§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.
It is accepted knowledge that there is a causal relationship between lung cancer and cigarette smoking and that that causal relationship extends also to bronchitis and emphysema, coronary heart disease and the narrowing of the blood vessels in the limbs. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy give birth to smaller babies than do mothers who do not smoke; they also have a greater chance of losing their children in the period around birth and of producing handicapped babies. Moreover, recent education has been focused on the possible hazards of passive smoking; that is, breathing in other people's tobacco smoke. Recent research has suggested that the non-smoker inhaling other people's smoke may be at some small risk from health hazards similar to those which affect smokers and that passive smoking can be harmful to those with heart and lung disease, in addition to those who are allergic to cigarette smoke and who get asthmatic attacks if they find themselves in smoke-filled rooms.
Therefore, we are dealing with a very serious health problem. It is estimated that tobacco accounts for 15 to 20 per cent. of all British deaths. In addition, there is the misery to the cigarette smokers who suffer prolonged ill health and to their families. There is the loss of working time and the cost to the nation, and there is also the direct cost to the National Health Service.
Since this mortality and morbidity is related to cigarette smoking it is preventable, and it is our duty to do everything possible to prevent it. The independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health, which was chaired for 10 years by our distinguished colleague, the noble Lord, Lord Hunter of Newington, advised the Government that the important step was to get a reduction of tar levels across the board. That has been successful in reducing the levels of tar, and since there is evidence that lower tar levels can help in reducing the incidence of cancer of the lung, this is a step in the right direction. But there is no evidence that low tar levels reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease, or any of the other cardio-vascular catastrophes.
360 I was therefore appalled, when reading Hansard of the 7th May, to discover the complacency of the Government in this matter, as revealed by the Answer to the Question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Ewart-Biggs. Nowhere in that Answer would one have got the impression that the Government realised that they were dealing with a very serious matter. Apart from the legislation to ban the sale of tobacco goods to children under 16 and the ban on cigarette advertising on television, the Government have so far refused to legislate on this matter and have relied on the voluntary agreements made with the tobacco companies.
The voluntary agreements were probably a useful first step in dealing with the question of tobacco promotion, and they have certainly helped in reducing the tar levels of cigarettes which are sold in this country, but they have disadvantages. For example, they have converted the DHSS from a health executive agency to little more than an arbiter between the conflicting interests of health and the sales of tobacco. That is not the proper role of the DHSS. Also, by offsetting the threat of legislative controls, they help to maintain an environment which supports smoking as a socially acceptable activity, whereas the opposite is what is required.
Today many adults are, with difficulty, giving up smoking. Unfortunately, their places are being taken by their children. A great deal of valuable work is being done by the Health Education Council in combating the habit and in trying to prevent children from starting to smoke. But, my Lords, it is the status of smoking rather than its dangers that decides whether or not a youngster begins to smoke. Therefore, what is required is a social atmosphere in which being a non-smoker is more respectable and worthy of emulation than is being a smoker.
Creating that atmosphere is difficult. It requires several things, but one of the most important, to my mind, is the non-advertising of tobacco products. To understand this it is necessary to study the present advertisements. Although they carry the health warning, the form of presentation in fact belittles the health warning while glamourising the cigarette. If the cameras were not here I would have brought some to show your Lordships but I did not want to give them the added publicity of television. That is a fact. All your Lordships have to do is to go and study them and you will see that that is so.
The truth is that there is no room for compromise between the health risk and the enticement to smoke risk. Of course, Government could insist on the health warning being given more prominence than the product. I am pretty sure that they will not get the tobacco companies to accept that, but the only sort of tobacco advertising that makes sense is an advertisement which says, "This product is dangeous to your health, but"—at a lower level—"if you must smoke you can smoke X, Y or Z". But I am sure that that would not be acceptable to the tobacco companies.
Tobacco advertising continually tells people that smoking is desirable. It undermines the credibility of Government statements which say that smoking is bad for health. It is therefore incompatible with the 361 Government's wider smoking control policy, and it leads to widespread cynicism about health education messages.
In 1983, 44 per cent. of smokers questioned in a Government national survey agreed that smoking cannot be really dangerous or the Government would ban cigarette advertising. Tobacco advertising is not the only factor which promotes smoking but it is of special concern because it affects other influences to smoke such as peer groups and social pressures. It does that by suggesting that this dangerous, costly and addictive behaviour is widely held to be grown-up, relaxing, sociable or attractive. Tobacco advertising perpetuates such ideas and should be banned.
We must grasp this nettle, and I am inviting your Lordships to do so tonight. The Bill itself is very modest. In fact one of my friends asked me, "What is this puny Bill all about?" This Bill only requires the Secretary of State to make provision for the banning of all forms of advertisement for tobacco products by a date to be specified, not later then three years from the passing of the Act. First, the actual banning will be done by statutory instrument subject to the negative procedure. The three-year period will give the Secretary of State time to consult widely before making the order; and it will also give the tobacco industry time to adjust to the new situation. There are penalties for failure to comply; and a definition of "advertisement". I hope your Lordships will feel able to support it.
I first spoke about the subject of smoking and health when I made my maiden speech in your Lordships' House in 1975. In the 10 years that have elapsed, approximately 1 million people have died prematurely in the United Kingdom from the effects of smoking. There have been two reports from the Royal College of Physicians, and the tobacco companies, in collusion with Government departments, have developed new ways of promoting their products which evade successive voluntary agreements. At about the same time as I first spoke in this House, a Tobacco Act came into force. That Act followed a decision by the Norwegian Parliament to introduce a smoking control programme that included health education in schools, warnings on cigarette packets, and a ban on all tobacco advertising and promotion. Figures from the Norwegian Customs and Excise Department show that cigarette sales declined markedly at the time of the 1970 announcement, and also after the Norwegian Tobacco Act came into force in 1975.
The Norwegian programme and legislation is considered the outstanding model by international smoking control agencies and its correspondence with the decline in smoking in Norway has been cited often as evidence that advertising bans affect tobacco consumption. I am sure that we can do as well as Norway. Let us try to do so. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Pitt of Hampstead.)
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Lord Mottistone
My Lords, I am sure we must be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, for introducing this debate. My own misgiving is that he has introduced it in the form of the Second Reading of a 362 Bill. This subject certainly needs discussing, but I do not think there needs to be legislation.
Perhaps I should begin by telling your Lordships what I do about smoking, so that it will be seen where my position lies. I endeavour to stop every winter; and I smoke in the summer because I like it. On the whole, in the last ten years I have been successful for about six winters out of ten. The reason why I adopt this practice is because I do not want to be a slave to tobacco, but neither do I want to bow to those who tell me not to indulge in this habit, which in health terms (although the noble Lord said that it was not until recently it was certainly thought to be) is of no harm to any others, and the difficulties of which, if they arose, would apply to myself. But I shall come back to that.
On that point I would add that at no time has advertising had any effect whatsoever on this plan. Indeed, advertising has never had any effect on my smoking. It is not a factor. I have to admit to your Lordships that last winter, when I should have given up, was not a good one because of pressure of work in your Lordships' House. I am now planning to switch to a new time of stopping, during recesses. I stopped during the Easter Recess. I shall certainly stop in the Summer Recess and, maybe, continue until Christmas. But what this shows is that I smoke because I like it, and I do not see why a lot of do-gooders should tell me to do otherwise.
Why should the anti-smoking lobby move on to banning advertisements? That is rather strange. The anti-smoking lobby's campaign over the last 20 years has been markedly effective—and, from their point of view, more power to their elbow, and well done! As an example, smoking declined by 28 per cent. between 1974 and 1984, and it is still going down.
