§ Question again proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second Time.11.29 am
§ Mr. Rathbone
I must first apologise for not realising that you, Madam Speaker, wished to intervene in my speech.
I was saying that advertising in mature markets, whatever the product or service, is almost always tuned to the development and capturing of market share rather than to market development.
§ Mr. Rathbone
Will my hon. Friend forgive me if I do not do so? If I do not make headway, I fear that I shall not say everything that I want. I am afraid that it is rather factual, heavy stuff but it deals with the thrust of the Bill.
The Smee report, which has been mentioned, is seen by many proponents of an advertising ban as evidence of a link between developing consumption and advertising, but the opposite is true. Interestingly, the Smee report states that it is most true in the United Kingdom. It categorically states that its own statistical research exercise established that there was no such link in the United Kingdom, and it noted that independent research shows that advertising has no discernible effect on persuading children to start smoking.
These are statements in the Smee report. It is not peculiar, therefore, that Clive Smee has stated his believe that much more work needs to be done before any link could ever be established. It is interesting that many current advertising campaigns for cigarettes are unintelligible for those other than smokers of the brand.
§ Mr. Rathbone
If I am a chicken, it would be unparliamentary to describe what the hon. Gentleman is.
Argument for a ban would lead to much more pressure for such a step if a link were ever established. It is unlikely that it will be, but that is purely conjecture, and it is important to keep a perspective on the issue as a whole.
Advertising is permitted in the United Kingdom, yet cigarette consumption is declining faster here than in any other European country except Holland, where advertising is allowed. That is a considerable achievement, not least because of the positive contribution of the Health Education Authority. I defer to its efforts to improve health in this country, and to reduce the propensity to smoke. It needs our support.
It would be sad if that achievement were put at risk by freezing the market, which would be likely to stop the decline. The Health Education Authority says:all available measures which reduce smoking should be taken.I absolutely agree, but an advertising ban would be as likely to have the opposite effect as it would be to have a beneficial effect. That is an extremely important point to make to all hon. Members who are concerned, as I am, about smoking and its effects but who have misunderstood the Bill as making the contribution that it aims to make.
§ Sir Peter Emery
I rise to interrupt because I know that my hon. Friend would not want to mislead the House. He has quoted conclusively from the Smee report. It has been pointed out, but I must point it out to him again, that, in his conclusion on the effect of advertising on the consumption of cigarettes, Smee says:The balance of evidence thus supports the conclusion that advertising does have a positive effect on consumption.It would not be right for my hon. Friend to advance evidence without giving the conclusion of the Smee report. I am certain that he does not wish to mislead the House.
§ Mr. Rathbone
Smee has also expressed his belief that much more work needs to be done before any link can be established. Either of the statements can be interpreted in any way, and each side of the argument will do so, but Smee's belief is as true as the conclusion that my right hon. Friend quoted.
§ Mr. Rathbone
No, I could not possibly.
It is interesting that the four European Community countries with the best record on reducing smoking oppose further restrictions on cigarette advertising. It is not by chance that none of the four owns or has a monopoly in tobacco production and distribution, as is found in other countries. The power of advertising, in helping to sell a brand into a market, is clearly an insidious one as far as some countries' domestic trade is concerned. That influences their support of an advertising ban much more than any health circumstances.
The hon. Members for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) arid for Tooting (Mr. Cox) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) have said that the case for health must be given priority. It is extremely important to analyse the experience of other countries where an advertising ban has been put into effect and what other influences have come into play. I say that particularly because I believe that our Chancellor of the Exchequer has applied the most serious, strongest and successful determinant in deterring people from smoking cigarettes—putting up their price.
New Zealand was mentioned by the hon. Member for Rother Valley. A partial ban on advertising was introduced there in December 1990. The British Medical Journal made much of the effect of the ban and declining consumption thereafter, but at the same time, and predating that Bill, there was a massive series of increases in excise tax.
These figures will shock my hon. Friends who are worried about indirect taxation or taxation of any kind: excise tax was increased in July 1989 by 28 per cent. and again by 110 per cent., in September 1989 by 112 per cent, in March 1990 by 115 per cent., in September 1990 by 118 per cent., in March 1991 by 121 per cent., and in July 1991 by 146 per cent.
Tobacco consumption had been falling since 1975—long before the increases started—but it was given added impetus by them. It is not peculiar, therefore, that the New Zealand Health Minister commented in November 1991: 595Changes in New Zealand's attitude to smoking led to a decline in tobacco consumption before the imposition of a ban and this decline has continued. At the same time economic factors such as a fall in incomes have had an effect on consumption.Price increases, economic recession and changes in attitudes are responsible for the decline in overall consumption, rather than a partial advertising ban.
Let us go right the way round the world—to Canada, where there are similar circumstances. An advertising ban came into effect there in 1989. Simultaneously, excise tax was increased by more than 50 per cent. In 1990, the majority of provinces increased excise taxes by between 10 and 50 per cent. In 1991, the Federal Government increased their excise tax by another 58 per cent., and nine out of the 10 provinces increased excise tax by 20 to 40 per cent.
It is no wonder, therefore, that a recent appraisal by the Canadian Superior Court foundthe possibility (that advertising may affect overall consumption) goes no further than speculation and certainly does not rise to the level of probability.Hon. Members may say that those are instances from other parts of the world, so let us return to an instance in our continent. An analysis of consumption for the period 1973 to 1990, carried out by the Institute for Youth Research for the German Federal Office for Health Education, concluded that there is no link between advertising for cigarettes and their consumption. Indeed, smoking had been decreasing among young people even though—
§ Mr. Rathbone
The hon. Member might listen rather than always interjecting from a seated position.
Smoking among young people had declined even though the weight of advertising had substantially increased. That is very important.
I therefore remain committed to the reduction of smoking, but, contrary to popular opinion, and contrary to some of the arguments put in the House—in speeches and from a sedentary position—there is no case that will hold water that shows that the banning of tobacco advertising will contribute to that commitment. The gist of the Bill is that there is a link.
I share with other hon. Members considerable regret that so many children smoke, but all research shows that peer group pressure and parental influence are, and always were, the predominant factors in the problem. It is completely unproven, so it should not, especially when considering legislation, be unquestioningly accepted that advertising plays any significant part.
Of course children see advertising wherever they go—we all do—but that is because advertising is widespread in our daily life and is an expression of commercial freedom that allows our free market to operate. If ever advertising were restricted on the basis that children might see it, a peculiar foundation would have been laid for similar restrictions on all products that are inappropriate for sale to children, not always for reasons of health promotion.
§ Mr. Rathbone
No; the hon. Gentleman has already interjected enough from a sedentary position.
596 Seeing is not the same as being influenced to consume. Advertising's task would be much simpler if that were the case. Further, in pursuing such an argument in the case of tobacco, one should not ignore the publicity given to health risks through the advertised health warning, an argument that was made in an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman).
One must, I believe, pay a compliment to the Government for the progress that has been made. It is well outlined in the "Smoke-free for Health" publication. I cite two items. There has been a decrease in smoking in the United Kingdom from 45 per cent. of the population in 1974 to 30 per cent. in 1990. A linear extrapolation of that line will lead to a rate of only 20 per cent. in the year 2000.
Another item to which I draw the House's attention is the effect of the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991. That gives additional protection to children at the point of sale, and it is crucial that they are protected at the point of sale.
§ Mr. Rathbone
I should like to draw the attention of the House to the importance of that Act. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds), who promoted the Bill and who is trying to draw attention to the fact now.
The freedom to communicate is what is at stake in the Bill. That must remain an extremely high priority for products that are legally and generally available. In a matter as important as that, I feel that the case for banning advertising has to be made—I believe that it has not been made in this case—before the Bill is given a Second Reading.
§ Ms Liz Lynne (Rochdale)
On behalf of the Liberal Democrats, I am extremely happy to welcome the Bill. I wish the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) every success during its passage through Parliament. I also hope that the Government will allow hon. Members to express their own views rather than trying to impose the view of a section of the Cabinet. I have been part of the campaign against tobacco advertising for many years—long before I was elected. I am sure that many other right hon. and hon. Members have waited even longer for an opportunity to introduce a ban on tobacco advertising.
There is widespread evidence that tobacco advertising has an effect on consumption, whatever some right hon. and hon. Members may say. There is evidence that the Government themselves accept. Despite that, the Department of Health has failed to act decisively. The body of people—and organisations—who have come out in favour of a ban has been growing daily. I am sure that most hon. Members here have received information from various groups urging us to support a ban. One group in favour of a ban is the Conservative Medical Society. The patrons of that esteemed organisation are the Prime Minister and his immediate predecessor, who is not exactly 597 well known for her anti-smoking stance. Even the Cabinet is split on the issue, with senior Ministers such as the President of the Board of Trade, the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a former Secretary of State for Health, being reported as being in favour of a ban.
Despite the groundswell of support, the Government have failed to act. In its recent document, "Smoke-Free for Health", the Department of Health admitted that smoking and its consequences for the health of the nation were still a major problem and that it was especially unhappy that smoking levels among 11 to 15-year-olds were not declining as much as it would like. The Government's response to the news—proposals to tax advertising or a levy on hoardings—will merely swell the Treasury coffers. Despite accepting the link between advertising and consumption, all that the Department has given us is an action plan which plans to take no effective action.
What is the extent of the health problems related to smoking? There are some useful statistics on this, courtesy of the Department of Health. Every year, more than 100,000 people die from tobacco-related diseases, more than 1,100 of them in my constituency of Rochdale. One non-smoker dies each day from lung cancer as a result of inhaling other people's smoke.
About 50 children under five are admitted each clay to hospital suffering from illnesses related to passive smoking. Those children also have more respiratory diseases than children from families who do not smoke. At a recent conference, it was declared that passive smoking was the biggest single factor in cot deaths. It is clear from those figures and many others that smoking is a major health hazard. Should we, therefore, be encouraging people to take up that addictive and dangerous habit? I think not.
§ Mr. Robert Banks
The hon. Lady has produced some figures, but she has not substantiated them. She has not explained how they have been evaluated or whether we can be sure about them. Will she enlighten us?
§ Ms Lynne
I take the hon. Gentleman's point. We may in future want to consider measures such as those that the United States Government are proposing whereby smokers are limited to smoking in certain places. Today, we are simply talking about a ban on advertising tobacco products. Given that most of us agree that smoking is harmful, it must be questionable whether such activities should be advertised on that basis alone.
I admit that the evidence on the effects of a ban is mixed. However, it is clear that in many places a ban has been successful. In Norway, smoking has decreased by 9 per cent. since the introduction of a ban. In New Zealand, it has decreased by 5.5 per cent. and in Canada by 4 per cent. Of course I accept that there are other influences that lead people to smoke, such as parental example, which may be more important. However, that alone is not an adequate excuse for not tackling the problem of tobacco advertising.
598 If, as many people argue, tobacco advertising is of little consequence and merely encourages people to change brands, why do tobacco companies spend about £100 million a year advertising their products? If the general public are so immune to advertising in general, why are the Government spending £12 million on an advertising and publicity campaign against smoking? Clearly, advertising does have an effect on people's behaviour. If it does not, the tobacco companies and the Department of Health are wasting an awful lot of money.
The final argument against banning tobacco advertising is that it is a terrible affront to freedom. As a Liberal Democrat, I am naturally concerned about attacks on individual liberties. However, we should consider whether it is more important for tobacco companies to have the freedom to advertise their wares or for individual citizens to have the freedom to live long and healthy lives. To my mind, a long and healthy life is of greater importance.
We have long had restrictions on the freedom of tobacco companies to advertise their products. Cigarette advertising, as has been mentioned, was banned on television in 1964 and the ban was extended to other tobacco products in 1991. Essentially, the theoretical argument for banning advertising was won more than 30 years ago. The Government's weak-kneed response to these arguments and to others that have been put by other hon. Members is that the voluntary controls that they have agreed with the industry are perfectly adequate. I would dispute that.
§ Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)
If the argument that the advertising of tobacco was all about brands, would it not be true to say that if all brands were banned from advertising they would have nothing to lose? Does the hon. Lady agree that the reason why hon. Members are arguing against the Bill is that they want to atttract new people to smoking?
§ Ms Lynne
The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point with which I agree. Although the cigarette advertising code of practice says that adverts must not appeal more to the young than to the rest of the population, it is clear, as has been stated before, that the "Reg" campaign for Embassy Regal cigarettes did so. We all know that the series of advertisements was eventually withdrawn under pressure from the regulators. However, as the hon. Member for Rother Valley said, the adverts are back in a different form. The problem with regulations, voluntary or otherwise, is that advertisers will do their best to get around them and will often succeed in subtle ways which are not noticed by the regulator until it is too late.
§ Mr. Nigel Evans
What would happen if we banned the advertising of tobacco products and therefore the Government health warning disappeared from magazines and billboards? What impact would that have?
§ Ms Lynne
It would mean that a lot of young people especially would not take up smoking. If they could not see the tobacco advertising hoardings, we would not need the Government health warning.
The health risks involved mean that smoking is not a habit that we should be encouraging people to take up. If tobacco had been discovered in the past 100 years, rather than in the time of Elizabeth I, it would have been declared illegal. The number of teenage smokers shows that current campaigns and regulations do not work among the group of people about which we should be most concerned. The freedom of potential smokers to live a long and healthy life 599 and the freedom of their children or partners to be unaffected by passive smoking for outweigh the freedom of the tobacco industry to market their products.
I therefore urge the House to support the Bill for the sake of the health of nation.
§ Sir John Hannam (Exeter)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) on securing a place in the ballot and also on the selection of such an important subject for his Bill. Many of us have had the opportunity to promote private Members Bills in the past, but no one has had such an opportunity to save hundreds and possibly thousands of lives through such a Bill.
It is important for the House to remember that the Bill is an attempt not to remove an essential freedom from the individual, but to protect the susceptible individual from the dangers of addiction to a dangerous drug through subtle advertising. John Stuart Mill wrote on liberty:as soon as any part of a person's conduct affects prejudicially the interests of others, society has jurisdiction over it, and the question whether the general welfare will or will not be promoted by interfering with it, becomes open to discussion … Whenever, in short, there is a definite damage or a definite risk of damage, either to an individual or to the public, the case is taken out of the province of liberty and placed in that of morality or law".There are plenty of precedents for such limitations in the promotion of other goods. Prescription medicines are not allowed by law to be advertised to the general public, and under the British code of advertising practice, no advertisement to the lay public is allowed in respect of a long list of diseases and conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, kidney disease, tuberculosis, any heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a number of others. It is extremely ironic that it is illegal to advertise cures for cancer, but legal to advertise and promote the agent that causes it.
Every year, 110,000 people die from smoking-related diseases in Britain. Smoking is the greatest preventable threat to health in the developed world. It kills 21 times as many people as road accidents and 15 times as many people as those who die of suicide, murder or manslaughter. Smoking is responsible for approximately one third of all cancers. Lung cancer kills more people than any other type of cancer, and 81 per cent. of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.
The younger the person when he or she begins smoking, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer. When I see young boys and girls puffing away at cigarettes, I feel a deep sense of anguish at the dangers they are facing.
§ Ms Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)
On that point, I am fortunate to have as one of my constituents Professor Baum, professor of surgery and director of clinical research at the Royal Marsden hospital. In a letter to me, he says that he was especially in favour of banning tobacco advertising, and says that it could prevent young people from developing the habit. The letter states:this could lead to the saving of say 20,000 premature deaths a year. This simple expedient could achieve more than the sum total of our research efforts into cancer".
§ Sir John Hannam
The hon. Lady is right to produce that evidence. All hon. Members have received a wide range of representations from medical experts that give the same message. There are other common killers in our lives, one of which is coronary heart disease. That is the leading 600 cause of death in the United Kingdom, and smoking is responsible for at least 20 per cent. of those 175,000 deaths.
My father died of a coronary attack 10 years before his normal life expectation. He was a chain smoker who smoked 50 or more a day. He was encouraged to smoke during the first world war, in which he served, by the free issue of good old Woodbine cigarettes to all service men. We talked about parental influence—I grew up with my two brothers and my sister to the sound each morning of a wracking smoker's cough. The effect of my father smoking meant that none of us ever smoked a cigarette in our lives.
In recent years, medical evidence has accumulated to the stage where any measure to prevent smoking addiction surely must have the support of anyone interested in preventive care.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
My hon. Friend has read out figures on the causes of death that are probably not in dispute. He mentioned coronary diseases and heart problems. To provide a sense of balance, he should inform us—if he knows the figures—how many diseases are alcohol-related, particularly in relation to young people. If, as I suspect, those figures are comparable with the ones that he has given on tobacco-related illness, would he follow the same course of action suggested in the Bill and ban the advertising of alcohol?
§ Sir John Hannam
I shall leave the hon. Gentleman to make the points that he wants to make in his own speech. As someone who is interested in preventing illness, disease and death, I find it astonishing that people should use another activity that also causes deaths to argue against a measure that could prevent hundreds and thousands of deaths.
We now know that unborn children are affected by their mothers smoking, just as non-smokers are affected by smokers in confined spaces. With all that evidence, I am amazed that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health still defends the present position, although she is beginning to meet our wishes with the voluntary code. I am amazed that the Government oppose the European draft directive to ban tobacco advertising.
The costs to the health service are enormous. About 10,000 hospital beds are occupied daily by people suffering from smoking-related diseases, at an annual cost to the NHS of more than £325 million. The Government have set "Health of the Nation" targets for the reduction in the morbidity and mortality patterns in heart disease, cancers, HIV and AIDS, sexual health, accidents and mental illness. Smoking has been implicated directly or indirectly—including social settings—in the epidemiology of those diseases. If there is no ban on tobacco advertising, the Government's own good intentions for health of the nation issues will be seriously undermined.
If the Department of Health wishes to decrease the incidents and prevalence of those diseases, but stands out against banning advertisements, it sets up a contradiction. It is strange that, while the Department of Health pays lip service to the problem, I, and I expect other hon. Members, have received impassioned pleas from our constituency health organisations asking us to support the Bill.
I have received letters from the Devon family health services authority, the Royal Devon and Exeter health care trust, the Exeter and district community health service trust, the Exeter and North Devon health authorities, the 601 Exeter and district branch of the National Council of Women of Great Britain and the local office of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Surely that combined call from integral parrts of our national health service should convince the Government of the need for a complete ban on tobacco advertising.
I received a letter from the British Thoracic Society which stated:In our work as respiratory physicians we are all too aware of the tragic consequences of smoking. Every year over 40,000 men and women die from lung cancer, and in 90 per cent. of these people the condition is caused by smoking. On top of this, 75 per cent. of the 22,000 people who die from chronic bronchitis and emphysema can blame their condition on smoking, and we know and see much of the long-term breathlessness and suffering which precedes death.This is the important bit:It seems most unlikely that the Government's White Paper targets for smoking reduction among children will be achieved without a major new initiative particularly to reduce the alarming levels of children and especially young girls who continue to take up smoking. The Government's advisers, in the Smee Report, concluded after a full appraisal of the evidence that one of the most effective ways of reducing the uptake of smoking among young people would be a complete ban on all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion.
§ Mr. Edward Leigh (Gainsborough and Horncastle)
I am sorry to intervene on my hon. Friend and take up time, but as two and a half hours have passed and only one speech has been made against the Bill, I hope that I will be allowed to make a point.
Surely my hon. Friend, who is a reasonable man, will accept that, notwithstanding one's disapproval of smoking—I do not smoke, either—there is a fundamental civil liberties point; that never before have we banned advertising of something that was freely available over the counter, not on a prescription and not on a licence. It is truly a mark of a free society that one is prepared to tolerate other people's practices and opinions, even if one disapproves of them.
§ Sir John Hannam
If that was a correct statement, I would agree with it, but it is not. There are bans on advertising in a wide range of areas.
§ Sir John Hannam
On television and on radio. We have bans, in effect. As I have mentioned, we have bans on the promotion of all sorts of other products. My hon. Friend's argument does not apply.
§ Mr. Piers Merchant (Beckenham)
I do not want to labour the point, but does my hon. Friend accept that restrictions are different from total bans, and that there is no example of a product which has a total ban on advertising and yet is freely available? That is a crucial point.
§ Sir John Hannam
There is a total ban on the advertising of cigarattes on television and radio. There is a ban, in effect. It is untrue that it does not exist—it does exist. The Bill would extend the ban to try to alleviate a grave threat to the nation's health.
The question is whether a ban would work and effectively reduce smoking. The fact that the Government are pursuing wide-ranging controls through their voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry shows that they believe that bans work.
602 In any case, the chief economic adviser of the Department of Health, who has been quoted several times, in his survey on the effectiveness of such bans, reported that other countries have introduced bans on advertising and that there have been evident significant drops in consumption. He has reported on four countries, but others, such as France, Italy, Australia, Sweden and Portugal, also now have bans on advertising, so we are not treading a lone course in following the proposal.
In this country, such a ban would replace the voluntary agreements between the Government and the tobacco industry which currently control tobacco advertising. All are agreed, I believe, that that self-regulatory system is flawed, as it regulates only the style and the media of tobacco advertising. Such advertising is banned on television and radio, but it is legal elsewhere. It is legal in streets, shops, cinemas, sponsored sports and entertainment venues. As we know, every year the tobacco industry spends more than £100 million on advertisements which help to recruit new users, usually young children arid young adults.
If there is a problem with a loss of tax revenue, it is misplaced. The saving in health costs and in the health of the nation will more than outweigh the tax revenue lost through the introduction of the measure. In any case, the Government have power to adjust tax revenue through the tobacco duties that they apply.
We in the all-party disablement group place at the top of the list the prevention of illness, disease and disability. Prevention is absolutely at the top of the list. I passionately believe that the House should support the measure, and I ask hon. Members to give it a Second Reading today.
§ Mr. John Austin-Walker (Woolwich)
This Bill, like the one introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Warley, West (Mr. Faulds), is partly aimed at the rights and protection of the health of children. This is one of the areas on which I wish to concentrate.
Hon. Members may have seen the report from the Royal College of Physicians, a "Charter for children's rights to freedom from tobacco". Essentially, the message of the royal college, which is backed by a range of organisations such as the British Cardiac Society, the British Heart Foundation, the British Lung Foundation, the British Thoracic Society and numerous organisations concerned with health, is that they expect public health to reflect those rights.
There has been some discussion about who is influenced by advertising. There is no doubt that young people are especially susceptible to being affected by advertising. Eighty-four per cent. of regular smokers say that they became regular smokers before the age of 20. Forty-five per cent. of male smokers and 39 per cent. of female smokers say that they became regular smokers before the age of 16—before the age below which it is now illegal for retailers to sell and supply the product.
It has been suggested by those who speak for the advertising industry and the tobacco industry that tobacco advertising only increases the market share, not the total consumption. All the evidence points to the fact that the advertising of cigarettes has a particular effect, both in terms of total consumption and market share, on young people, especially those under the age of 16.
603 When we talk about this product, and whether it is right or wrong to ban specific products, we must examine the specific nature of tobacco. Can hon. Members name any other manufactured product that, if used according to the manufacturer's instructions, is likely to kill one in four of the people who use it? Tobacco must be seen in a specific light.
