" lest these words are quoted against me on some future occasion. I support them on the understanding that they firmly intend to press on in every possible way in response to what I am certain is the overwhelming wish of the majority of people.

Mr. Norman Fowler (Nottingham, South)

I congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow, Provan (Mr. Hugh D. Brown) on an excellent speech, and particularly for the sentiments he expressed in his final words.

I apologise for not being in my place last Friday when the debate on the new Clause began. However, I have read the OFFICIAL REPORT of my right hon. Friend's remarks and the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro). I have no intention of following my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack) into the historical by-ways of this subject, which is of such importance that it merits the fullest debate.

2.0 p.m.

I do not believe that smoking is a perfectly harmless social habit. I cannot see how that conclusion can be supported. I should have thought that the Report of the Royal College of Physicians alone would satisfy doubts on this score and would support the conclusion that there is considerable risk. The Report stated that cigarette smoking shortens the smoker's average life span but that stopping smoking is followed by a gradual return to the non-smoker's prospect of life. It stated that cigarette smoking also causes increased sickness and consequent loss of work. I cannot see how the substance of that case can be challenged.

I agree that the example given by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) was very telling. He said that he could remember as a medical student seeing a patient die. The man was only 41, and at that time my hon. Friend was only 24 or 25. He recalled that when he walked from the bed he thought that the patient had had a reasonable life. My hon. Friend's point was the difficulty of making an impact upon people now with respect to their attitude in 10 or 15 years' time. That is a very serious point, and well worth studying.

It is quite clear that as the Member for Nottingham, South I have a constituency interest. "Players of Nottingham" is a household name. The hon. Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) referred to a certain unnamed football club in his constituency of which I had not at that stage heard, but Nottingham is almost as well known as the home of cigarettes as of good football.

Many of my constituents work in the Players factory, and I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the firm's executives and directors. I have always had the very highest regard for the firm in its business operations and as an employer. It is a first-class firm. But, true as these facts may be, I believe that my paramount duty is to my constituents as a whole and not just to one section of them. There is a health risk in cigarette smoking, and it is the duty of the Government to see how the problem can best be tackled.

I carefully distinguish my opposition to this Clause from that of those of my hon. Friends and other hon. Members who believe that there is no real cause for alarm, I also disagree with those hon. Members who have said that it is no part of the Government's duty to protect the public in this respect. One cannot expect dramatic success from this Bill and from the voluntary agreement in changing the habits of many millions of people who have smoked for many years and do not intend to stop. They know the risk, and to the extent that that risk has become increasingly evident, and has been increasingly publicised in the Press and on television, their decision whether to continue the habit is very much up to them. If anyone wants to make that decision on a rational basis, the information is readily available.

But I cannot accept the argument that in respect of young people the Government should also stand aside. I have a certain interest in problems associated with drug abuse. I was very interested in what the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) said about the B.M.A.'s call on the Government to legislate in this sphere. That has not always been the attitude of the B.M.A. when tackling certain other problems. It has not always been the first to say, "We want legislation."

One of the major problems with smoking, as with drug addiction, is in regard to young people. I do not make too close comparison between smoking and drug addiction, but there are some similarities in the way we tackle the problems which are of relevance. The action of heroin, for example, is quicker and more dangerous. Of its nature, it gives its user much less time to change his ways—indeed, one can make out the case that it gives him virtually no time at all in which to change his ways before addiction.

Therefore, drug abuse and its prevention is a more urgent problem, and the correct attitude which the Government have taken and are taking is very relevant and necessary. I do not think that I can logically say that the Government are right to take action to prevent drug addiction and its spread and also say that I do not support their taking action over tobacco smoking.

The crunch argument is: what kind of action do we require of the Government? My hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South supports legislation. I have a great deal of sympathy with what he has said, and a great deal of admiration for the way in which he has said it. On the other hand, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would prefer voluntary action and, on balance, I also would prefer voluntary action. It has been suggested that voluntary action is no good because it is by definition not effective. That point was made last week by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South when he said: I believe that such recourse is impracticable and in operation will be found to have little value."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1559.] That is certainly a fair mint of view but, if I may, I want to continue for a moment with my drugs analogy.

There has been a great deal of drugs legislation. During the 1960s there was an almost endless succession of Drugs Acts, culminating in the Misuse of Drugs Act which tries to bring together all the recent legislation.

Sir G. Nabarro

I do not wish to prolong matters unduly by interrupting my hon. Friend's admirable speech, but is he aware that in the Second Reading debate on the Misuse of Drugs Bill, 1970—that is, not the Bill taken through by this Government but the Bill attempted by the last Government; the last Government Bill fell because of the General Election—the then hon. Member for the High Peak and myself joined on Second Reading to try to have cigarettes classified as drugs for the purposes of that Bill and to have warnings printed on cigarettes to give effect to what we are trying to do today either by voluntary agreement or by Statute?

Mr. Fowler

That is an interesting point. I confess that I had forgotten that action by my hon. Friend. Doubtless it is something which the then Labour Government should answer to him for. That is not a point I am putting forward at this stage.

Despite the plethora of legislation on drugs, culminating in the Misuse of Drugs Act, some of the most significant and valuable steps have been taken by voluntary agreements. For example, methedrine was an injectable amphetamine. When heroin was confined to drug depedency clinics, methedrine quickly became a drug of abuse amongst previous users of heroin. There was a grave drugs problem as a result. The problem was solved virtually overnight by a voluntary agreement between pharmacists, doctors and manufacturers confining the supply of methedrine to hospital pharmacies and not making it readily available.

Another example is the action now being taken by doctors as regards amphetamines or pep pills. This is a voluntary agreement between doctors that the supply of amphetamines should be severely restricted.

I do not pretend that the voluntary action proposed by the Secretary of State and the cigarette manufacturers will have such dramatic effects. Nor will legislation have dramatic effects. A voluntary agreement between two responsible bodies can be extremely effective. It is not true that any action, to be effective, must have the force of law. The crucial point becomes the standing of those who have entered into the voluntary agreement.

2.15 p.m.

My right hon. Friend has made clear the status of the agreement from his Department's point of view. Last Friday he said this: 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1580.] My right hon. Friend has also made crystal clear the Government's determination to tackle the problem of cigarette smoking and their conviction of the urgent need to produce a sharp fall in the suffering associated with cigarette smoking. No one has sought to suggest that this is not the Government's intention. No one calls into question the Government's good faith in this matter. There is a considerable implication from some of the statements which have been made that the cigarette manufacturers will rat on the agreement at the first opportunity. That impression could hardly fail to have been increased by what the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax said about the faceless moguls of the cigarette industry—a comment which was quite unworthy of her.

Dr. Summerskill

That description is not entirely inaccurate. They are moguls if they are top men in the industry. Faceless they certainly are, because they are people that the public knows nothing about. The hon. Gentleman may like to know to whom I was referring. I was referring to the ten gentlemen with whom the right hon. Gentleman has reached this decision and who were named in yesterday's HANSARD as Mr. Ord Johnstone—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Order. I understand that the hon. Lady is making an intervention. Mr. Fowler.

Dr. Summerskill

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It was alleged that I had inaccurately used the word "faceless". I was simply trying to put names to the faces.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Chair has a responsibility to keep interventions brief.