One of the results of this campaign has been a series of voluntary agreements between the advertising association and the Government, which is reducing, step by step, the average tar yield of cigarettes offered to the public. I know that the noble Lord sought to decry the difference in tar values, but over the last 20 years it was thought to be an important factor and, by agreement with the advertising association, this change has come about. If this is shown not to be an important factor, and if there are other factors which are more important, it is surely quite possible that the (again voluntary) agreement with the advertising association will enable the Government to get the new factors presented to the public and the smoking habit will change in a different way—
§ Lord Mottistone
My Lords, the noble Lord will be winding up, and he can answer this point then. Otherwise, with the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, he will be intervening in every speech which objects to what he is trying to say. The noble Lord can tell me at the end, because he has the last word.
The evidence that smoking is not so much of a habit now is all around us. When I first entered your Lordships' House some 18 years ago, I think it is fair to say that, in the Peers' Guest Room, about 75 per cent. of the Peers there were smoking. Now I should be surprised to find more than 25 per cent. Smoking, and 363 that has all come about during the time that I have been in your Lordships' House. Cigarettes are banned at lunchtime in the Dining Room. There are no smoking compartments on the Tubes.
The campaign that is being operated is a very successful one, and if that is what the campaigners want to achieve, well and good. Let them go on campaigning and, if people care to listen, let them listen. I suggest that the trend will continue and that it does not require the added impetus of banning advertising—the effects of which are highly doubtful, as I shall try to explain later—to continue the great bandwagon of reducing smoking, which is already under way.
Not having smoking compartments on the underground railways has come about only during the past year, and smoking on the ordinary railways has reduced steadily. I shall not be surprised if we find all sorts of other examples. It is inconvenient to the smoker, but tolerable, and that is something which needs to be watched. But this total pattern of success by the anti-smokers does not need to have an Act of Parliament of the nature that is put before your Lordships tonight.
Until very recently, when the anti-smokers picked this new scientific fact out of a hat, we were told that smoking was potentially harmful only to the smoker. It may be unpleasant to others, but people need only to be reasonably polite. When I was a teenager before the war—and everybody smoked a great deal more during the war—one always used to ask whether one could smoke in the presence of ladies. Now, because of the Equal Opportunities Act, one cannot say that any more—but let that pass. One now finds oneself asking ladies, and possibly even gentlemen, "Do you mind if I smoke?" in certain circumstances. That is a very good thing, because it is all very polite. It is bringing back a courtesy which we had perhaps allowed to drop.
But that is in a different category from this Bill. Even if it is true that smoking is harmful to people who are breathing in your smoke, you would have to puff at them very heavily to make a difference because the air diffuses very quickly. If you sit in a pub for the whole of its opening time, that is something special, but in an ordinary place it is not an important point.
I suggest (though not for another purpose that I need to achieve) that, for example, drink can lead to harm for others through child-battering and road accidents. While not suggesting for one moment that we should do so (because I do not think it is right to ban advertising on specific objects, anyhow) banning the advertising of drink, of motor cars or of adventure training, which can all damage other people, would surely be more logical because others can be harmed. Whether you harm yourself is your own business.
To turn to the advertising aspect, there is no proof that banning advertising would achieve the aims of its protagonists. There is no evidence that advertising causes anyone, including children, to start smoking. I did not smoke until I was 21, and I started because my wife did. That has nothing to do with advertising, unless you say that she is an advertising person, which she is not. So there is no proof of that and there is no proof that advertising increases smoking. People who 364 smoke, smoke; people who do not smoke, do not smoke; and people who want to try to stop, which lots of people do, try to stop, and advertising is just on the edge of this.
In fact, voluntarily controlled advertising helps to reduce smoking, as I said earlier, and the banning of it would deny free choice. Voluntarily controlled advertising has helped the Government to create a change in smoking habits. For example, countries with advertising have switched more quickly to filter cigarettes and low tar cigarettes than those without, and this in a period when low tar was thought to be a good thing. Whether or not it is now is quite irrelevant, because I am talking about figures in 1982, when that was the great cry.
Averaging it out among nine nations, 72 per cent. of those without advertising were smoking filter cigarettes, whereas 94 per cent. with advertising were smoking filter cigarettes. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, made a great point about Norway. Norway, without advertising, has a figure of 85 per cent., which is much less than the average for those with advertising. So I do not think that there is enough of a case. It may be a very good thing to encourage people not to smoke and to have debates such as this; maybe there is some kind of spin-off. But I do not think there is a case for a Bill of this nature, which is very abrupt, whatever the noble Lord may say.
The noble Lord says that this is a mini-Bill with only one effective clause, and that there will be three years before it can be put into effect. If by some ghastly mistake the Bill was enacted, the Government of the day in three years' time would have to produce the order which would ban such advertising. So it really does not make much difference that it specifies three years. What would happen, for example, if during those three years the Government of the day found that there was not a case? They would have to repeal the Act because otherwise the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, would have told them that they had to have an order.
I have covered most of the ground. I think it is very important that people should take into account that as a result of this campaign—this, I think, is wholly right, and I have no objection to it—smokers have become much better behaved and do ask whether people mind if they smoke and do restrict their smoking under certain circumstances. I think that that is all to the good. The noble Lord said that 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. of deaths were due to tobacco, and he also mentioned that there was a great loss of working time and a heavy direct loss to the National Health Service. Those factors may be right; but, on the other hand, I suppose that if the deaths did not happen the National Health Service would have to pay more to keep those people alive in other ways. If one starts to bring in this sort of argument about whether an individual who is responsible for his own life should be ordered not to die, one is really on a very slippery slope of masterly control from the centre; and one does not necessarily achieve the saving, if that is what it is, to the National Health Service, which is there to deal with whatever ailments we have. One might just as well say that it is a bad thing when people break their legs, because that is a loss to the National Health Service, but they do that anyhow.
The noble Lord said that we have a duty to prevent smoking. I wonder whether we do. Certainly I should 365 not have thought that Parliament does. I think that we have a duty possibly to discourage people from smoking and to present them with all the arguments as to why it is wrong, which is what the great campaign has been doing. I am all for that: but the duty to prevent people from doing something which is wholly personal, or very nearly wholly personal, seems to me to be going a little too far.
In conclusion, I would suggest that there is no proof that banning advertising will accelerate the reduction in smoking. There is proof that voluntarily controlled advertising will change people's habits and lead them to adopt less harmful cigarettes. There is proof that the main campaign by doctors and others substantially reduces overall consumption, with voluntarily controlled advertising to help them in achieving this. Hence, my Lords, the Bill would not achieve what it intends. It would be in the nature of a "Big Brother knows best" piece of legislation, and would do harm in depriving the Government of a means of persuading an alteration in the smoking habits of those who will smoke anyhow. I trust that if we are asked to vote on this Bill we will reject it from the bottom.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Viscount Hanworth
My Lords, may I say first of all that I think the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, has introduced his Bill in a very moderate way, although I disagree with it root and branch.
I of course accept that cigarettes, and to a lesser extent pipe-smoking, can be damaging to the health of many people but it clearly is not always so, to judge from the example of the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell. I do however think that there is a tendency for some people to espouse a cause and run it too far when emotion rather than common sense prevails.
Having said that, I nevertheless believe that young people should not start smoking if they can avoid it. Inevitably, in all societies, some people for one reason or another will use some drug or other; and smoking in moderation may be less harmful than other alternatives. We can now see what alcohol can do to affect those at football grounds. There is glue sniffing and of course there are harder drugs.
This debate, however, is not about banning smoking but about banning advertising. If we were to do so we should first convince ourselves that it would achieve worthwhile results and should take into account the inevitable undesirable side-effects of such a measure. I believe that advertising with the voluntary controls, which have been very well observed, has no noticeable effect on smoking. In fact I would go further and say that advertisements with a fairly prominent health warning may be a positive disincentive.
Not all young people realise that smoking can be harmful: or if they ever did they have forgotten about it. The advertisement is therefore a timely warning and an incentive to consider the matter seriously. In the few countries which have banned advertising, with the possible exception of Norway, there has been no reduction in smoking, and in certain cases there has been an increase. This compares with what has happened in Britain, where there has been a reduction in the past decade of something like 28 to 30 per cent.