We know that the largest cause of preventable ill health is smoking. Each year, 110,000 premature deaths are caused by and linked directly to smoking. A comparison has been made between deaths from smoking and deaths from other causes such as road accidents and suicides. If we add together all the deaths from road accidents, suicides, murder, manslaughter, fires, the use of illicit drugs and AIDS, we still find that there are six times more premature deaths from smoking than the total number of deaths from those other causes.
We are talking about 300 deaths a day—that is 300 customers a day that the tobacco industry loses. To maintain its market, the industry needs to recruit 300 new smokers a day. Who are those new smokers whom the industry recruits? Are they people my age? Are they people of your age, Madam Deputy Speaker? Are they people of the age of the Minister? No. The people who are recruited daily are young people—and predominantly those under the age of 16.
All the advertising—it may have been banned on television and radio—is geared in its imagery to appeal to young people. Tory Members say that perhaps we should leave this to the good sense and trust of the tobacco industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley showed through the "Reg" campaign how much we can trust the tobacco industry. The industry will use every method available to get round the voluntary regulations.
In 1990, the Secretary of State said:if cigarettes were introduced today, their production and sale would probably be banned".—[Official Report, 20 July 1990; Vol. 176, c. 1340.]Tory Members have said that the sale and consumption of tobacco is not illegal. The sale of tobacco products to persons under 16 is unlawful, yet the basis of advertising campaigns is to attract people to whom it is illegal to sell the product. I do not believe that children, through advertising—
§ Mr. Merchant
The hon. Gentleman puts a persuasive case, which is widely accepted, about the health damage caused by smoking, and suggests that, if tobacco were a new product, it would not be legal in the first place. Is he therefore saying that he supports making the product illegal—and if not, why not?
§ Mr. Austin-Walker
That is a wider debate. I am concerned today with getting through a Bill which will make a major contribution to saving lives, and particularly the lives of young people.
All the advertising industry and most of the imagery in advertising is geared towards young people. I believe that that is inherently evil, and hon. Members have a responsibility to try to stop it. The Government have accepted the principle that it is right to put controls on advertising, because they have accepted that cigarettes and tobacco should be banned from advertising on radio and television.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
The hon. Gentleman says emphatically that advertising is aimed specifically at young people, and he mentioned the "Reg" campaign. "Reg", as we have heard, was an old and balding man, who I hardly think would appeal to young people. Will the hon. Gentleman explain how advertisements such as the one in which a dog was cocking its leg against a bollard and other tobacco advertisements which mystify the majority of the population, including children, actually influence young people to take up cigarette smoking?
§ Mr. Austin-Walker
The hon. Gentleman may find that children and young people are more adept at interpreting the messages which are concealed behind advertisements than perhaps people of his own age and generation.
§ Mr. Bayley
One year ago, Kirklees council conducted research on the effects of the "Reg" campaign among young people. In a sample of young people aged between 14 and 15, 43 per cent. said that the "Reg" advertisements would make them more likely to smoke, while 5 per cent. said that the advertisements would make them less likely to smoke.
The research was done long before the Health Education Authority research, and the tobacco companies said at the time that the research was flawed, and that it should be chucked into the waste bin and ignored. However, the HEA produced research later which was so damning, and which backed up those early findings so strongly, that the "Reg" campaign was banned.
§ Mr. Austin-Walker
I am grateful for my hon. Friend's intervention, and I agree with him.
I draw the House's attention to a resume of the academic research on the influence of advertising on children. The document is called "From the Billboard to the Playground", and was produced by the Cancer Research Campaign. It concentrated on the particular impact of advertising on young children.
The research shows that young people more readily remember advertisements. They can identify the product with its slogan; the research shows that 83 per cent. of 11 to 14-year-olds recall seeing at least one cigarette advert, and over half remember seeing two or more. When those same children were shown examples of cigarette adverts, they were, on average, able to recognise as many as five different adverts.
Hon. Members should look at the interviews with children themselves, when they were asked what images they see from advertising. The children replied:hard men smoke this cigarette … the advert was telling you that if you smoke them you are going to be a macho he-man … it is colourful, like all cigaretts ads … trying to associate the products with glamour … glamourising cigarettes—cocktails and all that fanciness".There is a suggestion that advertising is directed at young people to make smoking appear smart or cool because the tobacco industry needs to recruit those 300 new smokers a day.
§ Mr. Congdon
The issue of advertising and young people is clearly critical. The Smee report has been referred to by hon. Members in the debate. Although it is true that advertising increases the awareness of young people, the report suggests that it is not reliable evidence that advertising increases consumption among young people. What does the hon. Gentleman have to say about that?
The hon. Gentleman ought to read some of the statements by Ministers. One of the things on which all hon. Members agree is that we must be clear in the messages we give to young peole and children. Children need clear messages. As a result of the current state of public policy, children are receiving mixed messages. The advertising from the tobacco industry contradicts the advertising of the Government's health message. A ban on cigarette and tobacco advertising would be just about the most powerful health message that the Government could give.
Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Health came to the House to talk about health in London. She made a statement about the importance of primary care services and the prevention of ill-health. The biggest contribution she could make to combating ill-health in the nation would be to put a ban on cigarette advertising.
Every Member of Parliament could point to the impact of cigarette smoking on their constituencies. Of the 792 people who die in Woolwich every year, one in five dies as a result of cigarette smoking. Each year, 458 residents of Woolwich go into a national health service hospital because of smoking-related illnesses. Twelve beds every day are taken up by people with smoking-related illnesses.
The Secretary of State said yesterday that some of us in London were obsessed with beds. I can tell her one way of reducing the need for beds. It is to reduce the consumption of cigarettes. She could make a major contribution by supporting my hon. Friend's Bill.
§ Mr. Sweeney
On that point, has the hon. Gentleman found, as I have, that many people who work in the health service have written pleading with us to support the Bill? They appreciate how many lives it will save and how much it will reduce the pressure on our valuable national health service resources.
§ Mr. Austin-Walker
I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman's intervention. I was about to refer to the £325 million direct cost to the national health service of tobacco-related illness. I draw in aid and support the comments which consultant physicians in my area have made to me, as they have to other hon. Members. I have received a letter signed by every consultant in the department of respiratory and general medicine of the Greenwich health care trust urging me to come to the House today to support my hon. Friend's Bill.
I have received a letter from a consultant physician at the Brook hospital. He saysAs a Chest Physician, virtually every day I see both in my Out-patient clinics and as In-patients… the effect that smoking has had on my middle-aged and elderly patients who have gradually become incapacitated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema which has progressed to respiratory failure … In addition, I have a substantial number of young patients with asthma, many of whom have taken up smoking in their teens. These individuals as well as risking the medium and long-term consequences of smoking, already in a minor way exhibit the detrimental effects of the habit on the frequency and severity of their attacks of asthma. Like most health professionals"—in this case we ought to listen to those people who are involved at the sharp end in dealing with the menace of tobacco smoking—I feel exasperated and frustrated by the unwillingness of the Department of Health to support proposals to ban tobacco advertising; indeed, the perception is that the Department is more interested in the promotion of the tobacco industry than good health.606 If the Minister wants to show that that is not true, and end the exasperation and frustration of consultants, he should give his whole-hearted and unqualified support to my hon. Friend's Bill.
There is concrete evidence. Some people will deny evidence, no matter how strong. If they do not believe that the evidence is absolutely foolproof, I ask them to examine the evidence on the basis of reasonableness and probability. No one who takes an objective view could come to any other conclusion than, first, that smoking kills, and secondly, that advertising tobacco increases the take-up of smoking.
As the hon Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) said, other factors may lead to an increase or decrease in smoking. Price, taxation and Government health education campaigns may all have an effect, but advertising presents smoking as an apparently normal and socially acceptable habit, and it swamps the health message that the Government are trying to convey. Will the Minister consider how many children could be saved from thinking that smoking is okay, cool and a smart habit?
As the Smee report suggests, smokers feel that smoking cannot be as dangerous as the Government point out, if they allow the product to be advertised so freely. The Government spend an important sum on tobacco-linked health education, but it is a pittance compared to the resources of the tobacco industry against which they are competing.
The Government report states that the existence of pro-smoking advertising dilutes the impact of the health education message. Other factors may lead to a decline in smoking, as the hon. Member for Lewes said, but Smee concludes in the Government's own report that in those countries where a ban has been imposed, taking into account all the other factors, such as price, taxation and health education,the banning of advertising was followed by a fall … which cannot reasonably be attributed to other factors.The Conservative party derives much of its income from the tobacco industry. One wonders whether some Conservative Members might be more concerned about the health of the Tory party than the health of the nation. [Interruption.] If Conservative Members believe that that is a slur on their integrity, they can prove it by voting for my hon. Friend's Bill.
§ The Minister for Health (Dr. Brian Mawhinney)
I have always been surprised at the convention of the House by which we congratulate an hon. Member on his success in the ballot, bearing in mind that it was a ballot, but I congratulate the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) on the way in which he introduced his Bill. As one who has introduced a private Member's Bill and seen it through to the statute book I appreciate the commitment and emotion associated with the introduction of his Bill.
First, I shall try to make as much common cause as possible with some of the comments of the hon. Member for Rother Valley. I am sure that everyone would wish to endorse his generous comments about the late Jo Richardson and Jimmy Boyce. I did not know Jo Richardson very well, but it is one of the pleasures of this House that friendships can strike up across the Floor between Members of opposite parties. I should like to think that Jimmy Boyce and I would have considered ourselves friends and just before his death we were discussing the 607 possibility of my visiting his constituency with him. As the hon. Gentleman knows, it is not a matter for me, but I hope that it will be possible for those hon. Members who so wish to attend his memorial service later this afternoon.
There are many areas of common cause between us. First, there is no debate about the fact that we want to reduce tobacco consumption. Our record in this country is impressive and I shall return to it. However, the Bill is not about reducing, or not reducing, tobacco consumption as that is a given.
Secondly, I agree that it is not a party political issue and I regret the end of the speech by the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Austin-Walker). In three hours, that was the first attempt to make a party political point on an issue which is not party political.
Another issue on which we agree is that advertising is an important influence. As the hon. Member for Rother Valley pointed out, we said so ourselves on Monday in paragraph 4.52 of the document to which reference has been made. So there is no disagreement among us about whether advertising is a legitimate area of concern-we agree that it is.
This manifestly difficult issue generates strong feelings and views, some of which have been expressed this morning. Others will no doubt be expressed before the end of the debate. The Government believe that the existing voluntary agreements, which we intend to strengthen, have been effective and have served us well, that they can achieve the necessary protection and that they are preferable to the legislative route. But I wish to deal with that matter as helpfully as I can.
Clearly, there is no quick fix to this problem. Long-term concerted action will be more effective than just slogans, so I want to show that the Government have identified the main issues that affect tobacco consumption. We are trying to take, and believe that we are taking, effective action on all fronts. It will range from the £12 million three-year advertising programme to be launched later this year, to which the hon. Member for Rother Valley referred, to improving the material to be made available by general practitioners to people who visit their surgeries.
Controls on advertising are one element in that picture. I shall seek to explain why we believe that our proposed course of opening negotiations with the tobacco industry to strengthen the present voluntary agreement is preferable to a ban.
§ Mrs. Edwina Currie (Derbyshire, South)
As my right hon. Friend will know, I am a sponsor of the Bill. Is he aware that, seven or eight years ago, when I was a Minister at the Department, I made speeches using exactly the same words as he is now using about the value of the voluntary ban, how the Department of Health itself would spend more money on advertising to persuade youngsters not to smoke, and how the legislative route was not the right way to proceed? Does he now agree that the seven or eight years that have elapsed and the extraordinary body of evidence that has been presented so effectively by the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) show that it is now time to think again?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I agree with my hon. Friend that, since she was a distinguished Minister in this Department, the level of tobacco consumption has fallen considerably 608 under the measures which she endorsed for this House. What she advocated at the Dispatch Box has proved to be effective in the years since she stood here.