Mr. Fowler

I gather that the point of the hon. Lady's attempted intervention is that the public would not readily recognise the names she sought to quote from HANSARD. "Faceless" carries with it a rather emotive implication and suggests to many people that the cigarette manufacturers are inaccessible, that they are not responsible, and that they cannot be held to account. The word perhaps suggests that hon. Members cannot go to the manufacturers if they have points to raise and do not know to whom to go because it is an industry run by some hidden forces. That is the implication which I seek to rebut. If the hon. Lady says that she meant to say that the agreement between the industry and the Minister has been with people that the public would not readily recognise as household names, I will accept that.

Dr. Summerskill

May I make another intervention—a short one? They are less accessible than would be members of the Government, were legislation put on the Statute Book. This is a gentleman's agreement between the Minister of the day and these 10 men, and I do not consider that we have access to those 10 men as we would have to Ministers.

Mr. Fowler

I would have thought that the Government had every access to them. I would also have thought that hon. Members would have access to them if they chose to tread the path. I do not want to press this point because I do not believe that anybody could reasonably accept the hon. Lady's emotive charge implicit in her description of these men as "faceless moguls".

Sir D. Kaberry

Could my hon. Friend tell me, for the benefit of the hon. Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill), how he could recognise a faceless man if he saw one?

Mr. Fowler

That is perhaps a point for the hon. Member for Halifax. I cannot make charges against the hon. Lady and at the same time answer for her.

Dr. Summerskill

I think that I am being unjustly accused of being emotive. I am anything but emotive. I try to be very accurate. In fact, that is one of my vices. I try to be too careful and too correct, and I do not make generalisations. But on reading this list of nonentities—and when I say "nonentities" I mean that they are not names on everybody's lips, as are the names of members of the Government—

Sir G. Nabarro

You can say that again!

Mr. Fowler

I must say that that is the most extraordinary definition of non- entities that I have ever heard. It seems to me that the hon. Lady is using words and is then making up her own definitions of those words. It happens that 99 per cent. of the people who read those words will not come to the same conclusion as she does, which is a pity. However, I do not want to go down this particular by-way at the moment. But it is a gross slander on the cigarette manufacturing industry to say that it consists of a totally irresponsible body of people, which is the inference to be drawn from what is said about the voluntary agreement.

Sir G. Nabarro

Would my hon. Friend give way? After all, I am the sponsor of this Bill, and I am responsible for the second day's debate on the Floor of the House. Indeed, there will be a third day's debate on the Floor. My hon. Friend must remedy his views of this kind of thing. I have not imputed irresponsibility in any sense whatsoever to any tobacco manufacturer, many of whom are personal friends of mine. All I have said is that it is not effective to make the kind of voluntary agreement which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State purports to have made. I prefer legislation. My hon. Friend prefers a voluntary agreement. There is plenty of room for difference of opinion in a non-party political matter, but I hope he will not impugn me with things which I have never said or done.

Mr. Fowler

I am grateful for the intervention of the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro).

Sir G. Nabarro

I am your hon. Friend.

Mr. Fowler

I readily accept that correction. He mentions that there will be a third day for debate. I only point out that if I am interrupted much more it is likely that I shall still be speaking on the third day.

I have suggested that a voluntary agreement is not ineffective by definition. Therefore, the next point seems to me to be whether it is an agreement which is made between two responsible bodies. Let me put my point about cigarette manufacturers in another way. One reason for saying that a voluntary agreement would not be effective in this case would be that the people who oppose it do not consider that the cigarette industry can be trusted to keep its word. The suggestion might be that cigarette manufacturers would take the first opportunity to rat upon any agreement that is made.

I reject entirely the charge that cigarette manufacturers are like wicked barons intent upon endangering the health of this nation. I also reject the charge that the cigarette manufacturers are prepared to use every weapon to prevent any progress in this matter. Nor do I think there is any justification for saying that they are shiftless or untrustworthy men who will try everything to evade their responsibilities. The fact is that this is an industry which has shown itself prepared to co-operate with the Government, and it is unthinkable that once this voluntary agreement has been entered into, the men in this industry will then look around for the first opportunity of welshing on it or finding loopholes.

May I mention one of the crucial advantages of such an agreement of this kind? This is a voluntary agreement and the Government have, therefore, got the undoubted co-operation of what I believe is a responsible industry. It means, above all, that the industry will not be continually looking for ways out. Hon. Members who have considered that point to be of no particular substance should look, for example, at the history of gaming in this country. Here a whole industry grew up on the basis of people finding loopholes in the Betting and Gaming Act, 1959, as my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department knows only too well. How much better is it, therefore, to have the co-operation of the industry not only in the details of the agreement—and the details are clearly very important—but also in the intent of this agreement. It makes the agreement more binding than less, and I think it certainly allows more flexibility.

Sir Brandon Rhys Williams (Kensington, South)

I have been following my hon. Friend's argument with the deepest interest and concern. Is he arguing that we should abandon legislation and in future go over to Departmental rule?

Mr. Fowler

No, I am not. I do not think that is a particularly acute point, if I may say so.

Even those who have a conspiracy theory of the world should recognise that there is also a practical point about the numbers of cigarette manufacturers in this country with whom one has to have an agreement. There are only three major groups. That again, I would have thought, was a good reason for supporting a voluntary agreement.

What is also worth pointing out is that the cigarette industry is at present trying to develop a safer cigarette. It spends £2 million a year on research. Clearly there is commercial advantage for any company that can do that, and one does not try to disguise that for a moment. There is real concern among the directors and staff of the cigarette companies that a safer cigarette should be developed as soon as possible.

2.30 p.m.

For all those reasons, I feel that we should be better served by a voluntary agreement between the Minister and the leaders of a responsible industry.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Departmental rule.

Mr. Fowler

I do not rule out that legislation may be possible in the future, but I am certain that the House would be wise to avoid a long succession of Acts dealing with tobacco smoking. Timing is of the essence.

This Bill, and the voluntary agreement, cover one part of the action which may be taken to reduce smoking, but by no stretch of the imagination are they the last word. We do not expect the warning, "Smoking can damage your health", to change the habits of millions of smokers overnight. This is the first stage in a campaign to make smoking socially unacceptable. There are inter-Departmental talks going on now. For both the reasons of timing and the reasons of principle, I prefer the voluntary agreement.

I have been interrupted several times, and this has made me speak for slightly longer than I had intended. I shall, therefore, mention in only a sentence new Clause No. 11, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis). Sadly, my hon. Friend is unable to be here today, and I shall wish to move it on his behalf if the occasion arises.

Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)

I was born and bred in Bristol, and I have relatives who have worked for a long time in the tobacco industry. I know—I support my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Michael Cocks) here—the good work which the Wills family have done over the years and the way in which Bristol has benefitted from their contributions to its life. We have a fine modern Gothic tower at the top of Park Street which the Wills family gave to the university. The Wills family have always liked to see their money spent on buildings so that people could see what they had given.

Not only the big moguls of the Wills family but the many elderly ladies who drew their incomes from the firm donated money widely in the area. I remember seeing a little chapel—a Unitarian chapel, I think—just outside my hon. Friend's constituency, built in 1811 by George Wills, snuff and tobacco manufacturer. But the Wills family have since long ago moved into the establishment and the Church of England. The church which I attended as a boy had two Wills ladies in the congregation, and they used to rival one another in their religious views. One offered the vicar two large golden candlesticks to go on the altar. The other offered a larger sum if he would not accept them. In the end, the vicar set one against the other and did whatever the one who gave the largest donation to the church wanted him to do.

If we look at the agreement come to between the industry and the Government, however, there is no member of the Wills family—or Players, for that matter—on the list. They are all faceless moguls now, people who have taken over these family businesses as they have merged into larger and larger units.