366 But advertising has promoted low-tar cigarettes and filter tips, both of which are generally considered to lessen the undesirable effects of smoking. Furthermore, brand promotion has effectively prevented the import of cheaper and stronger cigarettes; and we cannot legally impose an import tax. The sponsorship by the tobacco companies of games and sports such as snooker and motor racing has been beneficial. I simply refuse to believe that seeing a tobacco logo on a racing car has any effect in encouraging people to start smoking. Its sole effect is on the brand image.
To summarise, I am making one point only, which is that an advertising ban is not the way forward for people who would like to see smoking reduced or even brought down to zero. I am afraid that some of the arguments that are put forward are extremely spurious. One which I think is particularly so and which was mentioned this evening is the cost to the National Health Service. We all have to die from some cause, and doing so or becoming old cabbages because our life is prolonged will always involve some medical and nursing expenditure. I doubt whether the cigarette-induced cancer makes any difference. And, very cynically, I might remark that it may save some old age social benefits if lives are somewhat shortened.
In any case one has to offset against that what is obtained by the Treasury from the tax on cigarettes. That does not mean that I think that this is any justification whatsoever for encouraging smoking; and I personally should like to see it continue to be reduced in England, but I do not believe that the banning of advertising is the way to do it. I deeply resent it if people worry me needlessly about my habit of smoking. I shall continue to smoke until I die.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ The Countess of Mar
My Lords, I would ask those noble Lords who know me well not to fall about laughing when I say that I rise to my feet to support the noble Lord, Lord Pitt. To those noble Lords who do not know me—unlike the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, and the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth—I must say that I am a nicotine addict. I am totally ashamed of the fact that I smoke 20 to 30 cigarettes a day. I am even more ashamed of the fact that I lack the will-power to overcome the powerful withdrawal symptoms of trying to give them up.
I had not intended to speak in this debate, but when talking to the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, yesterday afternoon about his Bill I mentioned that I had spent the morning in situations where it would have been unwise for me to smoke. That did not worry me too much. But while I was being driven from one place to another I passed by a row of shops which were plastered with advertisements for cigarettes. Normally, the effect of such advertisements would not have penetrated my conscious state, but for some reason—perhaps because I was aware of the imminence of this Bill—I became acutely aware of the correlation between my seeing those advertisements and the sudden craving I felt to smoke a cigarette.
Advertising is not the only factor which affects my addiction, but it is certainly a strong one. It had been my intention to make just this point and then sit down. If the noble Lord, Lord Somers, were here, perhaps he would command me to sit—as he did another noble 367 Lord last week—but I hope your Lordships will hear me out.
Last night I was thinking about what I would say in my speech. It is easy to be flippant and amusing, especially when one knows others will make serious speeches for and against the Bill. The more I thought about this subject, the more I realised that if what I said today will deter just one person from smoking, I shall have achieved something.
Allow me to tell your Lordships what smoking has done to me. Apart from taking the odd cigarette as a teenager, I did not start to smoke until I was 30. I was just getting over a heavy cold and was miserable with nasal congestion. A colleague of mine offered me a mentholated cigarette—one of those advertised being smoked by people in a sylvan glen through which runs a cool mountain stream. When my symptoms returned I smoked another, and another. Before I knew it, I was hooked.
That was in 1970. In 1976 I was going through a period of severe stress and I developed a peptic ulcer. Those noble Lords who have suffered from one of these beasts will know that one has to lie low for long periods and that peptic ulcers have a nasty habit of raising their ugly heads at the most inappropriate moments. Just when one needs all one's reserves to overcome tiredness or anxiety, one is struck with acute pain. It was not until fairly recently that I was told of the relationship between smoking and ulcers, although I should have worked that out for myself. Smoking may not be the direct cause, but it certainly retards healing.
The trouble is that I use cigarettes to reduce stress. Without them I am impossible to live with and I feel physically ill. I have tried frequently to give up cigarettes. The last time was about two years ago, but after a fortnight of nicotine deprivation I was in such a state of physical and emotional tension that life itself became pointless. I had reached "the pits", as McEnroe might say.
I have never advocated the use of medicinal products as emotional props and I do not believe in substituting one addiction for another. Rather than do that, I returned to cigarettes. I am now smoking again and have, if I am honest with myself, given up giving up. I am well aware of all the hazards associated with cigarette smoking. I hate the taste of the weed, and an ashtray full of butts or the smell of a smoky room disgusts me; but the addiction is stronger than the aversion.
The realisation that my husband's and my own expenditure on cigarettes in a week combined is more than the unemployed benefit paid to a young person for a week horrifies me. It may be too late for me, but if we can stop others from taking their first cigarette—particularly children, and here again I have failed—I know that we will have done them a tremendous service. How can we morally justify the continuing promotion of a product which we know causes so much physical and emotional damage? I ask the House to support the noble Lord, Lord Pitt.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Lord Kaberry of Adel
My Lords, confession seems 368 to be the order of the evening. I propose to make a very brief and, I am sure, extraordinarily dull speech. I have never smoked cigarettes, I have never smoked pipe tobacco, I have never chewed tobacco, and I have never taken snuff. It has been a very dull life.
I share the concern of the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, about the illnesses and ensuing death from respiratory diseases, from lung cancer and other lung diseases, and from heart diseases. For many years I was chairman of the board of governors of a large teaching hospital in Yorkshire. I was left in no doubt about the problems associated with all those diseases. What I do know is that not all those who suffered in that bad way were users of tobacco substances in any form. It does not necessarily follow that all deaths from those diseases are attributable in any measure to the use of tobacco.
I accept the necessity to wage a campaign constantly against those diseases. To that end certainly I will do all that I can. But this Bill—as the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, reminded us quite rightly—is not to ban tobacco products and the use and smoking of those products, but is to ban the advertising of them. The Department of Health published a White Paper in December 1977, I believe it was; the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, will put me right if I am wrong about the year. That White Paper dealt with the question of preventive health care and it stated, in relation to cigarette advertising and smoking:There is little direct evidence about the effects of cigarette advertising on total consumption. A ban would detract from Government strategy, which encourages smokers to smoke cigarettes in the relatively less harmful lower tar groups and would remove an important vehicle for the health warning which appears on all advertisements".Since 1977 I believe that all the evidence associated with these problems supports what was then said. It leads me to say that I am wholly against any form of prohibition and certainly the prohibition of advertisements—advertisements which are used by the manufacturers and by the Government to bring home a warning as to the possible risks to the consumer from tobacco products.
I believe that practice has brought about quite a change—as the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, so well illustrated—in the smoking and social habits of many of our fellow citizens. I believe I am correct in saying that about 40 per cent. of the adult population smoke cigarettes of one kind or another; cigarettes manufactured by themselves or by a tobacco company. Those people are not unaware of the problems associated with cigarette and tobacco smoking. I believe them to be sufficiently adult to take notice of all the propaganda which is, quite rightly, put out by the medical profession in respect of the difficulties associated with too much smoking or any smoking at all.
Over the past 10 years such propaganda has led the tobacco companies to spend considerable sums of money on better research and development on improved manufacturing of leaf tobacco, on the better use of the filter tip, and on other matters of that kind.
This Bill prohibits the use of all forms of advertisement for tobacco products. As Clause 3 says:'advertisement', in relation to a tobacco product, includes every form of recommendation of the product to the public".It then defines two particular matters which are of 369 specific importance. If all advertisements were banned, it would mean, first of all, the denial and removal of the Government warning on all cigarette and tobacco advertisements. That would go. It is a warning on all advertisements which says very clearly:Cigarettes can seriously damage your health".That will go. We shall have a world where cigarettes are sold over a counter or surreptitiously somehow without any proper recommendation by the manufacturers on the content of the cigarettes and without any warning by the Government.