If we depart from the voluntary approach and ban advertising for a product that is and will remain legal to sell, significant evidence would be needed to convince us that that would deliver more effective results. The element of the speech of the hon. Member for Rother Valley that was significant by its absence was the fact that he did not say whether he felt comfortable about seeking to make illegal the advertising of something that is legal.
§ Mr. John Marshall
Does my right hon. Friend accept that many Conservative Members are concerned that this could be the thin end of a rather nasty wedge? Has he seen the comment of the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) in which he asked the junior Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food toexamine the possibility of promoting a ban on the advertising of alcohol products"?—[Official Report, 28 October 1993; Vol. 230, c. 967.]Is there not a danger that a ban on tobacco advertising may be followed by a similar ban on the advertising of whisky, beer and tens of other products of which the hon. Member disapproves?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I understand that concern. It is shared by some in the House and outside, but I shall concentrate on the Bill that is before us. No doubt, when right hon. and hon. Members make their judgment at the end of the debate, they will play a number of arguments in their minds. For some, the hon. Gentleman's argument may be one that they wish to play.
§ Mr. Barron
The Minister's argument about freedom and of things that are able to be bought legally could well have been argued in 1965 when the Government and subsequent Governments decided that they would not allow the advertising of cigarettes on radio and television, because of public health implications. What has altered?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I think that the hon. Gentleman made that point earlier, but I am happy to have given him the opportunity to make it again.
It is already known—I repeated it on Monday—that we are making good progress on three of the four targets that we set out in "Health of the Nation". One target on which we are not making good progress is in young people aged 11 to 15. That is a matter of concern. I have been able to tell the House of some interesting new information. Within that age group, the children whose parents do not smoke have reached the target of 6 per cent. The percentage of children of parents who smoke has not shown any movement. I put that point to the House because no one has yet sought to make a differential advertising argument in relation to whether advertising would be effective for the children of parents who smoke compared with children of those who do not. The House will want to bear that piece of relevant information in mind.
§ Mr. Bayley
Does the Minister agree that factors that dissuade people from taking up smoking tend to reinforce themselves? In families where neither parent smokes, there will be strong pressure on the children not to smoke. Therefore, those children will be less susceptible to the effects of tobacco advertising. All the evidence shows that those who are most affected by advertising are those who grow up in a smoke-filled environment. Therefore, it is 609 important to ban advertising, because that group are most at risk of smoking, are affected by advertising and take up smoking in greatest numbers.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
When the hon. Gentleman comes to reflect on what he has just said, he will find that, in a perverse sort of way, he is reinforcing the point that I am putting to the House.
I shall deal later with parental behaviour and attitude, about which there is common ground across the House. I have not yet heard it argued that there is some differential advertising effect. In the light of the new information, that needs to be argued. About 20 years ago, 45 per cent. of this country's population smoked. In 1990, the figure was 30 per cent. In 1992, 28 per cent. smoked.
That is a very impressive record, not because the statistics look good or that it shines a lamp of glory on the Government, but because it has been achieved by the combined effects of many people and represents lives saved and ill health avoided. We need to examine the way in which that was achieved, and whether any improve-ments are necessary.
§ Mrs. Elizabeth Peacock (Batley and Spen)
I do not think that there is any argument about the reduction in smoking. Is my hon. Friend aware, however, of a disturbing trend among young people? The lung cancer death rate among women under 45 is 50 per cent. higher in some parts of Yorkshire than elsewhere in the country. Many of us are worried about the number of young people, particularly girls—not even women—who are taking up smoking after seeing all the advertising.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I am aware of that problem, and I am no less concerned about it than my hon. Friend. We are all concerned. Concern about ill health is not a party political issue; all Members of Parliament feel such concern—on behalf of their constituents, and as a result of their corporate responsibility for the well-being of the country.
The issue is not whether lung cancer is caused by smoking. I was brought up in a family of non-smokers, but my uncle died of lung cancer, having smoked about 80 cigarettes a day. As a teenager, I visited him in hospital shortly before he died. Like many hon. Members, I need no instruction about the link between lung cancer and smoking. The issue, however, is much narrower—whether the Bill would improve the existing arrangements, which we are reviewing and some of which we intend to tighten so as to reduce tobacco consumption even further.
§ Sir Trevor Skeet (Bedfordshire, North)
I thank my hon. Friend for the useful statistics that he gave. Two factors, however, should be borne in mind. First, a voluntary arrangement has been working very well in the United Kingdom; it has been revised nine times, and honed down. Secondly, action is being taken in regard to advertising. The Bill is, after all, about advertising. Despite the confluence of those two factors, Opposition Members say that advertising is causing the trouble, but obviously it is not.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
As I have said, I do not consider this a party political issue. Hon. Members on both sides of the House feel strongly about it, and I respect their views.
Smoking-related diseases still account for about 110,000 premature and avoidable deaths a year. It is estimated that some 50 million working days may be lost 610 annually because of smoking. My right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery) dealt with all the health issues with his customary skill.
Evidence also suggests—it is more recent evidence, but it is important—that perhaps one non-smoker a day dies as a consequence of inhaling other people's tobacco smoke. The hon. Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox) made that point, citing Roy Castle. Every day, about 50 children under five are admitted to hospital suffering from illnesses related to passive smoking; children that age are almost certainly inhaling smoke from their parents' cigarettes.
There is no difference between hon. Members on this point. The White Paper, "The Health of the Nation", set out for the first time specific, quantified targets for reducing smoking, and the Government as a whole are committed to those targets. They have been widely welcomed by everyone with an interest in health. The targets are ambitious but, given the seriousness of the subject, they should be. They are not simply a forward projection of historic trends and the Government are determined to meet them.
§ Mr. Tony Banks
I am sure that the House will agree that the statistic of 110,000 people a year dying from smoking-related diseases is appalling. Why, then, does hardly anyone die from the smoking or using of cannabis? If we treat this as a health issue, cannot a case be made for banning nicotine and legalising cannabis?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I have a vague memory that I have heard the hon. Gentleman on this point before. However, I suspect that our agenda today is full enough without wandering down that byway.
§ Mr. Thurnham
My right hon. Friend has outlined the success of the Government's voluntary policy in many respects. He will be aware that, nationally, the infant mortality rate has declined but that Bolton has a rising rate of infant mortality. It is now twice as high as the national average, which is causing concern. Will he confirm the link between maternal smoking and low birth-weight babies and that infant mortality is linked to the incidence of low birth-weight babies? Is he aware of the strength of feeling in Bolton about the "Reg" targeted advertising campaign, which without doubt is in breach of the voluntary code because of its impact on young people? Will he consider asking tobacco and advertising companies to make Bolton an oasis free of advertising and to conduct a health education campaign to see whether we can reduce diseases and the effects of tobacco smoking?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
On the first of my hon. Friend's three questions, yes, there is evidence linking maternal smoking to low birth-weight babies and other problems with new-born children. Secondly, I am aware of the effects of the "Reg" campaign in Bolton, not least because he and my fellow Minister in the Department of Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Sackville), have assiduously informed me of it on behalf of their constituents, and I pay tribute to them for doing so. Thirdly, as my hon. Friend will know, and he will be encouraged that I know, he has written to me in the past couple of days suggesting the oasis idea. I shall reflect on it and write to him.
I am beginning to develop a problem. Let me share it with the House. It has always been my view that, especially on private Member's Bills, Ministers presenting the 611 Government's case should be as open and as active in the debate as it is possible to be, and I have sought to do that in the past 20 minutes. The consequence is that we shall not make as much progress and other hon. Members will not be able to make the speeches that they should like. I leave it to the House to decide. I shall seek to be as responsive and helpful as I can, but there is a price to be paid by other hon. Members and they will have to decide how they wish to handle the matter.
§ Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)
Recognising that 110,000 deaths a year are attributed to smoking-related diseases and that progress as a result of Government action to date has been rather slow in solving the problem, will the Minister make a dramatic gesture to show clearly today that the Government are taking this seriously, because it will become increasingly difficult for small measures to have any real impact in the future?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The difficulty is that the hon. Gentleman's point does not stand robustly against the evidence. We are not making slow progress. Other than the Netherlands, to which I shall return later, we have the best record in Europe and one of the best in the world for reducing tobacco consumption. The hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to know that I am not given to dramatic gestures most of the time.
On Monday, the Government published "Smoke-free for Health", an action plan to achieve the "Health of the Nation" targets on smoking. It shows that we are on track for three of the four main targets, which is encouraging, but we need to build on that momentum. We also need to recognise that there are sectors in which we are not making the progress that we should like to make, and that is especially so in the 11 to 15 age group. That is a key concern for hon. and right hon. Members and it has been reinforced in the debate. I want the House to know that it is a key concern of Ministers also.
Because we recognise the need for continuing action, the plan sets out the key elements of what we believe to be a strategic and comprehensive approach to achieve the targets. That approach extends throughout Government, and comment has already been made, not least by the hon. Member for Rother Valley, about the involvement of the Treasury in that policy. Controls on tobacco advertising are one element of that strategy, but they are only one element. There are others.
We are taking action on price because we know that there is good, solid evidence that price influences consumption. We are taking action to ensure that tobacco products are not sold to children; I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds), whose Bill—which became the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991—made that possible.
We are also taking action to tell smokers and non-smokers about the health risk and trying to put in place helplines and other forms of help to people who wish to quit smoking. We are trying to take action to protect non-smokers from passive smoking. We are trying to take action to improve scientific understanding of the risks from tobacco and to reduce the harm from tobacco products, and I was glad that several people welcomed my announcement 612 on Monday of the setting up of the new scientific committee. We are also taking action to ensure effective controls on advertising and promotion.
Cutting smoking does not require action from Government only. It is a challenge for everyone. One ill-informed newspaper report accused me of passing the buck when I said that on Monday. It is a fallacy that the Government, by themselves, have the ability to reduce tobacco consumption. All of us have a part to play. I will discuss that in more detail later, but parents should realise how strong an influence they have on their children's smoking habits.
There seems to be no argument to enable us to discount the evidence that children with parents who both smoke are two and a half times as likely to be regular smokers as children with non-smoking parents. One study has shown that children who believe that their parents strongly disapprove of them smoking are seven times less likely to become smokers than children who think that their parents do not care. Whatever else may divide the House today, as the message goes out to the country I hope that there is no ambiguity about the message that parents' behaviour and attitude to their children and to whether their children smoke is one of the most powerful ways of trying to stop that crucial 11 to 15 age group from adopting the habit.
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
One of my constituents, Mr. Tim Graham, is a founder member of Parents Against Tobacco. He asks the Government to help parents to convince their children of the dangers of smoking. He saysIt is very difficult to convince young people that we are serious about the risks of smoking, when they can see striking adverts for cigarettes on the streets where they play, in the shops where they buy their sweets, and when they watch sport on TV.If the Government are serious about assisting parents they should respond to that cry from parents who are fighting that battle, and ban tobacco advertising.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The hon. Lady has twice made interventions that are essentially the same as her speech. I understand her point and I want her to know that my discussions at constituency level with my local Parents Against Tobacco group are constructive. Both she and I are committed in a variety of ways to trying to strengthen the influence of parents, which is crucial for this age group.
We look to teachers and school governors to give a lead by adopting policies on smoking and by taking action on health education in schools. They are talking to the crucial 11 to 15 age group. The nation curriculum now requires children between the ages of 7 and 16 to be taught about the harmful effects of smoking. I suspect that that requirement finds broad agreement across the House.