I do not seek to disembowel my hon. Friend or attack him in any way. He is well known as a successful businessman, and we all recognise his success in that field. But in political matters, it seems, he is rather naive. I do not doubt that the people who made that agreement intend to honour it, but what does it amount to? The tobacco industry believes in private enterprise. It believes in making profits. Would it have made such an agreement if it thought that it would seriously interfere with its profits? I do not believe that the tobacco manufacturers think that it will interfere with their profits. Neither do I. I do not think that it will interfere seriously with their sales. Similar arrangements made in America reduced tobacco sales in the first year by about 1 per cent. in the whole of America, and even that reduction faded away in succeeding years. This agreement will not seriously reduce the sales of tobacco or make any big contribution in the tackling of the problem.

Much more drastic steps will have to be taken to deal with the problem. The main way of tackling it must be by education, but, if education is to be effective, we must pay pretty drastic attention to the whole question of advertising. There is one heading in the agreement covering advertising, but there is not a single paragraph there to restrict, limit or control the industry's advertising.

If a policy of education is to be pursued, and if young people are to pay attention to it, the Government must be seen to mean business, and that means the wiping out of cigarette and tobacco advertisements from the billboards, from the Press and the rest. That will have some effect, though not an enormous effect, perhaps, but it will show that we mean business, and it will have a longterm educational effect on young people.

Sir K. Joseph

In the context of the issue before the House, namely, Bill or voluntary agreement, I must point out that the Bill itself contains no ban on advertising any more than the voluntary agreement.

Mr. Parker

I agree. I support the Bill as a limited Measure. I think that legislation is better than voluntary agreement, but I consider that neither will be really effective in reducing the market for tobacco. I am sure that the tobacco manufacturers would not have made any such agreement if they thought that it would damage their sales to any great extent.

We have heard a good deal today about the faceless moguls of the industry. In the days when the tobacco industry was organised on family lines, the consumption of tobacco was fairly small, and people did not know the seriousness of the problems created by the consumption of tobacco. I understand that, in the days when clay pipes were widely used, there was a problem of cancer of the tongue and the lip arising from the heat of the clay pipe, but it was only a fairly small section of the population who smoked clay pipes, and the industry was not then known to be a killer.

The situation today is quite different. We know that this is an industry which kills 50,000 people every year. If we were at the inception of the tobacco industry, we should take a very different attitude from the one which has been taken up to now. Far more people die as a result of tobacco smoking than die from taking drugs. We do not say that there should be freedom for the drug pusher and unrestricted sale of drugs. We regard it as right and necessary to control drugs because we regard them as a great danger. In my view, we should have the same kind of approach to tobacco.

We shall not stop people smoking tobacco, but we must create a climate of opinion in which people recognise the dangers, and we must then act in that climate. We acted somewhat on the same lines in regard to prostitution. One cannot stop prostitution, but we have taken prostitution off the streets by legislation. We can take steps along the same lines to deal with tobacco: keep the advertising off the billboards, take it out of the public eye, and that will have its effect. There was similar action regarding prostitution, and what we did has affected public attitudes towards it.

Legislation will, of course, damage certain business interests. There have been similar occasions in our history, for example, when we abolished the slave trade, when many people were put out of business—seamen, captains, shipowners, and so on. There was no compensation for anyone on the abolition of that trade because public opinion came to the conclusion that it was an evil trade. In earlier days, people had felt that it was a quite reasonable trade. A famous hymn writer wrote some well-known hymns even though he was the captain of a slave ship at the time. But what people had thought right and proper in the early 18th century came to be regarded as evil. When slavery itself was abolished, nothing like the commercial value of the slaves held at that time was given to the slave owners in our colonies, although some compensation was given them.

We must recognise that, if we take steps to deal with the tobacco problem, some people will be hit financially, whether by losing their jobs or by losing trade. It is interesting to note that most tobacco firms have commenced activities in other fields, realising the danger that may be coming. Nearly all of them have diversified in this way, and that is to be encouraged. Nevertheless, we must face the fact that there will be a loss of jobs and a loss of profits. If these firms can create other sorts of trade in order to employ the constituents of my hon. Friend, so much the better. I prefer legislation to mere voluntary agreement. I do not think that the agreement means very much. It is not likely to have been entered into by the industry if it thought that it would reduce its profits to any extent.

Mr. James Ramsden (Harrogate)

The reason why I have sought to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, even at this comparatively late stage, is that I have a constituency interest in the matter covered by the Bill. The main research activities of the tobacco companies are carried out in an establishment in my constituency. I share the interest of the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) in Private Members' Bills on Fridays, and I am glad to have an opportunity of following him today, but in my opinion the fact that this establishment exists, financed by the tobacco companies and conducted with an object which may well lead to financial loss, vitiates the hon. Member's argument.

I am sorry to find myself on the opposite side of the fence to my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro), whose abilities I respect and with whom I have been associated, and hope to be associated in the future, in parliamentary activities which I feel to be not without value. None the less, on this occasion I find myself on the opposite side of the fence from him, on grounds which I regard as amounting to a point of principle. All my experience in the House—admittedly not so long as that of my hon. Friend—leads me to believe that it is generally undesirable for the House to seek to legislate in areas where it is feasible to secure the same result by an effective agreement, voluntarily arrived at, with the interests concerned.

I was unable to attend last Friday's debate but I read with great care the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and found his argument about the effectiveness of his agreement with the tobacco companies completely convincing. I was left without any doubt whatever that that agreement, coupled with the campaign against cigarette smoking, to which my right hon. Friend referred in detail, would yield the kind of results that the House wishes to see.

We have listened to an extremely able and well argued speech by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), in which he took the opposite point of view. It would have been difficult to present more cogently than he did the arguments for legislation. Nevertheless, he did not persuade me.

I ask myself why he did not persuade me. In the last resort, it boils down to a question of experience, or even of temperament. My right hon. and learned Friend spoke to the House as a lawyer—a very able lawyer—as well as one with a long record of Ministerial experience. A solution of this problem which is embodied in the law appeals to him. Perhaps the cast of mind that lawyers develop tends to be impregnated by the view that no solution is sufficiently tidy which is not given legal embodiment. I do not know; I seek to cast no aspersions on a profession that I very much respect. Nevertheless, having listened with admiration to my right hon. and learned Friend's speech, I find that I am not convinced by him. I adhere to the view that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is to be supported in continuing to promote the practical and workable voluntary agreement that he has arrived at with the tobacco companies.

2.45 p.m.

The grounds for this belief are not all that substantial, except one that I have come to hold in the light of experience. In matters such as that which we are considering today, where the activities of manufacturers, or interests of almost any kind, conflict with the public interest, problems are thrown up with which the House is familiar. Sometimes we deal with them by legislation, and sometimes we set up a Government Department, or some kind of body, as a watchdog or policeman to safeguard the public in- terest. But I never feel that our great Departments of State are at their happiest when they have to work in that sort of relationship with outside industry. We have often had to make them do it, and they discharge their duties, which are not easy, with their usual skill and tact. But, if we can achieve the kind of results that the House desires without legislation, and without obliging the servants of the State to be placed in an unhappy position, we are well advised to do so.

My general view of the Bill is precisely that of my right lion. Friend. I endorse his clearly expressed purpose of securing a sharp fall in the suffering associated with cigarette smoking. His campaign, details of which he gave the House, makes good sense. The hon. Member for Dagenham called for more drastic steps. If he had studied the developments proposed by my right hon. Friend as I have studied them his anxieties might be somewhat allayed.