Viscount St. Davids
My Lords, may I suggest that in that case the warning could be put on the tobacco shops themselves?
§ Lord Kaberry of Adel
My Lords, I am not quite sure what would happen if everything was banned, but certainly it would prevent competition among the tobacco companies. It would also deny a great deal of information being given to the public.
I do not know what "recommendation of the product" would mean. The noble Lord must have worked out what his Bill is proposing to do. At the other end of the corridor where there is another place I have heard one Member recommending to another to have a pinch of snuff as he goes into that Chamber. Is that to be banned? Are we to interfere with the privileges of that House? The phrase must at any rate be defined. Where are we going? Does it mean that all imported magazines, including those from the United States which have masses of advertisements for cigarettes and tobacco, are to be banned? Would a ban be effective? I think that we have had one or two illustrations as to what has happened in countries where there has been a ban.
So far—and that is why I introduce it—Italy has not been referred to specifically, but Italy banned tobacco advertisements in 1962. If we take comparable figures, say, from 1969 to the last completed year of 1983, we see that in 1969 some 68,000 million cigarettes were consumed in Italy; in 1983, after the ban on advertising, that consumption had risen to 120,000 million. It was almost double the quantity. In the United Kingdom taking 1969 again, there were 124,900 million cigarettes consumed. I think that as a result of the warnings and the change of habit consumption dropped in 1983 to some 100,600 million. I think that that shows that the voluntary scheme being used in the United Kingdom is effective.
What concerns me is that, if we remove the effective warning which presently is used, cigarette sales, and indeed all kinds of smoking, could well go underground without any expression publicly about the evils of the use thereof, which was so well illustrated by His late Majesty, James I of England, and into whose remarks I need not go.
There are other matters associated with the banning of advertisements. The term in the Bill is:every form of recommendation of the product to the public".Almost daily on our television screens we see American or British—indeed, international—films of 370 all kinds in which people are apparently enjoying smoking cigarettes, pipes or tobacco of some kind. On old films we even see seamen chewing tobacco. Are they to be banned? It is a form of recommendation of the product. They seem to enjoy it very much.
One actor, Mr. Clint Eastwood, portrays a great wild west character who appears regularly and who is first seen in a film chewing a half smoked cigarette, hand-rolled obviously as one sees it. The film always fades out after the great hero has performed wonderful deeds as he lights up yet another hand-rolled, half smoked cigarette, with a great smile of satisfaction on his face. Is that to go? Is that to be banned? It is in fact a recommendation of the product. He seems to be enjoying it very much. So why should we not all say, "I shall enjoy one, too. No one in the newspapers is telling me that it will injure my health, except some old fuddy-duddies called the BMA who have all sorts of cockeyed ideas. But I will take no notice of them. I shall have a cigarette because Clint Eastwood has one"?
If this Bill goes through, does it mean that every film to be shown on BBC and IBA programmes has to be censored: Big Brother will be watching! He will have a pen or something else and whenever a cigarette comes up it will be struck out somehow. I do not know what will happen. It is nonsense and the Bill is nonsense. I agree with my noble friend Lord Mottistone: let us throw it out.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Lord Rea
My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Pitt and support him for bringing in what I consider to be a long overdue Bill. I think that all noble Lords who have spoken accept that the scientific argument about smoking and health is over. I think that perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Ka berry, might need a refresher course on that. Although his speech was a great deal more amusing than mine will be, I am not sure whether it has helped the case against the Bill. I shall refer to a number of his arguments at a later stage of my speech.
The damaging effects of smoking were already established as much as 30 years ago, following the pioneer statistical work of Sir Richard Doll and Sir Austin Bradford Hill in 1950. About 18 years ago I was working with Professor Walter Holland's team at St. Thomas' Hospital in research which at that stage was dotting the i's and crossing the t's of the established evidence linking smoking with aspects of ill health. We discovered that the lung function of schoolchildren was already impaired if they smoked, and so was the lung function of young children whose parents smoked at home. Referring to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, I point out that it is not just recently that the effect on others of people smoking has been established. It has been known for some time.
In that research group we also showed that men with chronic bronchitis survive much longer, with fewer episodes of acute bronchitis and pneumonia, if they stop smoking. It might be argued that that is obvious, but it was very important to establish that fact then and it has helped doctors to convince many people to give up smoking. We also found that carbon monoxide, which is a well-known poison, was present 371 in people's blood in direct proportion to the number of cigarettes they smoked and the depth to which they inhaled the smoke. Carbon monoxide is only one of the noxious substances present in cigarette smoke. The research unit at St. Thomas' was, incidentally, funded by the Department of Health and Social Security; it still is, and is doing excellent work.
Even then, the evidence was so clear that we could not understand why the Government did not take immediate action to prohibit the promotion of tobacco products. I should have been quite incredulous if I had known then that today, 18 years later, I should be speaking in this debate to support a Bill that should have become law 20 years ago. I am not making a party point here. All governments have failed to stop the advertising of what is, without exaggeration, when it is smoked, an insidious and addictive combination of poisons.
The message has reached most people. As noble Lords have mentioned, tobacco consumption is slowly coming down. But, as his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester said in a remarkable maiden speech last June:Smoking is the single most important cause of preventable ill-health, disability and premature death in Britain today. This will continue to be so for many decades unless there is a much greater change in the rate of consumption."—[Official Report, 13/6/84; col. 1124.]I will grant that the Government have taken some steps. They have financed the Health Education Council to the tune of some £3.5 million to undertake anti-smoking activities. They give a very small grant to ASH, Action on Smoking and Health, which does an amazingly effective job considering its really tiny budget. Tax is added year by year to the cost of tobacco. Cigarettes, and luckily cigars and pipe tobacco somewhat less, were hit this year. However, in relation to income, it is still cheaper to buy cigarettes now than it was pre-war. The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes should be £1.60, not 1.20, to represent the same proportion of average income as it did 50 years ago.
There is the voluntary agreement, about which noble Lords have spoken, with the industry on advertising, and the inclusion of health warnings regarding tar and nicotine, and the listing of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide content. However, incidentally, information about carbon monoxide content is never printed on the packet, and never available in tobacconists. I wonder why, my Lords. Nevertheless, the industry spends at least £100 million, and probably considerably more (the figures are quite difficult to obtain) on advertising. That is 30 times as much as the Health Education Council's antismoking budget of £3.5 million. The Government receive £5 million a year in tobacco taxation revenue.
As the noble Countess, Lady Mar, has really very movingly pointed out, nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Some people say that it is even more addictive than heroin. Everybody knows how difficult it is for addicted smokers to give up, even when they know very clearly that their lives are at stake. Perhaps I may quote the noble Duke, the Duke of Gloucester, again (I am sorry he is not here tonight):even after undergoing major lung cancer surgery 48 per cent. of patients (if they survive) start smoking again".—[Official Report, 13/6/84; col. 1124.]372 The addiction can start quite early in life. The Royal College of Physicians has said,The matter is largely settled by the age of 20. If a person is still a non-smoker at this age, he is unlikely to take it up.In my experence, it is easier to give up if you start well into adult life—as the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, discovered, for he seems able to give up and start again at will. I think the situation is rather different for women who may start later and get stuck. It is vital for the tobacco industry to get young smokers started.
Simon Chapman, who wrote the BMA booklet which produced some of the evidence about which we have been talking, says:The failure of a generation of young people to start smoking would devastate the industry within 10 years".Perhaps he exaggerates. However, I submit that despite their protestations to the contrary, the main aim of cigarette advertising is to get young people started and addicted to the habit. If they get them young, like the Catholic Church, they have got them for life.
Recently, I received a letter from the Advertising Association enclosing an aubergine-coloured booklet entitled Advertising and Cigarette Consumption by M. J. Waterson. They said in the letter that it was in case I wished to speak against the Bill. I do not think they have done their research very well! Neverthless, it is very handy because it has helped me to look at some of the arguments of those who oppose the Bill.