We expect retailers to obey the law which prevents sales of tobacco to children under 16. If they fail to do so, we expect local authorities to discharge their responsibilities. We also urge employers to introduce written policies and to restrict smoking throughout the workplace. The "Health of the Nation" working group devoted to workplace health, which includes representatives from industry, small business, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress, is advising on how best to take that aspect forward.
We are encouraging managers of public places to continue to think about the merits of introducing smoke-free areas and then to act. There has been a remarkable increase in the percentage of smoke-free public places over the past 10 years. That change has been carried 613 forward because people with a sense of ownership of their public places have made judgments about how they wish them to be. I continue to believe that that is an effective way forward. We want areas to cater for the interests of non-smokers. We expect health professionals to take every opportunity to use their special position to advise people about the damage done by smoking and to help them give up.
§ Dr. Spink
Does my right hon. Friend recall a written answer to me that revealed that many more youngsters are prosecuted for under-age drinking than for buying cigarettes under age? Chief constables and local authorities should address that problem. I am pleased that my right hon. Friend recognises that parental responsibility is the key factor in this equation. The major aim of the Bill must be to prevent people of 15 and younger from starting smoking.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that even though cigarette advertisements have not been allowed on television in this country since 1965, Sir Donald Maitland, the chairman of the Health Education Authority, told us that 64 per cent. of children between nine and 14 honestly believed that they had seen advertising on television during the past week—
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Dr. Spink) for his comments.
I now turn more specifically to the policy on tobacco advertising. As the "Health of the Nation" White Paper and the action plan on smoking make clear, the Government recognise—the hon. Member for Rother Valley was right—the importance of effective controls on tobacco advertising and promotion. As has been said, the advertising of cigarettes on television has been banned since 1964. The ban was extended to all tobacco products in 1991. Other advertising and promotional activities have been controlled since 1971 under Governments of both parties through voluntary agreements between Health Ministers and the tobacco industry. The sponsorship of sport by the tobacco industry is also controlled through a separate voluntary agreement which is now the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage.
The agreements already provide wide-ranging and strict controls on tobacco advertising. The main provisions of them include the stipulation that the content of all advertisements must comply with the cigarette advertising code of practice. Advertisements must not, for example, appeal more to the young than to the general population and they must not associate smoking with success of sex appeal. I listened carefully to what the hon. Member for Rother Valley said about the "Reg" advertising campaign and what may or may not be the re-emergence of that campaign.
§ Mr. Barron
Yesterday, the Advertising Standards Authority replied to my letter about that recent advertisement and defended it. The only difference between that advertisement and the four adverts that it said in December had to be withdrawn is the absence of that 614 man's face. Does the Minister honestly think that we can have confidence in an authority if it polices matters in that way?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I was careful to say to the hon. Gentleman that I listened carefully to the points that he made, not only about the campaign but about what he believed was its re-emergence.
The second part of the agreement is that all press and poster advertising must carry health warnings covering 17.5 per cent. of the area and advertising is not allowed in magazines where more than 25 per cent. of the readership are women aged between 15 and 24. The number of shop-front advertisements will be reduced by 50 per cent. from the 1991 level in five years and the voluntary agreement on sport precludes tobacco companies from sponsoring activities in which the majority of participants are under 18 or which are designed to appeal mainly to the under-18 age bracket.
The system of voluntary agreements has proved to be sufficiently flexible to respond to special concerns. One example is that when the voluntary agreement first came into effect, the area of posters which had to be covered with a health warning was 6 per cent. Now it is 17.5 per cent. The Government are concerned that the impact of the Bill would be to replace that flexible, voluntary system, based on negotiations in response to particular concerns, with a statutory ban on the advertising of that which, as I have said, it is and will remain legal to sell.
I fully accept that the Bill is motivated by concerns over public health. We share and applaud those concerns.
§ Mr. Roger Sims (Chislehurst)
My right hon. Friend' s speech is completely consistent with the case which the Government have made for some years, especially with regard to a voluntary agreement. However, many of us feel that that case has within it gross inconsistency. It must be evident to him from the many speeches that he has heard this morning, that there is strong support in the House for the Bill. We all hope very much—[HoN. MEMBERS: "No, we do not."] A clear majority of Members who have spoken have indicated their support for the Bill and we hope that it will go into Committee. If, nevertheless, some of my hon. Friends choose to divide the House on Second Reading, will my hon. Friend the Minister indicate what course he will take?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The longer we take on such unnecessary interventions, the fewer hon. Members I can call.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wish to agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough and Horncastle (Mr. Leigh) has just said. It is a fact that the hon. Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) made a statement and was obviously waiting for the Minister to respond. There has been a desperate imbalance in argument allowed from this side of the House and—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I hope that hon. Members are not criticising the Chair. I notice that the speeches have 615 been over-long. I am looking forward to the next speeches being short because I have a long list of Members who wish to speak and I imagine that some will speak for and some against.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I will take from that an indication that it may be better for me to get on and take fewer interventions, although I would wish to try to be as helpful as possible. It is not a matter for me, as my hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) knows, whether the House will divide or not or what the judgment of the House will be on the Bill. I am seeking to put the Government's case as clearly and as persuasively as I can. I am content that hon. Members will come to a judgment on it.
A lot of comment has been made about the Smee report. As I was the person who asked Dr. Smee to conduct the report, perhaps I too may be permitted to say a word or two on it. In the White Paper, "The Health of the Nation", the Government recognised widespread concern that controls on tobacco advertising and promotion should be strong and effective. We gave a commitment to review the effects of tobacco advertising and to consider further steps. The Smee report, as it has become called, if not known, reviewed the available evidence thoroughly.
The Government have also considered the many comments on the report. The review supports the Government's view that there is a relationship between tobacco advertising and consumption—indeed, that is the rationale for the existing controls. We find little, however, to support the argument that a statutory ban would have a dramatic effect on further reducing smoking. That view is reinforced when we consider that other measures, such as price and parental influence, have a much greater impact than a statutory ban. We were also unconvinced by international evidence that a ban was necessary if we were to achieve our targets, which are the common ground at the heart of the debate.
I want to consider those arguments in more detail. I fear that some supporters of an advertising ban often appear to overstate the evidence about its possible impact. We need to put that in perspective.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
If my hon. Friend will forgive me, I want to make progress.
The studies reviewed in the Department of Health discussion document consider ban-related reductions in smoking using data collated over different periods. It is an interesting way to consider the matter and I want to bring to the attention of hon. Members the evidence from surveys in the United Kingdom.
That evidence is clear. Dr. Smee said that, according to surveys of the time, if a ban had been imposed 30 years ago, the reduction in tobacco consumption would have been about 7 per cent. and that, if it had been introduced about 20 years ago, the reduction would have been about half that amount. But the two most recent studies in the United Kingdom both showed that there was no significant statistical link between the banning of advertising and the consumption of tobacco. People will have different interpretations of why that should be so.
Having taught a little medical statistics in my time, my interpretation is that the increasingly stringent voluntary 616 ban of the past 20 years has almost certainly squeezed out of the system any benefit that a ban would be likely to produce.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
The most recent surveys, which showed no statistically significant link, were not Government surveys, but were carried out independently and reported by Dr. Smee.
Consumption fell from 45 to 28 per cent. in this country during the period referred to in the Smee report. Without a ban, which the evidence suggests would have had increasingly little effect with the passage of time, the consumption of tobacco dropped. To claim in the face of that evidence, as some health campaigners seem to do, that an advertising ban would have a dramatic effect in reducing smoking is not obviously supportable. It is arguable that the United Kingdom approach, which, through the voluntary system, employs a range of effective measures and places tough controls on tobacco advertising, is the most effective. It is noticeable and notable that, among European Union member states, only the Netherlands, which also relies on the voluntary approach, has a better record on reducing smoking than the United Kingdom.
The international comparisons that have been men-tioned are also interesting. They show that a statutory ban does not guarantee success in reducing smoking. Supporters of a ban are fond of quoting the figures in the Smee report on the effects of banning advertising in other countries. Not only the hon. Member for Rother Valley but other hon. Members have quoted such figures.
I confirm, as the hon. Member for Rochdale (Ms Lynne) did, that in Norway there was a 9 per cent. reduction in consumption associated with a ban. In Finland, there was a 7 per cent. reduction, and in Canada there was a 4 per cent. reduction. As my hon. Friend for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) said, price might also have been associated with that reduction. However—this information might be new to the House—only Norway and Finland have had advertising bans in place for sufficient time to allow sensible comparisons of their changes in smoking prevalence with the changes in this country over similar periods.
As I have said, in Norway, smoking prevalence has fallen by nine percentage points since advertising was banned in 1975. The House will wish to know that, over the same period, smoking prevalence in this country fell not by 9 per cent. but by 12 per cent. In Finland, smoking prevalence fell by three percentage points in the eight years following the ban. Over the same period in this country, it fell not by 3 per cent. but by 8 per cent. Over the same period, without a statutory ban, we have achieved a greater fall in smoking prevalence than those countries have achieved.
§ Sir Peter Emery
There is no doubt that some of the Government's proposals work excellently. The policy was actually carried through in Norway and Finland. If we had an advertising ban, would we not have had a greater decrease in smoking in Britain than we achieved? We are left with a judgment, and I think that my right hon. Friend would accept that.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
As is often the case, my right hon. Friend is exactly right. I was seeking to show that, when other countries are prayed in aid in support of a judgment, evidence in this country suggests that, with our own arrangements, we are doing better in percentage terms than countries which claim some success following the application of a ban.
I am not saying whether those countries were right to introduce a ban; that is a matter for them. However, the hon. Member for Rother Valley is inviting us to impose a ban. If we are to take such a serious step and deem to be illegal advertisements for a product which itself is legal, the evidence will need to be sufficiently persuasive. I am sure that my right hon. Friend clearly understands that point.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
No, I should like to make progress, if I may. I have already given way to my right hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Sir P. Emery).
Within the European Union, as I have said, the two countries with the best record for reducing smoking in recent years are the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which favour voluntary controls on tobacco advertising. Our consumption has dropped from 45 per cent. to 28 per cent., and in the Netherlands it has fallen from 59 per cent. of the adult population in 1970 to 34 per cent. in 1992.
Indeed, it is instructive to examine progress in reducing smoking in the European Union generally and other countries' attitudes to advertising bans. Countries that support a ban tend to have low prices for tobacco products. We know that every 10 per cent. increase in price produces about a 3 per cent. to 6 per cent. decrease in consumption. Those countries also tend to have nationalised industries and receive European Union subsidies for growing tobacco—in some cases, huge subsidies. Italy receives £450 million and Greece receives £300 million. In contrast, the United Kingdom has the third highest cigarette prices in the EC and a further commitment to increase tobacco taxes in real terms by at least 3 per cent. Budget by Budget—a commitment that is unmatched in the European Union. That is why I say that the voluntary system has served the United Kingdom well. However, we recognise the need to ensure that the system evolves to reflect specific concerns.
As I announced on Monday, the Government believe that it is desirable to take further steps to control some aspects of tobacco advertising. One specific concern is the exposure of children to such advertising. I have noted tobacco companies saying that they have a concern about children. They need to understand that I have a concern about children. Whatever the outcome of this debate, I am grateful to the House for reinforcing that it has a concern about children, and I shall enter the negotiations fortified by that support.
We shall open negotiations with the tobacco industry to strengthen the existing agreement. I want hon. Members and people outside the House to understand that the negotiations are not an easy option. They will be tough because the issues that we must debate are serious, but they will also be fair. The Government have no reason to believe that voluntary agreements will not be effective in delivering further controls.
The Government believe that this way forward is preferable to a statutory ban. It represents action on advertising and promotion which is in proportion to the 618 available evidence on the possible impact of advertising on smoking behaviour. What is important is reducing smoking and meeting the targets set out in "The Health of the Nation"—we agree on that much. We shall continue to focus on effective measures to ensure that we do so, arid I commend the Government's policy to the House.