I want to put forward reasons—concernings three aspects of this problem—which strengthen my conviction that to proceed by way of legislation would be unwise. I ask the House, first, to consider something that has not been referred to at length today, namely, the question of pipe tobacco and cigars. Pipe tobacco and cigars are not included in this new Clause. The very fact that they are not illustrates the difficulties of trying to promote satisfactory legislation on this problem at this stage and in this state of public opinion.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East said it was right to draw attention to the importance of the progress of public opinion in these affairs. Suppose that my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South had decided to leave pipe tobacco and cigars in the Bill. It seems that he would be even less likely to persuade the House to pass the Bill than he is now because the risks with regard to pipe tobacco and cigars are, to put it, mildly, not yet proven.

I have made as detailed a study of the evidence on this matter as it is open to a layman to make. It is not easy for anyone without medical or scientific knowledge to assess the exact weight of the evidence that has been accumulated. It seems that as far as it goes and as far as a layman can assess it, the burden of the evidence about pipe tobacco and cigars exonerates this form of smoking, certainly in comparison with the smoking of cigarettes.

Even if we are not disposed to go as far as that, as I understand the argument it is accepted that it is safer for a cigarette smoker to be persuaded to alter his habits and to go on to pipes or cigars. This is one of the stated objectives of my right hon. Friend's campaign. Because it is generally believed that they are fairly safe, we certainly want to persuade cigarette smokers to adopt these methods of smoking. It is not, therefore, practicable to include pipe tobacco and cigars within the ambit of the Bill.

Suppose that we leave these out. Surely the presumption then is that they are a safe form of smoking and there is no further need to give the public any warning about them. I would not wish to see that presumption created and given currency. I am a pipe smoker. I must declare an involvement, like another hon. Member. I have been a pipe smoker since the age of 18. I occupy the position—and since we have had a French quotation perhaps we could do with a Latin one—spoken of by Ovid who said: Video meliora proboque Deteriora sequor. I realise that it would be much better for me if I did not smoke, but unfortunately I do.

One of the reasons I smoke is that it was never put to me at the age of 18 when I started that it was a silly thing to do and much better if I did not begin to do it. Either the state of knowledge at that time was not as advanced with regard to the danger of smoking as it is now or maybe at that time, when one was 18 and about to join the Army, the expectation of life of the infantry subaltern was pretty short anyway so no one thought it worth while to offer a warning. The fact is that warnings were not given. One thought that the pipe was a comfortable and social thing to indulge in and one began to smoke it.

I do not take this line with my children and I am sure that many other hon. Members do not either. The advice I give to anyone who is prepared to listen today, especially to the young, is "For heaven's sake don't start because there is no point. If you do not start you will not feel the need to start, and you will not have the problems associated with giving it up." That is sound advice and more and more the young are following it. I do not want the clarity of that message and the value of that advice obscured by any apparent endorsement of the pipe smoking habit which may come about through an enactment about smoking which left out pipes and cigars. This would be the effect of my hon. Friend's Bill as it stands and this illustrates the genuine difficulties of legislating in this area.

I come to the research conducted by the tobacco companies into the danger of the smoking habit. My right hon. Friend referred last week to the efforts being made by the cigarette manufacturers to find a safer cigarette and he welcomed those efforts. It is worth saying that they have met with more success in eliminating tar yield and nicotine content than the public perhaps realise, due to technical obstacles in the way of notifying the public, as things stand, of the content of particular brands. My right hon. Friend welcomed these researches in the context of his campaign towards reducing suffering consequent upon cigarette smoking.

I do not know whether my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South has had an opportunity of visiting the Tobacco Research Council at Harrogate. If he has not, I can assure him that it will be glad to welcome him there and so will I. Apart from the value of the research conducted there, it provides jobs for 300 people and has an expenditure of about £1 million a year. What is the connection between those activities and my apprehensions about the Bill? I believe that these research activities have a genuine social value and I do not wish to see them in any way prejudiced or endangered.

I cannot help noting that tacked on to the Bill for consideration at a further stage is a new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) which would seek to impose a compulsory levy on the industry, the proceeds of which would be allocated to some organisation called "Action on Smoking and Health Ltd.".

Sir G. Nabarro rose

Mr. Ramsden

Before my hon. Friend intervenes, it may be that that new Clause is not to be moved. It may be that, even in a wide debate, I am out of order in referring to it. All I am saying is that what has happened seems to indicate that, as soon as one gets out of the range of voluntary agreement and voluntary action into legislation, aspects of this problem which I regard as being satisfactorily handled by voluntary means begin to be under threat.

Sir G. Nabarro

First, I shall be delighted to come to the tobacco research establishment at Harrogate. Secondly, the vastly increased research into the effects of tobacco is merely to try to find a safer form of smoking—that is the critical issue. Thirdly, new Clause 1, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) does not have my support and in any event is out of order being ultra vires the scope of this Bill.

3.0 p.m.

Mr. Ramsden

I am delighted to hear that, but it does not altogether remove my apprehensions. I do not believe that my hon. Friend or anyone who is anxious, as we all are, to make smoking safer will find the Tobacco Research Council in the least backward in offering the necessary facilities towards the necessary research. There is always a limit to what money can do. The £1 million spent yearly at Harrogate is not the full extent of the story of the research activities conducted by the industry. In total, it spends about £3 million both at home and abroad on this work. If my hon. Friend wants to see more research—and there may well be a place for it—he should build on the foundations already laid instead of causing some apprehensions, as has been the effect of this Bill.

It has been objected in some quarters that no research into the dangers of smoking which is financed by the Tobacco Research Council can have a scientific value as research because it is not sufficiently disinterested, is not sufficiently pure science. If the House feels these apprehensions, they are to a great extent allayed by the establishment by my right hon. Friend of the scientific council whose future activities he described last week. The functions of the Government-appointed members of that council, I understand, are to collaborate with those of the research activities financed by the companies and to value their judgments. I believe that these joint activities will provide an added value to the already valuable work that is being conducted. All the results of this research are pooled in whatever direction the results tend. This is of great value and is a foundation on which future progress ought to be built.

I have said enough to indicate my apprehensions if the House decides to proceed further in this matter by way of legislation. I believe that a satisfactory agreement has been reached. I believe that it can be made to work and that there are few, if any, grounds for apprehension in that regard. I believe that progress is being made towards the objective of my right hon. Friend, which we all share. No speech today has not endorsed his objective of lessening the dangers from cigarette smoking. I believe that progress can best be made on a voluntary basis.

Mr. R. A. McCrindle (Billericay)

It would be very unfashionable to be seen or thought to be seen to be defending cigarette smoking. It is noticeable that no hon. Members who have contributed to the debate have approached the subject along those lines. To do so would be out of touch with public opinion, which now accepts that dangers to health from smoking are, to say the least, considerable. I mention this at the beginning because I may say some rather critical things about legislation, and I want it recognised from the start that I am at one with those who take the view I have just described.

I am very much in favour of teaching the young about the dangers which exist in smoking and trying to discourage them from ever starting. Although it may be a truism, I shall none the less say that it is infinitely easier not to start smoking, than to stop smoking, and here I declare my first interest, as a smoker.

I want next to underline that I have a constituency interest, as have a number of hon. Members who have spoken earlier, in that the largest factory of Carreras is in the new town of Basildon, which forms part of my constituency. Before the Amendments and the new Clause were introduced, it was my genuine belief that, if the process were carried to its logical conclusion, I should shortly be faced with a substantial upsurge in unemployment within my constituency. It may be better to run the risk of hundreds of men in my constituency becoming unemployed than that millions of people throughout the country should suffer the possibility of death through cigarette smoking.