First, let us look at the situation in Norway. Tobacco consumption has fallen more slowly there than in the United Kingdom, despite a tobacco Act banning advertising which was brought in in 1975. However, no one pretends that advertising, or the lack of it, is the only factor affecting tobacco sales. The fact remains that a vigorous Government compaign against smoking in Norway in 1970 arrested a steady increase and that the ban was followed by a decline in male smokers after a year or so. More significantly, the ban on advertising was followed immediately by a fall in smoking by children of both sexes aged 13, 14 and 15. That is something not yet achieved in Britain.
The second point made in the booklet is that cigarette consumption has risen steadily in Eastern Europe, the USSR and also in some other countries, such as Italy which the noble Lord, Lord Kaberry, mentioned. All these countries have a ban on advertising. I submit that this is quite a false analogy. In all these countires there is a very low public health awareness regarding smoking. They are 20 years behind us in this. Cigarettes are cheap there and other consumer goods, particularly in Eastern Europe, are often scarce. They also started from a lower level of smoking. As the table in the book shows, those countries which reached our level of smoking in the 1960s are now recording a fall. There was a fall in 1981, compared to 1980. I think it is too easy to use statistics to mislead people.
A point that is often made and has been made already by other noble Lords is that advertising helps to give information so that people can choose safer brands; for instance, those with filters or with less tar. The booklet gives two tables comparing the percentage of filter cigarettes and low tar cigarettes sold in countries with and without advertising bans. There is 373 no time to give a detailed analysis of the tables, but the countries are selected to prove the points that the author wishes to make. All the countries that he selects without advertising bans had over 90 per cent. filter cigarette sales, whereas those with bans mostly had lower rates, a median 70 per cent. of filter cigarettes. However, the authors failed to mention Mexico, India and Pakistan among the countries without advertising bans. Maybe the reason was because their filter rates are extremely low with figures of 20 per cent.; 39 per cent.; and 43 per cent.
There are other ways of encouraging people to smoke lower tar cigarettes: for instance, differential taxation and directives to the industry. In the United Kingdom tax on the high tar cigarettes, that is those with over 20 milligrammes per 100 grams, was increased over that level a few years ago. Consumption of these cigarettes after that plummeted from 15 per cent. to 3 per cent. of sales within three months. That was a much quicker effect than one might have expected from advertising.
In Finland, the criteria for the lowest tar grade has been progressively reduced, and high tar grades banned altogether. The consumption of the lowest tar cigarettes, that is those with less than 11 milligrammes per cent., has increased from 5 per cent. in 1978 to 31 per cent. in 1984. In the United Kingdom, the consumption of this lowest tar grade has remained steady at around 15 per cent. over the same period despite all the efforts of advertising.
In conclusion, I would submit that tobacco advertising cannot do anyone any good, except the tobacco industry. For the Government to continue to allow advertising is in effect condoning the habit and legitimising its continuation. As the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, said, anyone might say that if advertising is allowed, smoking cannot be all that bad. But the damage done by smoking is too great to allow this complacency. The tobacco industry, I suggest, should be prepared to put its house in order and wind up its affairs, with its early demise in prospect. I suggest that this might prevent hundreds of thousands of individuals who are our fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters and maybe our sons and daughters from having to do the same thing, as they face imminent death from lung cancer, heart disease or one of the many other smoking-related diseases.
Money saved by the industry by not advertising, if this Bill were to pass, could be used for retraining schemes for those who might be made redundant. But the industry is wealthy and has plenty of time to diversify, as it has already done. Many noble Lords will have received an extremely glossy brochure from BAT Industries which illustrates precisely this. I suggest that the tobacco fields of the world should be growing food or other useful crops. The change-over is going to take time. One has only to think of the millions of nicotine addicts. So no economic disaster will occur. I fully support the Bill. I feel that it is long overdue.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Lord Harris of High Cross
My Lords, I thought that from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, we 374 got a whiff of the real spirit behind many of the speeches, which is that the Bill is a kind of precursor of a total ban that he would clearly like to see on the use of these products.
§ Lord Rea
My Lords, when the noble Lord looks at Hansard tomorrow, I should like him to find the passage in my speech which says that, and send it to me.
Lord Harris of High Cross: My Lords, I apologise if I have misrepresented the noble Lord. But the spirit of his remarks was one of great impatience and even contempt for those who use cigarettes or tobacco and some anger with those who continue production. I wish to say that despite the most amiable and moderate manner of the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, I regard this Bill to ban advertising of all tobacco products as at once trivial and yet heinous. It seems to me yet another example of the profoundly anti-democratic temper of so many socialists, if I may say so, in all parties and their contempt both for individual liberty and for the common sense of ordinary people. It illustrates for me the casual, almost frivolous, resort to the full majesty of law to gratify what I hope, for the noble Lord, Lord Pitt's, sake, is no more than a passing professional whim. I am sure that he would not generally set himself up as the almighty censor of other people's everyday conduct. Yet here he is attempting to deploy the ultimate sanction of state coercion to influence or control the tastes and preferences of which he disapproves in his fellow men and women.
To me, the Bill is highly objectionable as breaching the sacred liberal principle that keeps compulsion in reserve for use against major threats to the peace and security of a free society. By the same token, it is essentially a trivial measure. At a time when this nation is faced with some fairly daunting economic and social challenges the noble Lord and his friends think it right that the attention and resources of this entire Parliament should be diverted to indulge their paternalistic itch to interfere in other people's affairs. Even from the narrow prohibitionist point of view, why deploy this legislative steam hammer to crack the little nut of tobacco advertising when, as we have heard, voluntary codes have already gone a long way to advance the cause both of less smoking and of what is regarded as less dangerous smoking?
The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, did not deny that advertising has been directly instrumental in switching smokers to filter-tipped cigarettes and to lower-tar brands which have increased during the last decade from 5 per cent. to 57 per cent. of the market. I should like to ask the noble Lord, when he winds up, whether he acknowledges that in those model socialist states of Eastern Europe about which we have heard, where government monopoly countenances no tobacco advertising, smoking has increased without advertising and there has been no comparable shift to filter tips or lower tar.
I should also like to hear whether the noble lord disputes the view that we have heard (and I have certainly been instructed in) that since Norway banned advertising in 1975, consumption has not obligingly fallen as fast as it has in the United Kingdom. Indeed, the director of the Norwegian Council on Smoking has 375 himself explicitly poured cold water on the naïve expectation that this kind of censorship and suppression of advertising helps the noble Lord's cherished aims. The best commonsense view on the effects of advertising, in a well developed market such as cigarettes, is that of the Metra Consulting Group, which concluded that promotion influences brand shares but not the size of the total market.
Anyway, why should the noble Lord adopt such a superior and condescending contempt for the ability of smokers to make up their own minds? Does he honestly believe that a single citizen in this country has not heard that smoking is alleged to be dangerous? We have heard that by voluntary agreement 15 per cent. of every advertisement for cigarettes is devoted to a free display of the latest health warning which seems to be, "The more you smoke, the more you risk your health". I only wish that 15 per cent. of some of the speeches of Socialists to which I listen were required to include a warning against higher taxes and inflation that are their inevitable consequence.
I also recall from the dim recesses of a stubborn but selective memory a report in the BMJ in 1979 that doctors who heeded their own propaganda and stopped smoking risked worsening mortality from stress-related diseases including suicides, accidents and cirrhosis of the liver. It is a common observation that many people who stop smoking turn for consolation to over eating or over drinking and other damaging pursuits. This debate so far has also confirmed an impression that I have formed for some time—that non-smokers tend to make longer speeches in your Lordships' House. I believe that this is because they are not in such a hurry to leave the Chamber to have what I believe is called in the vernacular "a quick drag". If I may say so, without any disrespect to the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, I guarantee that my comparison of the average length of speeches in favour of smokers will be much confirmed by the time that he sits down.