§ Mr. Ian McCartney (Makerfield)
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron) and hon. Members on both sides of the House on sponsoring this Bill. It is not only a public health measure; it is a child protection measure. It can be targeted at and easily attributable to assisting children not to become involved with tobacco and other substance abuse. It is also a measure that will assist parents who do not smoke to encourage their children not to become involved in such abuses. The banning of advertising would reinforce that positive measure.
Before I comment on the Bill, I must tell right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House that this is the first occasion I have had since I had tuberculosis that I have spoken from the Dispatch Box. I thank all those who sent me letters, cards and telephone messages—they were much appreciated by my wife and me. I thank hon. Members for their concern and interest.
I hope that, by the end of May, I will be fully back in action, fit and raring to tackle the Minister's activities. The Minister was more subdued than his usual boisterous attempts to defend Government policy. I am sure that all hon. Members were surprised by his low-key attempt to defend the Government's policy in this morning's debate.
With my Glaswegian accent, I may not be associated with cricket, but I recognise a tail-end batsman being put in on a sticky wicket by the captain. He must hang around for some time in the hope that things will improve the following day. The Minister did exactly that—and he did it somewhat better than perhaps the evidence of his case suggested.
It is clear from this debate that there is a desire and a demand for further positive action to end the scandal of the smoking epidemic. When the Minister was at the Dispatch Box a few weeks ago, he used an analogy about Wembley with regard to statistics. It was effective in terms of his case, although I did not agree with a word of it. I thought that I had better add that in case I was misquoted, in the way that the Smee report has been misquoted by Government Members in the debate.
I thought of using the Minister's analogy to bring home in graphic terms the imbalance not only in terms of advertising, but in the resources which are being used to discourage and to encourage children to become involved in smoking. We could fill Wembley stadium one and a half times each year with the number of people who die from smoking-related diseases in Britain. If we add our European partners, we can fill Wembley seven times.
Every time a match is played at Wembley, 20 of our fellow citizens will have died because of tobacco products, and two babies will have been admitted to hospital by the time of the final whistle.
Most staggering of all is the £1 billion a year which is given to tobacco growers in the European Community. That is equivalent to a subsidy of £1.25 million to every single one of the 80,000 seats in Wembley. The Government are spending £5 million on publicity to 619 prevent children from smoking; that is equivalent to buying four seats at Wembley out of a capacity crowd of 80,000.
The Government's announcement on Monday, which the Minister has again trumpeted, was that they were to target parents and adults during the next three years to assist in health education to prevent smoking. The figure of £12 million during three years is equivalent to 11 season tickets for Wembley over three seasons for a capacity crowd of 80,000. That shows the lack of investment and the inequality in the debate with regard to trying to prevent young people and adults from being involved in the abuse of tobacco.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
We should not leave some mistaken idea in the minds of hon. and right hon. Members, much less the public. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will also mention the figure of more than £30 million a year which we give to the HEA. I hope that he is also going to mention the millions of pounds which we give in health promotion payments to general practitioners to address the issue. There is a variety of other means of expenditure, which are not part of the advertising budget but which are crucial to the delivery of the aim that he and I share, which is to reduce the number of people who die from smoking.
§ Mr. McCartney
I am glad that the Minister referred to the HEA. The authority, and all who work with it, support the Bill. The Government are investing that amount of money to take advice and to assist in activities to prevent smoking. I should have thought that, if they are investing that kind of money, they would support the conclusions and recommendations of the HEA. It has said that banning advertising is a positive incentive to reducing the involvement of children in smoking in the first place.
Prevention is better than cure and there is a spirit of all-party co-operation on the issue which has been made clear by the quality of the debate. The spirit is so overwhelming that there should be no further prevarication about what we need to do.
§ Mr. McCartney
I will give way in a minute.
That is not just the view of Conservative Back Benchers, or of right hon. Members who were previously in the Government but are now Back Benchers: it is also the view of members of the Cabinet.
I will quote from a letter of 16 November from the President of the Board of Trade to the Prime Minister. The letter had this to say in respect of the Government's current policy, which was reinforced by the Minister this morningI am persuaded by the medical evidence, acknowledged in Virginia's paper, that a ban on tobacco advertising would not only further reduce smoking but would contribute to the improvements in people's health and avoid the damaging economic burdens which the consequences of ill health place on business … if the Governmnent really wishes to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the Health of the Nation targets, and to inspire confidence in its actions on reducing smoking and illegal sales, an outright ban instead of some half-way house of severely constrained advertising is the credible way forward.That was the view of a frontline batsman, not someone sent in to defend the case between now and the close of play.
§ Mr. Peter Atkinson
Does the hon. Gentleman agree with the comment of the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron)—I hope that I quote him correctly—"There is no fundamental right to advertise; it is a privilege"? If he agrees, who will give that privilege and take it away? Does that square with the right of free speech?
§ Mr. McCartney
The hon. Gentleman's comments are a red herring. The comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley were clear and specific, and I support them. He rightly said that hon. Members on both sides of the House were frustrated that, having given the privilege and freedom to the tobacco industry to act responsibly, its record shows that it has targeted children continuously, and sought to encourage them to smoke. It has targeted people in poor environments in the north of England, in areas which are already deprived of health and social facilities.
§ Mr. McCartney
I will not give way. The hon. Gentleman may be an apologist for the tobacco industry, and I will not give him any further time in the debate.
§ Mr. Hendry
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Gentleman to refer to me as an apologist for the tobacco industry when I sought to intervene as someone whose father died of cancer when I was a teenager, and who refused to work on a tobacco account when I was asked to do so?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I heard the hon. Gentleman say "may be", but it is not very helpful to make any assertions.
§ Mr. McCartney
I certainly said "may be": you are absolutely right, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Gentleman can make his own speech in his own time. I will try to ensure that he and others are able to do so.
§ Mr. Robert Banks
Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for High Peak (Mr. Hendry). Surely this is an occasion for an apology to be made.
§ Mr. McCartney
I have been generous, and I am continuing to be generous to hon. Members on both sides of the House. But I become extremely frustrated, as other hon. Members do, when we have before us a piece of legislation that so clearly would save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, and hon. Members make snide, quickshot remarks and points of order which are irrelevant. We are in the business of saving countless lives. Let us remember what the debate is about.
Hon. Members will say that the Bill should be seen as an isolated measure. Yet hon. Members who support the Bill also support the concept that the Minister of State outlined earlier—that the policy on smoking is a family of measures.
The Bill is part and parcel of a preventative health strategy designed to discourage and dissuade people from smoking and prevent people starting to smoke. It includes health education programmes to encourage those who smoke to stop. Any measure within that family of measures 621 clearly has a health gain. I cannot understand for the life of me why the Government do not seize it with both hands and run with both Opposition and Conservative Members who support the Bill.
We must take measures to stop people starting to smoke, and assist people to stop smoking. More importantly, if that is to succeed—this is the kernel of the argument—we must change the ethos and culture of smoking in society. The banning of advertisements changes that concept dramatically. We can then argue for a non-smoking, tobacco-free society. We can link death and ill health with tobacco, and fitness and leisure with not smoking. That is important.
Why do tobacco companies advertise? It is simple. They have to replace the 300 customers a day that the product kills. Increasingly, mature adults recognise the dangers of smoking and, once they have given up, do not return to the habit. Therefore, the tobacco companies have to turn to the vulnerable. That vulnerable community is our children—not only 11 to 15-year-olds, but older children.
Advertisements are designed to link smoking with sport and good images. They use peer pressure and undermine the family's messages to children about smoking. It is therefore vital for us to make it clear that advertising is about recruiting new customers for an industry which kills its customers because of the nature of the product that it sells.
Is it not incredible that 50 million packets of cigarettes are sold each year in the United Kingdom to children between the ages of 11 and 15? Those sales raise about £96.5 million in taxation for the Treasury, but only £5 million is spent on smoking prevention work with children. Is not that an indictment of our society and of the tobacco culture that advertising continues to promote and enhance?
Those facts cannot be disputed, but we can dispute why the Government will not give the Bill a fair wind.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
The hon. Gentleman speaks with great passion. He mentioned sports. Would he therefore give us an absolute guarantee that those Opposition Members who share his views—he has given the impression that all Members on the Opposition Front Bench fully support the Bill—will not accept the hospitality of tobacco companies at sporting events they sponsor, or at which they take a hospitality tent? Will he also guarantee that Opposition Members will not attend sporting events that are sponsored by tobacco companies?
§ Mr. McCartney
The hon. Gentleman is a master of subterfuge. I shall come to sports sponsorship in a minute, because I am chairman of the rugby group in Parliament. When I go to Wembley to watch my favourite team, I do so despite tobacco advertising. I go to watch sportspeople, as do many families. The sooner we can get rid of tobacco advertising at such wonderful events the better.
I shall now point out a few statistics that the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) failed to give the House during his many interventions. The statistics are interesting and important and concern his constituency, where 138 people died last year because of smoking; 503 people were admitted to national health service hospitals because of illnesses caused by smoking; and 12 hospital beds have to be kept vacant or used to deal with the ill effects of smoking on his constituents, at a cost of more than £0.5 million to his local NHS trust.
622 In the hon. Member's constituency, both male and female deaths from coronary heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, pulmonary disease and other diseases attributable to smoking are staggering. If the hon. Member for Luton, North intervenes again, he should do so on behalf of those of his constituents who have been killed by the tobacco industy that he seems so intent on protecting.
The Minister for Health spoke in his statement on Monday about the setting up of a new scientific committee on tobacco and health. In his press statement the emphasis was on the "new"—it was in quotations and underlined. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would care to listen for a moment, instead of talking to his Parliamentary Private Secretary, as this is important.
When the Minister launched the new committee on Monday, he failed to say in the press release that in fact the committee was not new. Previously, it was under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Froggatt, when it was called the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health. The Government have taken out the word "Smoking" and substituted the word "Tobacco".
The committee last met in 1988, when it recommended to the Government, in the report that I have here, the need to take further stringent measues on tobacco smoking. The Government did not announce the closure of the committee, but, when members' terms of reference ended in 1988, they did not reappoint those members or appoint new members, but allowed it to wither on the vine.
We have lost five vital years of independent scientific evidence and advice on this issue. It is simply riot acceptable for the Minister to announce, in this debate or on Monday, a new scientific committee when he destroyed the previous committee and its work. Let us hope that the new committee—or this reinvention of the old committee—will be given a fair wind and a fair opportunity. It should be publicly accountable, its recommendations should be brought forward more quickly than the Smee report, and there should be no attempt to suppress any of its work or evidence in support of further restrictions on the use of tobacco products.
On sports sponsorship, I am almost unique in the House, in that, as well as being party spokesman on health, I also chair the parliamentary rugby group. Indeed, I am one of the founding members of the group, whose constitution is to enhance and protect the game of rugby league. The parliamentary group unanimously supports the Bill, and I shall explain why. We think that it is an insult to the concept of sport as an effective means of maintaining mental and physical well-being to allow a product with such devastating consequences to our very being to use sport as a vehicle to hide its lethal effects.
In an average rugby league match, players run 5,000 m, and give or take 40 tackles. A 16-stone forward can run 100 m in 11 seconds. Contrast that with the image of smoking, emphysema, bronchitis, heart disease and the emaciated 31-year-old weighing six stones at the time of his death.
Only a few months ago, my personal friend, John Tierman, died at the age of 31 of cancer in both lungs through smoking. In his younger years, he was dedicated to sport and playing sport. He was over 6 ft tall, articulate, with a family and a future. He was interested in public life as a councillor, and was loved and respected in his community. He died an emaciated six-stone man because of smoking as a child of 13.