Sir G. Nabarro

Again I do not wish to prolong the proceedings or my hon. Friend's speech, but does he know that the Secretary of the Rosenheim Committee committed himself on television, when confronted with this unemployment question, to saying that if all the provisions and recommendations of the report were implemented and if the public took great heed of them, they might diminish the smoking of cigarettes by 10 per cent. over 15 years, or 1½ per cent. per annum, which is rather out of tune with the suggestion that bundreds of men from the Carreras factory in my hon. Friend's constituency would be thrown out of work tomorrow.

Mr. McCrindle

My hon. Friend has the great advantage of being able to take a slightly more detached view of this possibility than I can. I repeat that I am speaking strictly from a constituency point of view. It may be exaggerating to say that this provision will have the overnight result which I have foreshadowed, but, none the less, I am entitled to underline a constituency interest, as have other hon. Members.

Last week, my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) described this as pioneering legislation. That is correct. As it is pioneering legislation, there is a strong argument for its being of the most modest variety. For this reason, I underline my welcome to the improvement of the Bill. Since my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has allied himself, perhaps it is vice versa, with my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South changes have overtaken the Bill and without them I should have found it difficult to go along with the Bill, because it would have been imprecise and difficult to effect.

While the whole idea which unites all corners of the House on the dangers of smoking would be much better implemented by voluntary agreement, some of my reasons for preferring voluntary agreement are that it is easier for voluntary agreement to be kept in spirit, that that minimises the amount of legislation which passes through the House, which is in conformity with the political philosophy which animates both my right hon. Friend and me, that it would not eliminate the possibility of legislation for all time, which again is in conformity with the non-interventionist approach of tit Government in other respects.

But if there has to be legislation, I welcome the intervention of the Secretary of State, because we now have a much improved Bill. I welcome the move to exclude from its scope pipes and cigars because, to say the least, the medical evidence in this respect appears to be divided and the arguments of the Royal College of Physicians appear to be challenged by two reports from Europe.

I believe that the Bill is well advised to restrict itself to cigarettes, particularly because statistics show that while the evidence is that cigarette smoking leads to lung afflictions and heart afflictions, recent evidence so far as pipe and cigar smokers are concerned shows that there is no greater incidence of heart disease than is the case with non-smokers. For all these reasons I suggest that the case is only partly proven, if proven at all, against cigars and pipes. I believe that to include these two commodities would be to go in advance of public opinion. There is no doubt at all in my mind that public opinion supports the broad aims of this legislation, but at the moment the public appears to be convinced only so far as cigarette smoking is concerned.

I turn to the matter of warning statements on packets. This is not opposed by the manufacturers and I personally feel it would be a contribution to the improvement of this dangerous situation. I would ask what is the purpose of putting these statements on packets of cigarettes. It is to draw the attention of the smoker to the risks he is running if he does not already know them and to show that the Government are concerned with the danger to which he is exposing himself. I have no quarrel on this first point. Such wording, to be effective, must be simple and factual and must free itself from emotive language of all sorts. I believe that the wording of the new Clause is infinitely preferable to that which was proposed originally.

I wish to deal with the location and size of the warning—

Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Bedford)

Does my hon. Friend not think that once the instruction appears on the packet, its having been there for some time, it will merely become familiar and be treated with a certain amount of contempt?

Mr. McCrindle

That is true. That is shown by the fact that immediately following the Report of the Royal College of Physicians on the incidence of smoking the public at first took note of the hazards involved, but then immediately afterwards the incidence of smoking again rose. I agree that familiarity can breed contempt. I would give my broad support to the idea of placing a notice on the packet. I would underline that the manufacturers themselves do not oppose this.

Mr. Cranley Onslow (Woking)

I believe my hon. Friend said earlier that he was a smoker. Since he appears to believe that there would be some purpose in having a warning on a packet of cigarettes, would he care to tell the House what is printed on the packet of cigarettes which no doubt he now has on him? Has he any idea what words are there contained? I think he will find that he does not know. What is more, I think he will find that nobody would know what those words were.

Mr. McCrindle

Apart from the fact that I am told that the packet contains 20 of a very well known brand, I am bound to say that I could not tell my hon. Friend what appears on the packet. My hon. Friend slightly underestimates the advantage of putting a notice on the packet. Surely the notice could be printed on the packet in such a way that the smoker could not fail to notice it.

Mr. Onslow

I am sure that my hon. Friend does not smoke American cigarettes, but when I was recently in New York I noticed, although I am not a smoker, on a packet of cigarettes there were the words "The Surgeon-General has evidence that smoking is harmful to health" or some similar nineteenth-century sort of warning. However, one had to look at the packet very closely to disentangle that warning from the general foliage printed on the packet. Is by hon. Friend satisfied that this would not always be the case?

3.15 p.m.

Mr. McCrindle

I can be no more satisfied than, by implication, my hon. Friend is. I do not know. What I am saying is that on balance I should not be opposed to this type of message appearing on a packet of cigarettes.

I come back to what I started saying what seems a considerable time before these interventions about the location and size of the notice. The sponsors of the Bill felt that the larger the notice the more effective would be the success of the message. I question that, just as my hon. Friend has been questioning it. We have to go beyond that because, if we force a manufacturer completely to upset what is, after all, his property, that is to say, the trademark of the packet in which he sells his product, we shall be going too far, and with no assurance of any success.

I turn for a moment to the problem of advertising. I cannot agree with what was said by the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill), which, by implication, was to the effect that advertising continues to glorify smoking and to induce people who, by implication, do not smoke, to do so. My information, from, I hope, a fairly impartial observation of advertising of cigarettes, leads me to believe that what the manufacturers are trying to do is to induce a smoker to transfer from one brand to another. But perhaps the hon. Lady and I have been reading different types of magazine. That is my impression, and one is running the risk of going too far with interventions in commercial enterprise.

Sir G. Nabarro

Does my hon. Friend think that any increase in masculinity or in virility is associated with smoking Carreras cigarettes as opposed to any other brand?

Mr. McCrindle

I should never suggest that that is so. What I am saying is that I do not believe that most of the advertisements for cigarettes are aimed at conveying that view, either.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

I think that it would help the House if I were to tell my hon. Friend that there is an agreement between the producers of cigarettes and all the advertisers concerned that there should be no encouragement to further smoking, but only a transfer from one brand to another.

Mr. McCrindle

That is what I was trying to say. My hon. Friend has confirmed that there is that agreement among the manufacturers, and it seems that they are complying with the agreement whereas, by implication, the hon. Member for Halifax is saying that they are not.

Dr. Summerskill

I do not collect these advertisements, but I get a general impression, and there is one that says, "Cool as a mountain stream". That is not asking someone to transfer from one brand to another. It is saying that he has a pleasant experience if he smokes and feels as cool as a mountain stream.

Mr. McCrindle

I think that the hon. Lady misunderstood the message of that advertisement. What is being advertised is a menthol cigarette.

Sir B. Rhys-Williams

It can easily be misunderstood.

Mr. McCrindle

That may be so, but it is in conformity with the agreement which my hon. Friend says exists among manufacturers. The present aim seems to be to induce smokers to change brands, and not to glorify smoking as such, and yet the proposals of the sponsors of the original Bill were tantamount to banning advertising. I do not believe that any manufacturer of an admittedly lethal or potentially lethal commodity should be required to denigrate his own product, and then be expected to pay for the advertising. I think that it would have been better, if the sponsors of the Bill felt that way, to have said that they wanted no advertising at all.