The decisive practical case against this Bill was well put by the noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, from the Alliance Benches. It is that it will not achieve the purpose sought by its authors. Even if all advertising could effectively be prevented—we have had some doubts expressed about that by the noble Lord, Lord Kaberry—it would not ensure the reduction in smoking and may end the current switch to lower-tar cigarettes. Thus, newspapers would be crippled by a decisive loss of advertising revenue, all to no avail. The big question is "Could all advertising be so easily prevented?" How about tobacconists' shop windows? Are they to be blacked out? What about point of sale display and other marketing devices? Are companies to be stopped offering free gifts, such as the cigarette cards I remember from my youth? How about lucky numbers or bingo prize games on the packet? Will Lord Pitt's Bill run me in for wearing a lapel badge or a T-shirt displaying the name of my favourite brand?
When this petty, persecutory Bill has been shown to fail in its feeble purposes, what further prohibitions would the noble Lord and his earnest friends dream up to impose their will on those of us who dared to choose to continue to smoke? It is on the grounds of practical expediency, no less than on the highest principle, that 376 I urge the House to reject what I consider to be an ineffective, objectionable, piffling Bill.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Earl Attlee
My Lords, smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit. My wife tells me that, my son tells me that and my daughter tells me that. How is it that I have been smoking for all these years and have brought up two children—and I was going to say one wife—and none of them smokes?
The noble Lord who has just spoken to the Bill has called it a petty Bill. My Lords, it is petty. I had hoped that the people who promoted the Bill would produce some good, cogent arguments. The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, referred to Norway. He said that when they banned advertising in Norway smoking decreased. However, why did he not tell your Lordships that at the same time they imposed a swingeing increase in the price? That was why smoking decreased in Norway.
The noble Lord, Lord Rea, said that the tobacco companies say, "Get them young and you've got them for life". If your Lordships have been into a tobacconist or a sweet shop during this past year you will have seen a large sign saying that it is illegal to sell cigarettes to children under age. That was not a Government action; the tobacco industry did it themselves. It has spent a vast sum of money trying to stop children from smoking; it does not want children to smoke.
The Bill looks quite innocuous until you actually think about it. If your Lordships pass this Bill, there will be no more motor racing. The tobacco companies spend millions and millions of pounds every year supporting motor racing, and as a result of motor racing we get better tyres, better brakes and we save lives. If we stop all forms of advertising we are bound to stop promotion.
Your Lordships sit down at home—that is, when we get home—and watch television, and it is great. Your Lordships may watch the Embassy World Snooker Championship, which is great. Perhaps little Johnny will be sitting with you and he will see "Embassy". Are you honestly telling me that he will say, "Embassy. That is a cigarette." He will be watching snooker, he will not connect the two. You may be watching the John Player Special and see someone driving down the motor racing track at 180 miles an hour. Will little Johnny at home say, "Oh; I must have a cigarette"?. Do you see the driver who is driving at 180 miles an hour lighting a cigarette? I am sorry, but it just does not work in that way.
If advertising does anything it gets you to change from one brand to another. I smoke Rothmans cigarettes. I do not actually like John Player Special cigarettes. I am sorry about that, but I shall try another brand. I have smoked all my life and I started when I was too young to smoke legally. When I was a sailor they cost tuppence for 50. If my wife does not smoke, if my son does not smoke, and if my daughter does not smoke, what will this Bill do? I am sorry, but this is a petty Bill and even the arguments which have been put forward in support of the Bill are petty. Your Lordships must throw this Bill out.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Lord Orr-Ewing
My Lords, I ought first to declare an interest. I am a non-executive director of a public relations firm and one of our 45 clients is a tobacco firm. If I have to say that every time I speak on any subject, it is still better to be honest about it, and I should like to declare it before I begin.
The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, is a friend of many of us in all parts of the House. He is such a nice chap that we always feel sympathetic to anything that he promotes. He has certainly done us a service because until I began to study the problem I had no idea of the facts and figures and what was happening in other parts of the world which are all encountering this type of problem. He has brought the matter to our attention, and that is a very worthy cause. However, I do not think that so far anyone who is in favour of the Bill—even the noble Lord—has really put forward a good cause as to why we should abandon a voluntary agreement which has been extremely successful over the past 15 years, and substitute for it a law which will be very difficult to draw up—it is very imperfect in its present state—and which will forbid all advertising. And from advertising there will be a knock-on as regards sponsorship, which is a form of advertising, at least in the BMA's opinion. So I do not think that the case has been proved.
We have been asked to set aside two voluntary agreements: one on the health side and one covering advertising and sponsorship and the conditions under which that is done, and how much of it is done. That is to be abandoned and substituted for a complicated Bill making it essential that we abandon all advertising of every type of tobacco product. We are always groaning and saying, as we are kept up night after night, "There is too much legislation in this bloody place"—and, by the way, they are saying just the same down the corridor—"and so for God's sake stop legislation". Therefore, in that mood—and we are very much in that mood because so far as I can see we shall be permanently locked in here for June and July—I ask why we should have a further amount of legislation when a voluntary agreement is really working extremely well?
I had hoped that the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, would have spoken earlier so that I could have dealt with what he said. However, I hope that when he comes to speak he will explain what has happened since 1977 when he, as the Minister, signed the voluntary agreement. Has it not matched up to the hopes that he had for it? Perhaps he will tell us about that.
Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, will tell us from where he produced the astonishing figure that he quoted. I have looked at an innumerable number of charts, medical reports and the like. No one has suggested that 20 per cent. of the people in this country die from tobacco smoking. Perhaps in his wind-up speech the noble Lord will tell me where I may find that, and we shall study it. However, certainly everything that I have studied suggests that his figure is way over the figure which could possibly be justified.
What has happened as a result of the voluntary agreement? First, we have had the low tar content which in 1972 accounted for fewer than 5 per cent. of 378 the cigarettes that were bought; low tar cigarettes now make up 68 per cent, of the cigarettes that are bought. So that is a tremendous achievement. As regards filter tips, which were almost negligible in 1950, now 95.7 per cent, of cigarettes are filter tips. Therefore, in making the cigarettes less injurious, there has been a very real change in the habit in this country As a result, 30 per cent. fewer people smoke today than smoked a decade ago.
Meanwhile the industry—and the noble Lord, Lord Kaberry, touched on this—has understandably, because it is threatened, spent even more on improving its products. It has spent £300 million on research and development in the last decade. It will go on spending.
The BMA is an organisation that we all respect. It is a powerful advocate and it is a pretty resolute opponent. I noticed in its weekly journal of 28th April 1983 an article on how the BMA had beaten the Government over the police request for access to medical records. It was crowing over this success The article, by one Susan Edwards, concluded with these comments:They were not unhappy, however, that the profession got a chance to see the BMA at its most effective, and face the prospect of challenging the Data Protection Bill and later the tobacco industry with relish".That is the relish we are enjoying this evening. 1 hope that we shall not let it get any further in the legislative programme.
As I have said, the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, is a nice chap, and he is also a doctor, and therefore he speaks with some authority. He is the future chairman of the BMA, so we must take anything he says seriously. The BMA is behind this Bill, and let us not brook that issue. It is behind the proposal that we reject the successful voluntary system.
Of course the BMA considers that sponsorship is another form of advertising. In a moment I shall draw attention to sponsorship and just what good it has achieved in both sport and the arts. But one thing has not been mentioned: let no one pretend that if this Bill is given a Second Reading tonight there will not be a follow-on, a knock-on, a domino effect. Once they have this banned, it will move on perhaps to certain forms of alcohol, and then broaden to other forms of alcohol. This is just a start.