We cannot allow the tobacco industry to use sport and sporting personalities as a deliberate and cynical ploy to 623 encourage positive images of its deadly product. The industry recruits 300 new customers a day because it has killed 300 people the previous day. Sport, especially rugby league, must never be bound hand and foot to the tobacco industry.
My sport recognises that changes are necessary and will go along with those changes. The sport will survive but, more important, thousands of young children in Britain will survive with it. That is the biggest health gain that we could ever have in this country.
By banning tobacco advertising, as part of a package of measures, we could save countless lives of young people and protect the well-being of their families. That goal is not only worth striving for, but is within the grasp of this House. I appeal to hon. Members to support the Bill.
§ Mr. David Congdon (Croydon, North-East)
I have listened to this debate with great interest and do not doubt the sincerity of hon. Members who have argued for a ban on advertising. But I am worried that this could be, as other hon. Members have said, the thin end of a long wedge.
The hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) made the revealing comment that he would support any measure in favour of a health gain. I understand that, but the danger of such an approach is that it can be used to justify bans on advertising and, indeed, bans of other products in the future.
In recent years I have watched with growing concern the amazing intolerance that people show towards smoking and smokers. I have no desire to smoke and do not find it attractive in others. We run the risk of showing a greater intolerance towards smokers than towards other parts of society. We should resist that trend. Once those who have adopted an intolerance towards smoking get their way, they will, in my view, move on to something else, whether it be alcohol, fatty foods or whatever. We should watch with great concern those who set themselves up as the health police of this country.
§ Mr. Tony Banks
The reason why people—as I am—are so bitterly opposed to smoking is that it affects non-smokers. I do not care what the hon. Gentleman wants to do in private, because that has nothing to do with me, but when it starts impacting on my health and makes my clothes and hair stink, I have a right to say that I do not want someone smoking around me.
§ Mr. Congdon
I am grateful for that intervention, because I was going to mention later passive smoking. I shall mention it now.
One of the disturbing things about intolerance, I have to say with great regret, is the way in which certain members of the medical and scientific establishment are prepared in many ways to distort the evidence and present passive smoking as though it is a great certainty. I share the concern of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West that, if one goes into a pub and everyone is smoking, it can affect one's eyes. That is an issue and I am delighted to see that some pubs and restaurants are restricting the level of smoking. But there is a difference between that and having a complete ban on smoking.
In relation to the wider issue of passive smoking, attempts have been made to portray it as though there is a 624 clear and significant link between passive smoking and cancer. Indeed, the Government's own publication repeats that statement. An article by a doctor in The Times the other day casts doubt over that link. I am not a medical man, but he advised that there are two types of cancers. He said:The commonest are squamous and oat cell cancers…The second are adenocarcinomas".The evidence shows that those who have cancer and have smoked have the first type of cancer cell present, but that non-smokers who have had cancer have the second. His view is that it is pretty unbelievable to suggest that the causes are identical.
That needs to be borne in mind, even though I share the concern of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on the general issue of passive smoking. More research must be undertaken into exactly what the effect is. The most serious issue obviously is the individual's smoking and its impact on their health. Of course, they must be crazy to smoke. They know by now that it kills. I do not dispute that. I believe firmly in a free society and, if one wishes to smoke, the right to end up killing oneself. That is a right and a freedom that one should have.
I take issue with the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), who is the promoter of the Bill. I agree with much of what he said, but he said that advertising is a privilege. I totally reject that view. In a society that depends on the marketing of goods to survive, it is crucial that advertisers have the right to advertise products unless those products are illegal or restricted.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth (Stratford-on-Avon)
Of course my hon. Friend is right that we should think carefully about limiting freedom of expression, but we do that in various ways. There are existing Government-imposed bans on advertising; we do not permit freedom of expression such as to incite religious or racial hatred; and we limit the freedom to breach personal confidence. The principle is not absolute.
I put it to my hon. Friend that it is beyond the bounds of what we should tolerate in a free society that vastly powerful corporations should use all the modern techniques of advertising to pressurise the immature and the impressionable into taking up a habit that is probably lethal to themselves, injurious at least and vastly costly to society. What kind of freedom of expression allows the powerful to pressurise the vulnerable into the "unfreedom" of addiction, that allows people to suffer ill health from passive smoking? Surely the issue is not so much freedom of expression as the abuse of power.
§ Mr. Congdon
I respect my hon. Friend's views, but the way in which he presented them is revealing. I do not regard the use of advertising in a free society to influence people to use a particular product—or not to—as an abuse of power; it is their decision. It is nonsense to suggest that advertising somehow forces innocent people to go out and buy a packet of cigarettes.
§ Mr. Congdon
An obvious answer is law enforcement. Ultimately, reducing smoking will depend on educating youngsters, but we will not succed in all respects; we cannot do so, in a free society.
625 I, too, am worried by the fact that young people are still smoking too much. We know that smoking kills: hon. Members have rightly paraded the statistics today. Everyone who smokes now knows the effects of what they are doing. We must ask ourselves what action would have the greatest impact of smoking. My hon. Friend the Minister said that a 10 per cent. price increase would affect consumption by between 3 per cent. and 6 per cent. I applaud the Government's decision to increase tobacco taxes each year by 3 per cent. in real terms: according to the report of the Select Committee on Health—of which I am a member—price has the most significant effect on the prevalence of smoking. I do not endorse the seductive argument that advertising in itself would have a conclusive impact.
I question the extent to which a "voluntary code" is in fact voluntary, when the threat of possible legislation to tighten it is always present. I would support an advertising ban if it could be shown that we could not meet the health education targets in any other way; we should take all possible measures to meet those important targets.
We have heard much evidence today about the impact of bans in other countries. One of the most revealing features of the Smee report—which was designed to come up with some conclusive evidence in one or other direction—was the inability to demonstrate a conclusive link between smoking and advertising.
§ Mr. John Marshall
Tobacco consumption was very high in the former Soviet Union. Does that not suggest that communism, rather than advertising, drives people to smoking?
§ Mr. Congdon
I am sure that it can. I understand that it also drives people to drink a lot of vodka.
The Smee report is not as conclusive as some would suggest. We have been told that bans have been introduced in many countries, but the only countries that seem to be prayed in aid in favour of a ban are Finland, Norway, Canada and New Zealand. It is true that there has been an impact on tobacco consumption in those countries, but the scale of that impact has been disputed. Indeed, it is fair to say that in each of the countries other measures were introduced before or at the same time. It is difficult, therefore, to isolate the direct effect of an advertising ban.
§ Mr. Bayley
Does the hon. Gentleman concede that, in his report, Dr. Smee said that, in each of the four countries,the banning of advertising was followed by a fall in smoking on a scale which cannot reasonably be attributed to other factors.
§ Mr. Congdon
That must be read in the context of the whole report. I accept, unlike the tobacco industry, that there is a link between tobacco advertising and consumption.
§ Mr. William Cash (Stafford)
My hon. Friend mentioned Canada. Does he agree that one of the most difficult problems facing it is the vast amount of smuggling across its border with the United States? It took measures directly to reduce consumption, but all that that did was to increase smuggling.
§ Mr. Congdon
I am happy to bow to my hon. Friend's knowledge of Canada.
I have listened at great length to the tobacco industry's argument that it is trying to affect only the market share of 626 its brand. I have always thought that that argument is nonsense. Other advertisers certainly try to sell more of their products and, if possible, increase their market share.
§ Mr. Hendry
Does my hon. Friend buy petrol when he does not need to do so because he has seen an Esso advert? Does his wife buy washing powder when she does not need to wash his clothes because she has seen an advertisement for Daz? Does he buy toothpaste when he does not need it because he has seen an advert for Mentadent P? Consumers of such products switch loyalty and the same applies to tobacco companies.
§ Mr. Congdon
The difficulty is whether demand for the goods is, to use an economic term, elastic or inelastic. Demand for tobacco is elastic, whereas, unless one unnecessarily drives around the block 10 times, one will not buy more petrol than one needs.
I emphasise that I believe that there is a link, but the issue is its scale and whether, in a free society, it justifies banning tobacco advertising. Experience in the four countries quoted shows that the range of reduction, even if one accepts the figures with all the qualifications, is between 4 per cent. in Canada and 9.4 per cent. in Norway. It is possible to conclude, therefore, that an advertising ban might reduce consumption by between 4 and 9 per cent. I must emphasise, however, that Smee did not attempt to estimate the effect of an advertising ban in this country.
The figures need to be considered in the context of the reductions that we must achieve to reach the "Health of the Nation" targets, which require a reduction in consumption of 35 per cent. for men and 29 per cent. for women, and in the context of the amazing reductions that we have achieved in consumption in the past 20 years.
I accept that we must be cautious when considering the impact of advertising on young people. I share hon. Members' concern that the reduction in tobacco consumption among young people has been lower than that among other groups. The reason for that is probably peer group pressure. I am less convinced that advertising is the key to the problem. Indeed, we have already heard that if parents smoke it is more likely that their children will smoke. The link is significant. That is obviously a cause for concern.
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
One of my constituents, who is a senior child psychotherapist, has written to me, arguing that children and young people who are emotionally vulnerable are especially sensitive to the pressures that advertising places on them—rather more so than to peer pressure—because cigarette advertising presents to young, vulnerable people the image of a lifestyle that they themselves are not capable of creating. It is not peer pressure that attracts them; it is not even the cigarette. Young people are influenced by an image of sophistication, of the ability to cope with life's problems, of being themselves beautiful and attractive. Great pressure is thus exerted, solely by advertising.
§ Mr. Congdon
If one follows that line of argument, where does one stop? Does one ban the advertising of alcohol? Does one ban the advertising of fatty foods? Does one ban the advertising of dangerous toys?
§ Mr. Congdon
Does one ban the advertising of many things? That is the problem. It is possible to justify banning 627 anything. One can justify the ban on anything on the grounds that it might or might not affect some young person living in some constituency. We should not throw out of the window the arguments for freedom so easily and so casually.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
We have heard a catalogue of opinions from the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson), who has obviously been answering her constituency post for most of the morning—to the delight, perhaps, of some of us. She has given individual opinions. Perhaps we should take more notice of a totally unbiased, non-political census that was made by the Office—[interruption.] The hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) shouts at me, but I am sure that he would agree that the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, which I think he has quoted on previous occasions, concluded in its article "Why Children Start Smoking" that advertising was not one of the primary seven reasons, many of which have been paraded in the House. The glamour factor that the hon. Lady described—rather incongruously, I thought—was not one of the reasons that were mentioned by children in that context.
§ Mr. Congdon:
I welcome that intervention. Research shows that, although advertising leads to greater awareness of tobacco among young people, the evidence in terms of consumption among them is less than conclusive.
If at any stage we go down the road—I would not wish to do so—of banning advertising, it should be a decision for this Parliament and we should not be influenced by the suggestion of a European directive on the subject. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If subsidiarity means anything, it must mean the right to decide whether we ban the advertising of tobacco. I emphasise the argument that was made earlier; we do not need lessons from Brussels when the European Union is subsidising tobacco to the tune of £1 billion per year.
I know that not many hon. Members have had the opportunity this morning to speak against an advertising ban. I recognise that we are in a minority, but it is important to stand up for the freedom of people to advertise a legal product. I oppose the Bill.
§ Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. A press release was issued by the Department of Trade and Industry this morning, on which I seek your guidance because it could imperil the future of many jobs in my constituency. It was announced that an entire agency, the Accounts Services Agency, is to be put out to public tender. Those jobs are precious. They involve billions of pounds of public money and the ethics of the public service should be continued in that organisation. Has the DTI asked for a statement to be made in the House so that we can question that decision?
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)
It has been a long morning, Mr. Deputy Speaker. We have just listened to 21 turgid minutes with a number of interventions. That is an extraordinarily selfish attitude when lots of hon. Members want to get in on an important debate. I was going to 628 congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Barron), but I do not have time for that. It was an excellent speech and it is an excellent initiative. Let us hope that we all have the sense to support it.
