HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1647-9
8. 8. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take arising out of the Royal College of Physicians' Report on the incidence of lung cancer.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I am increasing the scale of the anti-smoking activities of the Scottish Health Education Unit; and in conjunction with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Social Services and the Secretary of State for Wales, I am considering what further steps should be taken.

Mr. Eadie

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that any Government would be doing a great disservice to this and future generations if they did not give proper attention to the injurious implications arising from this Report? Will he keep the House informed of the steps he is taking to try to publicise those implications?

Mr. Campbell

I am glad to agree with the principle behind that supplementary question. There is Private Members' legislation before the House at present on this subject. Perhaps it is a sign of the times that the past three Secretaries of State for Scotland were all quite heavy smokers, whereas the present Secretary of State is a non-smoker.

Mr. Milan

Is the Secretary of State aware that many of us believe that no Government have faced up to their responsibilities in this regard and that there is now an unanswerable case for a very severe restriction on or the banning of cigarette advertising? I include the previous Government in this stricture.

Mr. Campbell

The recent Report has brought out more sharply than ever the dangers of smoking, and the consequences of this are being considered by the Government.

Dr. Miller

When the Secretary of State is considering this matter, will he bear in mind that even the Swiss and the German reports about smoking and lung cancer deal specifically with other forms of cancer and that it is obvious to authorities all over the world that there is a direct relation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer? Other forms of cancer may or may not be affected. It is lung cancer that we are concerned about. Will the right hon. Gentleman take this point strictly into account when he is considering these matters?

Mr. Campbell

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting a point with his professional knowledge. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already stated that inter-Departmental discussions have begun on all the implications of the Report and that these are being urgently pursued.