The other aspect of advertising to which I wish to refer is that of the levy on the salaries and expenses of representatives employed on sales promotion and gift coupon schemes. Happily, this proposal has been dropped. It always seemed to me to be a thoroughly impracticable aspect of the Bill. Advertising as now proposed in the Clause is a very much more realistic approach to this particularly difficult matter.

The sponsors of the Bill have a real amount of public support, but it is in the interests of everyone to go slowly in introducing legislation into a field which it has never entered before. Therefore, when they have a tide of public opinion behind them, if it is possible to go forward with a voluntary agreement, while not excluding the possibility of legislation to follow, that would be to the great advantage of the whole country.

Dr. Stuttaford

I should like to refer, first, to the matter which I mentioned earlier in an intervention, because I see that the "locum" law officer has kindly come along. This is the case of Wright v. Dunlop Rubber Company. The paragraph to which I referred was that in which the learned judge said, according to The Times Law Report: The duty of a manufacturer of chemical products was to take reasonable care that the product was safe in use. If a manufacturer used a chemical which he knew to be a dangerous carcinogen in the manufacture of a product, and knew or ought to have known that the product contained a proportion of the carcinogen, and if he marketed the product without giving warning of the presence of the carcinogenic material, then the law imposed a very high duty on him to satisfy himself that the product would not prove dangerous when used for the purposes for which it was supplied. It goes on for some time in that vein. If my hon. and learned Friend would like to intervene at this stage, I should be happy to give way.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

I do not know whether my hon. Friend is inviting me to reply now, or whether he wishes to say more. I will willingly intervene when I have heard what else he has to say.

Dr. Stuttaford

I ask that this should be carefully considered. The Secretary of State may soon find himself up against not only the medical profession, but, one hopes, the law as well. The interpretation seems plain to a layman. It has been suggested today that cigarettes are neither drugs nor chemicals. That, of course, is not true. The cigarette contains drugs, and drugs are chemicals—chemicals which act upon the body. There can be no doubt that nicotine is a chemical. It is also a drug. So in fact are those which we know to be carcinogenic—the polycyclic hydrocarbons. They are drugs and chemicals, and they are being distributed to the public without warning.

Mr. Onslow

Is my hon. Friend making some particular distinction against carcinogens or is he advancing the proposition which is logically extended by saying that the same should apply to alcohol? Since this is known to be capable of injuring health, and since it may be a chemical compound as well as a drug, should the sales of spirits and beer be subject to a similar warning?

Dr. Stuttaford

I am delighted that that point has been raised, because it is raised very often and it is so untrue. The evidence of the Royal College of Physician shows that it does not have to be the heavy smoker who will necessarily get a carcinoma of the lung. There is no doubt that he is more likely to get one the more he smokes, but even the mild social smoker can be at risk—even the man who smokes between one and nine a day. The dangers which we attribute to alcohol are attributable to its over-consumption. Taken in moderation, it is safe—

Mr. Skeet

And good for us.

Dr. Stuttaford

Indeed, it can be good for us. Cigarettes are never good for us, so there is a very important difference.

To go back to the case I quoted, I was not making this distinction. His Lordship in court was making the distinction between carcinogens and others. He was referring to carcinoma of the bladder, a comparatively rare complaint. The number of cases attributable to this chemical is, I believe, about 450. Think in terms of the 450 luckless people who developed this unpleasant disease in the manufacturing of rubber, and compare that figure with the tens of thousands who die from cigarette smoking. These are tens of thousands who die not at 65-plus—a rather miserable expectation of life, anyway—but at under 65.

When my right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) went into the Army happy to smoke because he knew that his expectation of life as an infantry officer was so small that he did not feel that tobacco would make much difference, how wrong he was.

Mr. Onslow

To be fair to my hon. Friend, he said that nobody warned him against the dangers of smoking, probably because they regarded his expectation of life as being so short.

Dr. Stuttaford

We lose more people every year from cigarette smoking, even if we halve the estimate given by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro), than we lost in all our bomber crews throughout the years of the last war. We lose more in any one year from cigarette smoking than we lost in army officers killed throughout the years of the First World War. We are dealing with figures of that magnitude.

Mr. Onslow

How many army officers were killed in the first war? I think my hon. Friend will find that the number exceeds the number with which he is comparing it.

Dr. Stuttaford

I cannot give the precise figures. I believe that about 55,000 bomber crewmen were lost in the second world war. We certainly lose more than that from cigarette smoking, and it is about 1970 that we are speaking and not about the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.

These statistics must be borne in mind if we are to realise the scale of the epidemic. It is in this context that the Secretary of State is to be thanked for what he did last week, when he encouraged us to believe that active steps would be taken. Last week many of us had come to the House feeling critical. Our criticisms were based on what we had been told by doctors, other members of the medical profession and laymen, and my right hon. Friend eased our fears, at any rate to some extent. Perhaps he is learning from a profession which is noted for its realistic and somewhat cynical approach to life. He would be well advised to catch more of our cynicism. It may be necessary when dealing with the manufacturers of tobacco products.

I do not believe that it is by some unexplained chance that so many hon. Members have come here to speak against the Motion, many of them from constituencies which have tobacco-interests. My hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Dr. Vaughan) and I have been approached by tobacco interests. We were asked whether we could be taken out to lunch, no doubt because they wanted to tell us how wrong we were in our views. There must have been a concerted effort, and if the tobacco industry had no fear about this, it would have no objection to what we are doing. The fact that the manufacturers are objecting shows that we have got them frightened, possibly for the first time. This is important because there can be no doubt that here is an industry which is making money from the death of people.

The hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) rightly compared the tobacco industry with the slave trade, which a century or two ago was regarded as a respectable way of life. Indeed, a great many people owed their living to it. I dare say that in half a century from now the tobacco industry will be just as reprehensible a way of earning a living as slave trading was then.

I appreciate that the lack of personal approach presents a difficulty. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) spoke of the encouragement to use polio vaccine as a result of the athlete who died. Something similar has been experienced with the tragic death of Lillian Board. Are we to wait for a popular young figure to die with carcinoma of the lung before these dangers are fully realised by the public? It is the personal approach which has made members of the medical profession so very much against any form of cigarette, pipe or cigar smoking. They have known personally so many sufferers who have died from the habit. They have watched them slowly die. It is the personal approach which is all important.

Hon. Members from the tobacco constituencies who go back to their constituencies this weekend—

3.30 p.m.

Sir K. Joseph

Will my hon. Friend tell the House whether he will follow the logic of what he says, and accept that what he is after is nothing less than a ban on the manufacture and distribution of cigarettes? He has evidently given up all hope that a safer, or less risky, form of cigarette smoking will develop. Therefore, is he telling us that what he and my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) are seeking is a total ban on the manufacture and distribution of cigarettes?

Dr. Stuttaford

No, I am not, because in this country we have the liberty to do things, even though they may be stupid. If one races a motor car there is a good chance of killing oneself, but that is a decision one has to take, and one knows the risks. But to be persuaded to smoke by the tobacco manufacturers and by their use of advertisements is something quite different. To persuade youngsters of 18, 19 or 20 to undertake a dangerous pastime without telling them the risks would be entirely immoral, but when we tell them the risks, that is good enough. We shall be telling them some of the risks.

There is some hypocrisy in this talk about research on safer cigarettes. We should be seeking, not safer cigarettes for those who yet have not started to smoke but safer cigarettes for those who cannot give up their addiction. It is most important to make that distinction.