The House will remember that, three years ago, I introduced a measure designed to protect children from smoking by limiting their access to cigarettes. The Bill was called the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Bill. It was an excellent Bill whose intention, unfortunately, was nearly totally sabotaged by the Government. It got on the statute book, but with very little result. My Bill would have laid a clear duty on local authorities to prosecute in cases where the law on tobacco sales had been broken. That, however, was not acceptable to the Government, who seemed to be concerned about the cost of imposing such a firm duty on local authorities.
The legislation finally passed by the House gave local authorities far too much discretion about what action, if any, they should take to curb illegal cigarette sales. The result, as the Home Office reported this week, is that only one third of local authorities in England and Wales have brought prosecutions, even though statistics prepared for the Government by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys show that every week, 250,000 children under 16 are sold illegally a total of 17 million cigarettes. Here we have a considerable gap between the pious hopes expressed by the Government—and I quote:The Government is concerned to see that local authorities make proper and effective use of their powers"—and the realities of the situation. I do not think that they really meant that. The considerable gap between that and the reality of the situation was the ineffectiveness of the intentions of my Bill.
We have the same gap between pious hopes and reality in the Government's obstinate support for the voluntary code on tobacco advertising. The Government admit the principle that bans on tobacco advertising are necessary to protect children. Why else do we have the ban on television advertising? The very existence of the voluntary code is an admission that young people must be shielded from tobacco advertising. The Government admit that further bans would be beneficial—[Interruption.] Perhaps hon. Members would do me the courtesy of listening, as I have waited all morning.
§ Mr. Faulds
I am not giving way to the hon. Gentleman or to anyone else.
The Government admit—I shall repeat the sentence in case it was missed by anybody—that further bans would be beneficial. The Secretary of State has suggested that at least 1,100 lives a year could be saved. The Government admit the need to improve the present position. Health Ministers say that they "see scope"—I am sure that the Minister will contradict me if I am wrong—for tackling poster advertising, shop front displays and cigarette advertise-ments in women's magazines. But then comes the fatal flaw—that gap, again, between pious hope and reality.
The Government continue to believe that voluntary agreements with the industry are the best way in which to control tobacco advertising. What pious nonsense, and they know it is. Ministers know what sort of industry they are dealing with. It is an industry which creates death. Why are they so reluctant to try to control it? We all know the answer. It may be unpopular to make this comment, but it is a fact. The Conservatives' electoral campaigns are 629 funded to a considerable extent by the tobacco industry. Surprise, surprise that there should be such reluctance to do anything about restraining that industry's advertising.
The Secretary of State, who regrettably is not here this morning—apparently she has better things to do—has been quoted as saying that the tobacco industry would find ways to "wriggle round"—her phrase—a statutory ban on advertising. But the voluntary code is negotiated between industry and the Government. Does not the Secretary of State think that the industry will wriggle even harder during those negotiations and only agree, when pushed, to something that it already plans to undermine by taking a different approach?
What scope is there in all those secret negotiations for the views of parents and of others concerned with children's health to be heard? The voluntary code is an abject failure, and we all know it, because the public have no voice in its devising and find it almost impossible to understand once it is drawn up. Even professional trading standards officers, when approached by concerned members of the public, find it hard to tell whether an advertisement for tobacco is in breach of the code—if, of course, they can get hold of the code in the first place.
Do hon. Members realise—I am sure that they do not. I am sure that they do not realise—
§ Mr. Faulds
I am giving a moment's contemplation—I rarely needed prompting and certainly not from that bunch. I was a real professional then and I am a real professional now. I am so relieved that I have managed to gain the attention of the House; perhaps I can retain it for a few minutes more. I do not want to hear the conversation of Conservative Members. I want them to hear my conversation.
Do hon. Members realise that the committee set up to monitor the working of that mish-mash of a voluntary code does not even have its own telephone number? If one rings directory inquiries and asks for COMATAS—perhaps it should be more properly called comatose—the Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and Sponsorship supposing—
§ Mr. Couchman
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The annuncators are saying "Points of Order". It has seemed to be a remarkably long point of order from the hon. Gentleman, who has been speaking for the past 10 minutes.
§ Mr. Faulds
As so often is the problem with Conservative Members, the fellow is not even numerate. He has his figure wrong. It is not surprising.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Would you enlighten the House, as dark rumours are abounding that you may be considering allowing the motion to be moved in the not-too-distant future? There are still a number of us who are waiting to speak. Our anxiety is that, in your wisdom—
§ Mr. Faulds
The hon. Gentleman, if one can use the term, has made a speech about five times over this morning.
The Committee for Monitoring Agreements on Tobacco Advertising and Sponsorship, if one knows that mouthful of words, is not listed if one asks the telephone inquiries service. How effective it must be and how easy for the public to make their comments. In fact—
§ Mr. Robert Banks
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are you aware that there have been long speeches in the debate and a statement and that, if a closure motion were to be moved, the House would have to be reminded that only two hon. Members have spoken against the Bill? That is wholly unfair—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The matter of closure is nothing to do with the number of Members who speak for or against any Bill. The closure motion is a matter of judgment for the Chair.
§ Mr. Leigh
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. What is a matter for you is to ensure that there is balanced and fair debate. I know that—[Interruption.] I know that you have a difficult task because every hon. Member who has wished to speak from the Opposition Benches has, naturally enough, wanted to support the Bill.
That has meant, as my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) said, that there have been two speeches against the Bill and eight in favour. During my 10 years in the House, I have never attended a debate in which eight hon. Members have been allowed to speak for a Bill and only two allowed to speak against it. That is absurd. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member should reflect that the Chair does his or her best when making a judgment. The Chair does not know who will speak about what—some hon. Members change their minds. Speeches have been very long today; the length of some hon. Members' speeches has meant that others have not managed to contribute to the debate. Perhaps that fact will be borne in mind on future occasions.
§ Mr. Barron
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It seems unlikely that the debate will continue much further in an orderly manner. Therefore, I beg to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 227, Noes 17.632
|Division No. 120]||[2.11 pm|
|Adams, Mrs Irene||Bennett, Andrew F.|
|Ainger, Nick||Benton, Joe|
|Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)||Berry, Dr. Roger|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)||Betts, Clive|
|Allen, Graham||Blair, Tony|
|Alton, David||Blunkett, David|
|Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)||Boateng, Paul|
|Ashton, Joe||Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)|
|Austin-Walker, John||Bradley, Keith|
|Banks, Tony (Newham NW)||Bray, Dr Jeremy|
|Barnes, Harry||Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)|
|Barron, Kevin||Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)|
|Bates, Michael||Burden, Richard|
|Battle, John||Byers, Stephen|
|Beggs, Roy||Callaghan, Jim|
|Beith, Rt Hon A. J.||Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)|
|Bell, Stuart||Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Campbell-Savours, D. N.|
|Canavan, Dennis||Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.|
|Clapham, Michael||Hill, Keith (Streatham)|
|Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)||Hinchliffe, David|
|Clelland, David||Hoey, Kate|
|Clwyd, Mrs Ann||Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)|
|Cohen, Harry||Home Robertson, John|
|Congdon, David||Hordem, Rt Hon Sir Peter|
|Connarty, Michael||Howarth, George (Knowsley N)|
|Cook, Frank (Stockton N)||Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)|
|Corbett, Robin||Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)|
|Corbyn, Jeremy||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)|
|Corston, Ms Jean||Hughes, Roy (Newport E)|
|Cousins, Jim||Hughes, Simon (Southwark)|
|Cox, Tom||Hume, John|
|Cryer, Bob||Hutton, John|
|Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)||Illsley, Eric|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)||Ingram, Adam|
|Darling, Alistair||Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)|
|Davidson, Ian||Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)|
|Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)||Janner, Greville|
|Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'dge H'l)||Jessel, Toby|
|Denham, John||Jones, leuan Wyn (Ynys Môn)|
|Dewar, Donald||Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)|
|Dixon, Don||Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)|
|Dobson, Frank||Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)|
|Dover, Den||Jowell, Tessa|
|Dowd, Jim||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald|
|Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Keen, Alan|
|Eastham, Ken||Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)|
|Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)|
|Enright, Derek||Kilfedder, Sir James|
|Ewing, Mrs Margaret||Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)|
|Fabricant, Michael||Kirkwood, Archy|
|Faulds, Andrew||Leighton, Ron|
|Fisher, Mark||Lewis, Terry|
|Flynn, Paul||Litherland, Robert|
|Forman, Nigel||Livingstone, Ken|
|Foster, Rt Hon Derek||Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)|
|Foulkes, George||Loyden, Eddie|
|Fraser, John||Lynne, Ms Liz|
|Fry, Sir Peter||McAllion, John|
|Fyfe, Maria||McCartney, Ian|
|Galloway, George||McCrea, Rev William|
|Gapes, Mike||Macdonald, Calum|
|Gerrard, Neil||McGrady, Eddie|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||McKelvey, William|
|Godman, Dr Norman A.||Mackinlay, Andrew|
|Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)||Maclennan, Robert|
|Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)||McMaster, Gordon|
|Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)||Maddock, Mrs Diana|
|Gunnell, John||Maginnis, Ken|
|Hain, Peter||Mahon, Alice|
|Hall, Mike||Mallon, Seamus|
|Hannam, Sir John||Mandelson, Peter|
|Hanson, David||Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Martlew, Eric|
|Henderson, Doug||Mates, Michael|
|Hendron, Dr Joe||Maxton, John|
|Heppell, John||Meacher, Michael|
|Michael, Alun||Sheerman, Barry|
|Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Milburn, Alan||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Miller, Andrew||Short, Clare|
|Moonie, Dr Lewis||Sims, Roger|
|Morgan, Rhodri||Skinner, Dennis|
|Morley, Elliot||Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)|
|Morris, Rt Hon A. (Wy'nshawe)||Smith, C. (Isl'ton S & F'sbury)|
|Mowlam, Marjorie||Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)|
|Mudie, George||Soley, Clive|
|Mullin, Chris||Spearing, Nigel|
|Murphy, Paul||Spink, Dr Robert|
|Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John|
|O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)||Strang, Dr. Gavin|
|O'Brien, William (Normanton)||Sweeney, Walter|
|O'Hara, Edward||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)|
|Olner, William||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|O'Neill, Martin||Tipping, Paddy|
|Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)|
|Paisley, Rev Ian||Turner, Dennis|
|Patchett, Terry||Tyler, Paul|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)|
|Pickthall, Colin||Walker, Rt Hon Sir Harold|
|Pike, Peter L.||Wallace, James|
|Pope, Greg||Walley, Joan|
|Powell, Ray (Ogmore)||Ward, John|
|Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)||Watson, Mike|
|Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)||Welsh, Andrew|
|Prescott, John||Wicks, Malcolm|
|Primarolo, Dawn||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Sw'n W)|
|Purchase, Ken||Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)|
|Quin, Ms Joyce||Winnick, David|
|Raynsford, Nick||Wise, Audrey|
|Reid, Dr John||Wolfson, Mark|
|Robinson, Geoffrey (Co'try NW)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Roche, Mrs. Barbara||Mr. Alan Howarth and|
|Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)||Mr. Hugh Bayley.|
|Alexander, Richard||Neubert, Sir Michael|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Rathbone, Tim|
|Bendall, Vivian||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|Carlisle, John (Luton North)||Watts, John|
|Cash, William||Whittingdale, John|
|Couchman, James||Wiggin, Sir Jerry|
|Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)|
|Hawkins, Nick||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Hawksley, Warren||Mr. Peter Atkinson and|
|Leigh, Edward||Mr. Charles Hendry.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Question, That the Bill be now read a second time, put accordingly and agreed to.
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 61 (Committal of Bills).