HC Deb 10 March 1977 vol 927 cc1614-5
5. Mr. McCusker

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to introduce legislation in Northern Ireland to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products to children under 16 years of age.

Mr. Carter

Legislation on this matter is currently under consideration, but I am unable to be more definite until all necessary consultations have been completed.

Mr. McCusker

Is the Minister aware that his statement will be welcomed by many people in Northern Ireland? Extra measures have been announced in the House this week. Does the Minister agree that it is important that he should remove this anomaly? Is it not disgraceful that Northern Ireland should be the only part of the United Kingdom where sales of cigarette and tobacco products can still be made legally to children under the age of 16?

Mr. Carter

I am aware of all that the hon. Member has said, but it will be up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide whether they want to come into line with the rest of the United Kingdom. We welcome observations on this issue from the hon. Member and from anybody in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Fell

I am not pro-smoking, but have the police in Northern Ireland not got enough to do without the introduction of legislation of this kind?

Mr. Carter

We are not simply talking of dealing with the matter in this way. Perhaps parents would be influenced if we had some legislation on the statute book. That is always possible.