That brings me back to the subject of advertising. This form of advertising is not just a matter of persuading the general public to change from one brand to another. I flicked through the magazines during the week and found, as the noble Lord, Lord Pratt said, that cigarette advertising is associated with sex symbols. One symbol is the fast motor car, and the other is the cigarette. We have the rather comfortable, masculine club-like atmosphere. One sees a packet of cigarettes lying on an eighteenth century library table. That can have nothing at all to do with one brand of cigarette or another. It certainly does not say that the brand is better or worse. It is an appeal to the very worst emotions in humans, and trying to get people to adopt the use of cigarettes as a prestige status symbol or a sex symbol.

There has been a lot of discussion about pipe tobacco smoking and cigar tobacco smoking. At this stage the evidence is conflicting. There is certainly no evidence to suggest that this type of smoking is safe—that is a gross misstatement; safer, perhaps, and, as such, might justify persuading people to change from cigarettes to pipes. I ask my right hon. Friend and those of his colleagues who are very much against the inclusion of pipe tobacco smoking whether, having read of the pipe tobacco smoke and cigar tobacco smoke, experiments on animals, they would, if sitting on the Dunlop Committee on Safety of Drugs, have any hesitation at all in passing this form of tobacco as a material safe for the use of the general public, and whether they would still encourage it or allow it to be encouraged by advertising.

At the moment, we know that the chemicals which can be extracted from the tar of pipes are very much more dangerous to animals than those extracted from the tar from cigarettes—much more dangerous. We do not get a similar picture in humans. We get a picture of increased carcinoma probably—some countries say certainly. There is every reason to believe that when pipe tobacco is smoked in the same way as cigarettes are today and when as many people smoke pipes, there will be figures similar to those in European countries where pipe and cigar smoking is today common.

I come to my usual point, which is the other dangers of tobacco. As I have said before, too often the general public has been allowed to think that someone who smokes excessively is running one risk, namely, the risk of dying of carcinoma in 15 to 20 years. Most people are fatalistic, and 15 years always seems a long way off: it is not just round the corner.

We do little good to our cause by pointing out the terrible hazards which may face a man 15 years hence. We must show him that there are other dangers. The tobacco industry's attempt to persuade the young woman to become the cigarette-smoker of the future is particularly wicked. The work carried out in Sheffield recently shows that one in five of the children lost during pregnancy to women who had smoked during pregnancy would have been saved if the woman had not smoked. Yet the tobacco industry has recently been trying to encourage younger women to smoke. That cannot be considered a reasonable, responsible attitude on the part of any industry.

There is now growing evidence of carcinoma of the bladder. There were probably far more cases quoted in Wright v. Dunlop Rubber Company of carcinoma of the bladder being due to cigarettes and tobacco than to rubber products.

Then there is the arterial problem. The hon. Lady the Member for Halifax will agree about this. She and I have been colleagues on and off for 20 years. When we met at a patient's bedside recently she said to me, not "How is the patient?" but, "Does he smoke?". It was a reasonable assumption on the hon. Lady's part that a man suffering from acute heart disease—a coronary or from artheroma—will have been a heavy smoker. This is an assumption that doctors have made for years and which is now being proved. It has been proved in animals. We can prove it in humans by statistics. The arteries of a person who smokes will fur up faster. His blood will clot more quickly.

The evidence collected from statistics again mainly incriminates cigarettes, but in animals what is incriminated is the animal's nicotine intake. So, if sufficient nicotine can be taken in from pipes and cigarettes, presumably there is a similar effect. Clinical practice shows that the heavy cigar or pipe smoker is liable, like the heavy cigarette smoker, to have artheroma and coronaries.

Sir K. Joseph

Will my hon. Friend come to the main point? Why does he think that the Bill as before the House, which has nothing to do with advertisements, will be anything more effective than the voluntary agreement reached by the Government?

Dr. Stuttaford

I will come to that point in a few minutes. The first reason we should have legislation is that the country is looking for a lead. This lead will be given by positive measures taken by the Government, rather than by acquiescence in a state of affairs which may slowly grow up. Sometimes there is a public lead which the Government should follow. Every now and again it is the duty of a Government to lead rather than to follow. At the moment public opinion is overtaking that of the legislators. The public is beginning to demand action. This is the action we might well take.

Second, in the early 1960s at the time of the initial report by Bradford and Hill, the tobacco industry denied it. The tobacco industry is now tending to limit the scope of the problem by containing it entirely to cigarettes. Here again this shows that we need more than voluntary agreement. The point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Platt is that on advertising they have not kept to the voluntary agreement. They have got round it on every possible occasion.

Sir G. Nabarro

My right hon. Friend said a moment ago that this Bill had nothing to do with advertising. Does he not realise that he is totally incorrect in this matter? The Long Title of this Bill has been deliberately and carefully drawn in order to enable the Minister or any future Minister, by Statutory Instrument, totally to prohibit advertising or circumscribe it or regulate it or direct it if he so wishes. That is the purpose of the Long Title and it was carefully checked before it was drafted.

Sir K. Joseph

Would my hon. Friend point to the part of the Bill, apart from the Long Title, that gives the Minister the power to which he refers? The Long Title may allow the Bill to be amended to include such a power, but will my hon. Friend tell the House where the power is contained?

Sir G. Nabarro

I do not wish to intervene unduly in my hon. Friend's speech, but I will instruct my hon. Friend at once. There are powers in this Bill for regulation by Statutory Instrument, and such Statutory Instrument may do any of the things I denoted in connection with advertising. The parliamentary draftsman advised me of that and drew the Long Title of the Bill for me in order to ensure that that was possible if the House of Commons so desired.

Now I give way to my hon. Friend.

Dr. Stuttaford

We have had legislation on less powerful and less important aspects of industry. We had legislation on the use of cyclamates, for instance—a rather poorly proved case against cyclamates probably. Yet we have this refusal to have legislation on the tobacco industry.

As to the nature of the warning to be put on cigarette packets, here I feel that the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South is quite right. Mention of "H.M. Government" is a mistake because young people tend to be antiestablishment. I do not think that it would be considered so much as a wicked Tory plot, as the hon. Gentleman may think, but all young people are anti- establishment, and with the seal of the establishment in terms of "H.M. Government" it is unlikely to encourage young people to obey the warning.

Reference to the American Surgeon-General is unsatisfactory from our point of view, but the inclusion in the warning of the "Royal College of Physicians" or "Doctors" might be a very good way of wording it. The hon. Member for Reading, who is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, is very much of this opinion. There is this feeling that young people will react against anything which is establishmentarian, and it would be better to phrase the warning in terms of the medical fraternity, because we have a degree of mutual acceptance.

I hope that we shall reach a decision on this Clause fairly soon. We have discussed it for two afternoons and we now want to get on with the rest of the Bill.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Skeet

Listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford), it seems that he would like a complete ban on tobacco, although I agree that his observations came short of that. However, he went into some detail about the consequences of smoking, and I think that all of us who have read the Report of the Royal College of Physicians will be impressed by the danger.

I am inclined to agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Halifax (Dr. Summerskill) that the right course lies in education. This is why I put down a new Clause—I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) has subscribed to it—to ensure that vending machines are not available in schools and to ensure that a lot more is done on this front. It is the younger generation which is most important in this context.

At an earlier stage, my right hon. Friend asked my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South what was the difference between, say, a consent order by the manufacturers and legislation as he understood it, and he replied at that time that it was only Clause 7 which related to children. This is the most extraordinary Private Member's Bill that I have seen, for one Clause after another in the first seven has been deleted and my right hon. Friend's Clauses inserted in their place. It is an entirely new Bill.