Please, if a voluntary agreement is working, let it work. It is so much more flexible. Under a voluntary agreement you do not have to bring a case and have a criminal charge, and prove your case with all the courts taking it up and wasting their time, and with all the moneys expended. You get together with the industry and you adjust the conditions and make sure that what is being done is in the interests of better health.
We have had two doctors speaking tonight. I rather regret that the noble Lord, Lord Hunter of Newington, who is so renowned in medical circles, was not able to be present. He was chairman of the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health, and he said this about the 10 years of service he gave there:By the time I completed my period as chairman the levels"—referring to tar levels—had been reduced from somewhere in the region of 28 milligrams to about 15 milligrams".379 Now of course the plan in the next few years is to cut it down to 13. It has been more than halved in that period. He went on:The effect of the introduction of filters and the reduction of tar levels … has been a substantial reduction in the incidence of carcinoma".There it is from one of the great authorities who was chairman of a very important body.
Sir Richard Doll in his Harvean Lecture of 1983—and I have all those papers here—produced some encouraging graphs. Nothing that he produced has suggested that 20 per cent. die from tobacco. What is significant is not only the reduction in the last 10 years but the way in which this voluntary agreement has restricted the amount of advertising, has restricted the amount of sponsorship, and has succeeded in bringing about a very successful industry.
I would also mention that if we banned it here, if the demand for the product fell markedly here, if there had to be a cutback in research and development, there would be the question how we are to keep out the overseas product. There would be a massive increase. Most of those overseas products would have much hgher tar content and be much less well filtered than the products we produce here.
People have suggested that the advertisements are aimed at the young. That is not true. The tobacco industry goes on reminding shops that they must not sell to the young, and that it is against the law to sell to the young. It has been suggested that when the young see these sponsored events that they will be encouraged to smoke. I went to watch my county, Middlesex, play rather unsuccessfully in the Benson and Hedges Cup at Lord's last week. I saw a small number of schoolchildren there. Unfortunately, Middlesex were out cheaply and so the game did not last as long as was expected.
I asked them in the interval what they knew about Benson and Hedges. They said, "Well, this is the Benson and Hedges Cup". I got that. But very few of them knew that Benson and Hedges made cigarettes. I am sorry, but, at least from my personal survey, it does not seem that the idea that young people seeing cricketers playing, or other people who are energetic, will immediately take to smoking is borne out at all.
In this country, unlike in the controlled economies of the Soviet bloc, our sports are controlled by governing bodies (all volunteers, by the way), and some governing bodies do not want to be associated with tobacco sales and therefore they do not want tobacco sponsorship. The Amateur Swimming Association is one of those, and I read in the Daily Telegraph today that soccer and swimming are not to be associated with smoking.
There is a voluntary agreement cutting back on where sponsorship acts. But let us bear in mind that sponsorship of sport is now worth between £8 million and £10 million a year to sport. If sponsorship was banned, let no one think that there will be an immediate inrush of other sponsors. I looked at the figures recently, and as many as 60 sports are now looking for sponsors and cannot find them.
May I put in a word also for the arts? The sponsoring of the arts by the tobacco industry is now worth £4 380 million a year. Owing to the generous announcement we heard recently from the noble Earl, Lord Gowrie, every £1 given in sponsorship is to be matched by another £1 from the Government. Therefore, that sponsorship is worth much more than £4 million to those concerned.
If one had to pick out one example, it would come from Ulster. The Ulster Orchestra is sponsored. They received a £260,000 grant from a tobacco company for four years of sponsorship. In fact it kept the orchestra going. It would have lapsed but for that. It now has another £260,000 for the next four years. It is a wonderful example of how the arts can be helped just as sport has been helped.
I submit to this House that so far we have heard nothing which proves that the voluntary system is at fault, and that a legalistic system would be a better and worthier replacement. I hope, therefore, that the House will, if it comes to a vote, turn down the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Lord Airedale
My Lords, I did not put my name down to speak in this debate and to contribute the two sentences that I have in mind because I did not expect to hear the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, say that smoking is only personal or very nearly only personal. I know that that is what people like the noble Lord think, but the unhappy truth is that a person who lays himself open to getting hooked on cigarettes lays himself open also to being cut off, not when he already has one foot in the grave but probably when he is the head of a family at his maximum earning capacity, making his maximum contribution to society and very deeply affecting the lives of other people who hold him in the greatest affection and are probably financially dependent upon him. It behoves people who smoke to think a great deal more about other people. Smoking is not only personal or even very nearly only personal or anything like it.
§ Lord Mottistone
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I should point out to him that I am still thriving (having smoked since I was 21) and I have passed the stage at which my children are a great care to me. None of my children smokes and I can think of not one friend in quite a long life who in his prime died from smoking. I cannot think of anyone, and I have a large number of friends. I think that is just a myth.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Lord Newall
My Lords, I hope noble Lords will forgive me for not having put my name down, but I did not expect to be here today and I had given notice that I intended to speak. As usual, I shall be extremely brief.
I am a non-smoker and am therefore thoroughly impartial. There is one point that I feel ought to be aired which has not yet been raised. We all know that advertising agencies are very commercial. They have to work for their clients and tell their clients' story. Generally they are expert at it. It would be a great tragedy if this Bill proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, were to go through because I should be denied, as would other people, some of the marvellous pictures that we see. The subtle way they have of reminding us of the warning also gives us wonderful pictures. I like 381 those which show pieces of material with little slits in. I like to see the shaving cream with all those funny letters on it. This afternoon on the Underground I saw a picture of something that looked like a banana skin which was just slightly the wrong shape. These pictures are very attractive and I should hate to be deprived of them. Every time we look at them—and they have nothing to do with cigarettes of course—they remind us that if were were smoking we would be in some danger.
Many people who smoke heavily definitely regard it as their only relief from stress. I do not believe that is true, but that is their decision and they have a right to take it. To ban all the advertising in its main form is ridiculous because it is, as I have said and others have said, only a warning and its ban would stop the arguments and conversations that go on because we are continuously faced with these messages. Everybody knows it is unhealthy, so why not let them sponsor sports. Let them help sport which helps a lot of people to enjoy life and keeps many people in employment. It also keeps many sports going, as the noble Lord, Lord On-Ewing, said. No trainer ever allows a sportsman to smoke. We all know that, but it helps to keep the sport going. This is a thoroughly bad Bill and I hope that it is killed here.
§ 9.13 p.m.
Viscount St. Davids
My Lord, I apologise for speaking at this late hour. As a non-smoker I shall be very brief. I must plead guilty to a considerable bias—I am a youth leader. I am therefore strongly biased against damaging children and young people. I am not so worried about all you intelligent adults. Indeed I believe that in your case the tobacco companies are right, that their advertisements do not increase smoking among intelligent adults. But with children it is different.
Children are both enormously conformist and highly logical. I was about to say that they are more logical than your Lordships, but I believe that is true to some extent because they have not gone through the very long training in illogic which so many of us have had. They have not had time for that. When they see their youth leaders and school masters smoking, and when they see smoking advertisemens, it has an effect on them which is far greater than it would have on your Lordships. This is what worries me greatly. I have seen it happening and I have wept over it. It is for that reason that I strongly support the Bill.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Lord Fitt
My Lords, I should have felt very much more at ease tonight if it had been a Tory Peer who had sponsored this Bill, because I have been used to voting in the other place in an adversarial way. I rise to my feet not in any way to oppose the Bill but to tell my noble friend that I do not believe that it is possible to ban cigarette advertising. Let me give a little experience. I started smoking when I was eight or nine years of age. As many of your Lordships will know, the main street in Belfast is Royal Avenue. I was a very active member of the "Royal Avenue Butt Collectors' Association" when I was nine years of age. The RABCA was one of the few non-sectarian organisations that existed. The only thing that we 382 worried about in those days was the weather, because if there was a big shower of rain, which frequently happened in Royal Avenue, it did not make things very good for our smoking.