Are we convinced that the legislature could do a better job than an undertaking by private industry? Fairly recently in the House, on the City of London (Various Powers) Bill, I tried to persuade the City Fathers that, if they had an agreement with the manufacturers for the supply of sulphur-free fuel, that would be a more desirable way than depending upon legislation to achieve their purposes. My idea was that there would in that way be immediate implementation of the desired provisions, one would not have to wait for the passage of the Bill, and, in addition, there would be some flexibility.

I take the argument further. I shall not cross swords with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) on what he said earlier about an agreement not constituting a contractual obligation, although it would be signed by nine or 10 manufacturers, but it seems to me that there is consideration for an agreement here in that the Minister would say, "If you are prepared to put this in the form of an agreement, there will be no general legislation on the matter provided you observe the terms". On that basis, it could be construed—and it might at a later date be so construed by the court—as constituting a valid agreement.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

My response to that flows from the comment which I made earlier. They are not a legal entity. They are not a legal persona. There is no agreement capable of enforcement by any known process of law. Therefore, there is not an enforceable agreement of the sort which my hon. Friend was so keen to advocate a few weeks ago during the passage of the Industrial Relations Bill.

Mr. Skeet

That may well be so, but I can give other examples showing how such agreements have been extremely efficacious in the past and on which there has been no going back by the companies concerned. Time after time, Reports have come from the Monopolies Commission and then, instead of the House of Commons passing legislation, the authorities have gone to the companies concerned—Gallaher was one example—which have accepted that a certain course was desirable, saying, in effect, "In those terms, it may well be desirable for us to make suitable amends", and they have in fact done so.

The Companies Court has made recommendations, but without legislation the necessary things have been done. One of the best examples, though, admittedly, outside the United Kingdom, is the consent order of the United States Department of Justice. After thorough examination of an industry, it has been decided that certain modifications were desirable, and the industry concerned has consented. It may be one industry; it may be several. I agree that it would not be a single persona. At the same time, it is conceded that these undertakings are observed for all time.

Sir B. Rhys Williams

Would it be right to say that my hon. Friend's argument is that Government by Department is preferable to Government by Parliament, and that in this case the gentleman in the Elephant and Castle knows best?

Mr. Skeet

I am not suggesting Government by Department. I am suggesting that the Conservatives believe that we have had too much legislation in the past few years, and that if we can get the willing support of industry to a number of proposals, it is better. We could legislate on every conceivable front, and then we would have a log jam in this place.

My hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South referred to the Industrial Relations Bill. I can give a good reason why that is distinguishable from other legislation. The last substantive piece of legislation in that field was in 1913–58 years ago. There was a 1927 Act, but that was repealed. In respect of tobacco, the great danger is that we would be legislating for the first time. My right hon. Friend is telling the tobacco industry, "We shall give you an opportunity to keep your word, but if we feel that it is necessary we shall come back with the legislative process." Numerous Acts of Parliament have dealt with industrial relations. We had such legislation in 1875, 1906, 1927, the Repeal Act of 1964, and the Repeal Act in connection with Rookes v. Barnard.

Mr. Crouch

I hope that my hon. Friend will not allow himself to get bogged down by the lawyers, learned as they are. It is not practical for us to have to rely on statutory regulations. There is such a thing as a gentleman's agreement. One example was much discussed two years ago. It concerned the practice of the advertising industry, which is very much concerned with this Measure. That practice is controlled by voluntary arrangement. The last Administration deliberately stepped back from adopting the American technique of setting up a statutory body to control advertising practice.

Mr. Skeet

I take the view that if we can get industry to do something voluntarily, so much the better. I am impressed by the suggestion that we should establish a code of industrial practice. Such codes have been very useful in the oil and chemical industries, in connection with pipelines. That might well make sense.

Last Friday my right hon. learned Friend said that he was no lover of tobacco. He said: I am a non-smoker, and I find cigarette smoking an obnoxious habit; it is unpleasant for a non-smoker to be near cigarette smoking."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 1575.] But he advocates a certain amount of independence in the matter. He has stressed the necessity to appreciate the liberty of the subject. I, for my weaknesses and vices, smoke a pipe. I should try to persuade my children not to participate in the same habit, but I see no great harm in it.

Mr. F. P. Crowder (Ruislip-Northwood)

Does not my hon. Friend agree that in law there is no such thing as a gentleman's agreement? It is one of the biggest nonsenses ever perpetrated in the House of Commons. It would not be binding on any future Government. Will he address himself to the facts, which are that the Government are being utterly sloppy and irresponsible in this matter. They have a responsibility and they should take it.

Mr. Skeet

I just cannot accept this. If we take half the business of the City of London it is done through gentlemen's agreements. If they give an undertaking to a foreign government or company, they would not breach that agreement. What I am saying is that the companies have given to my right hon. Friend the information that they are prepared to participate. Willing agreement is much better than reluctant participation.

I am inclined to think that the arrangement which has been reached is better. If I am to be convinced of the additional advantages which can be derived through a Government having an Act of Parliament rather than a voluntary arrangement, I must have some more evidence. We have the advantage here in that we already have advertisements under certain control. A Committee has been established to look into future research and there is industrial research going ahead. A number of departmental inquiries are being undertaken.

The point of these is to determine whether smoking should be prohibited in certain public places such as cinemas. I should have thought that there was an even broader coverage in this way. I was surprised to hear my right hon. Friend say that he would see whether stages two and three ought to be implemented. What these will involve I do not know, but we may move ahead to the time when it will be very rare for anyone to smoke in the United Kingdom.

To put a warning on a package is one thing. When it is picked up for the first time a person may look at it and read what is said. After it has been there for a while it is ignored. It is right, if we are to have a warning at all, to have one which will indicate clearly what it intends. It must be prominent, it must have a message and it must convey that message to the public. The authority in this case is the Government because they have taken responsibility for it and I should have thought that it is up to the industry in consultation with the Government to reach a code of practice.

I do not accept that the size of the warning should be one-sixth of the packet. This is over-doing it. It would be inviting the manufacturer to denigrate his own goods. I suggest that a discreet statement, possibly in a form acceptable to both sides indicating, as it has been put in an Amendment, that it is damaging to health and therefore inadvisable for people to follow this form of addiction, is sufficient. What people may think, reading the Schedule to the Bill as we have it here, is that if they smoke they will fall into all sorts of difficulties. Not only will they get cancer, they will get bronchitis and heart disease and other diseases. The layman may be excused if he forms the impression that this is the way to get these complaints and that there is no other way in which they are obtained.

Sir G. Nabarro

All of that cannot be put on the side of a packet of 10 Player's cigarettes. Would my hon. Friend not agree that the simple graphic and forceful terms of my Amendment, which are the words unanimously decided upon by the B.M.A. and which thereby clothe the warning with medical respectability, are better: Smoking IS harmful to health.

Mr. Skeet

My hon. Friend has made so many attempts that I prefer to go back to his original Schedule which has been revived. Not only is he to have something on the side of the packet but he wants a cigarette card inside, a course of instruction and advice to the person who may accept a packet, telling him not to smoke. Like all cigarette cards they would probably be taken out and thrown away eventually. This would not have any influence at all.

Sir G. Nabarro

They would be collected by small boys.

Mr. Skeet

Small boys will be properly protected by altering the curricula in schools whereby they will be educated in the right thing to do and how dangerous it is to indulge in any kind of smoking. That is the most appropriate course. To do otherwise would be to suggest that one is going to try to get rid of an addiction.

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

Debate to be resumed upon Friday neat.

Sir G. Nabarro

All day.