From then, I smoked for 37 years. I had two daughters who were nurses and they were petrified with the fear that I might get lung cancer. I remember them persuading me to watch television programmes where people's lungs were taken out surgically. I used to look at them and say, "If that's going to happen to me, it's going to happen!". No amount of advertisement or reading was going to stop me from smoking. By this time I was smoking 80 cigarettes a day and again, I was being partisan because these were cigarettes made in my own home city of Belfast—one of my reasons for standing here tonight.
I stopped smoking because of a rather fortuitous set of circumstances. I see my old friend the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, here. In 1976, I comprised the Labour Government majority at the other end of this building. There was a very contentious Bill going through, the Shipbuilding Industry Bill, which was eventually carried by one or two votes. On the particular night in question there was an all-night Sitting and, needless to say, I was a very popular Member among the Government supporters and much of that night was spent on the Terrace smoking my Gallaghers' Blues and drinking other things.
I awoke the next morning with such a hangover and such a taste in my mouth that I decided to give up cigarettes. It had absolutely nothing to do with people persuading or my reading advertising. I gave up cigarettes after 37 years and after a week or two I thought about starting them again but I did not. Then I began to count how many cigarettes I must have smoked throughout the 37 years. I told lies because as I say, for a number of years I had been smoking 40, 60 and 80 a day. I said to myself, "Tell a big lie to yourself. Say that I smoked only 20 cigarettes a day for 37 years". If you look at the arithmetic here, I smoked about 230,000 cigarettes. Just imagine the smoke that would emanate from such a pile of tobacco. But, thank God, it has not done me any great harm; and I would hope that it would do other people just as little harm.
The reason I take part in this debate tonight is that, first of all, I do not believe that the Bill can be made law. I do not believe it can be made effective. I do not think that my noble friend Lord Pitt is in any way trying to be piffling or persecuting. He has medical experience and I suppose that he is convinced that smoking can do tremendous harm. I do not believe that you can force people not to do something if they are intent on doing it. Most of all, the reason why I rise to take part in this debate tonight is that I represented a constituency in the Stormont House of Parliament. It contained within its boundaries Gallagher's tobacco factory and I know just how important it was for employment to be given to the people who worked in that factory. Later, when I represented West Belfast, there was, and still is, a tobacco factory in that constituency. I know how important it was that those two tobacco factories were there.
In Northern Ireland at the moment we have a 21 per cent. unemployment figure; we have a 121,000 people drawing social security benefit. I would not want to say 383 anything in this debate or to vote in this House tonight in any way which would mean one job less in either of those constituencies. I believe that the exports from the tobacco industry in Northern Ireland are somewhere in the region of 30 per cent. or 35 per cent., and that is keeping people in employment. I know the argument can be used in support of this Bill that I may be speaking on behalf of the interests of 4,000 or 5,000 people whereas lots of other people are getting cancer and they are costing the health service a similar amount.
I maintain that you could argue all night on this Bill. I am opposing it, though I do it somewhat reluctantly because I believe that the noble Lord who sponsored it is very sincere in his belief. However, I do not believe it is enforceable; I do not believe that you can stop people from doing something that they want to do. I believe it would set up a whole underground movement in the cigarette industry if we were to try to compel people to stop smoking in this way. But, most of all, I stand here tonight and hope that this Bill will not get a Second Reading because it would undoubtedly lead to an awful lot more people being thrown out of work in Northern Ireland.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ Lord Ennals
My Lords, first may I say that I am under a challenge from the noble Lord, Lord Harris of High Cross, that I must not make a long speech. What I will say is that I shall not make the longest speech of the evening. It is most interesting that the most powerful speeches in this debate have come from two medical practitioners, who know very much more about the subject than the rest of us here—certainly judging by some of the speeches that have been made. There has been a speech from one brave woman, who wishes that she could stop smoking and has desperately tried to do so. There has also been a speech by one noble Lord who is a youth leader and does not wish to see any young people caught up in smoking.
It is perfectly clear that this is not a party issue; but I have forgotten to do two things which I must do straight away. The first, as the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, did, is to declare my interest. I am the patron of the National Society of Non-Smokers, and so dedicated am I to that cause that I have missed the annual general meeting of that society which is taking place this evening. I can assure those of your Lordships who have been talking about the extremely expensive campaigns and the vast resources that are being used in this campaign that not a penny comes, I regret to say, from the Government in terms of the national society, though of course one must thank them for contributing significantly to the funds of ASH and the Health Education Council.
I want to say straight away that I do not speak for my party. I have two people on my Front Bench who are here purely for the purpose of ensuring that I do not make any suggestion that I am speaking for either of them. There are three Davids sitting here: one of them is in advertising and another is one of those long, solid men who smoke pipes. I do not think he is likely to suffer from it because he does not inhale the tobacco smoke, but he does not want me to make any suggestion that I am speaking for the party. My other 384 friend is involved in advertising, and naturally I understand his point of view. So I can say that I speak only for myself.
I want to support the Bill and to congratulate my noble friend Lord Pitt on the way that he has introduced it. I want to see a Second Reading for this Bill, because it is very clear that if we assume that doctors know something about this subject, and if we assume that the British Medical Association has no partisan interest or monetary gain in this but is concerned only with the health of the nation, we need a Second Reading in order to gain clarification of points to which noble Lords who have raised them have admitted that they did not know the answers. The noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, clearly needs to know the new evidence which is available concerning the effects of what has been called "secondary smoking".
It has been suggested that the passing of this Bill—and I cannot imagine that it will pass in its present state—is only going to lead on to more legislation from these vicious socialists who want to stop people doing everything, and that the next thing after stopping people smoking, is then to stop them drinking and then to stop them having sex, or whatever else you can think of. I am certain that that is not the intention of my noble friend Lord Pitt, and I think there should be a Second Reading in order to make all those points quite clear and to gain clarification on a number of other points.
Let me be serious just for a moment—and, as I say, I am not speaking on behalf of those in my party who enjoy smoking and think that smoking is a good thing. As regards advertising—and I can see the argument—it is said that because it is a warning it has more effect than if we were to stop advertising altogether. I have been looking at some of the things that British advertisers have been saying. David Abbott, who is a leading British advertiser, said:I think it is incontrovertible … that advertising things encourages people to use them".I cannot imagine that people are going to advertise just in order to say, "Please, if you are going to smoke, use mine". It is that they want to campaign against we campaigners and to ensure that there is an increase in smoking in this country. David Abbott went on to say:The advertising industry believes that in every other product. I don't see why the rules are different for cigarettes".Emerson Foote, who is a former chairman of one of the world's leading advertising agencies, said on the same issue:I am not even convinced that competition among brands is the most important purpose of such advertising. I suspect that creating a positive climate of social acceptability for smoking, which encourages new smokers to join the market, is of greater importance to industry".I absolutely agree with the point that was made—some of the most interesting speeches came in the gap—that the people who are most likely to be influenced are in fact young people. I note that the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, shakes his head, but that is certainly the view of the Royal College of Physicians, and it is their reports which have been more authoritative than any others. They said:Learning to smoke usually occurs in childhood or in adolescence".385 That is sometimes because the parents smoke, and if they are born in an atmosphere where everyone smokes they are much more likely to smoke. The Royal College went on:The matter is largely settled by the age of 20; if a person is still a non-smoker at this age he is unlikely to take it up".I think that a youngster with any intelligence is likely to say that if the Government think this is thoroughly dangerous, and if he knows that the Government are taking advertising space and spending money, quite rightly, to speak of the dangers of other addictive drugs, then clearly, because they permit advertising in this field, they must feel it this is okay.
The Royal College continued:In Britain in 1982, children aged between 11–16 spent £60 million on smoking. Many young smokers maintain the habit throughout their lives and so, from a marketing perspective, constitute the highest priority market segment".If there is going to be a whole generation of youngsters who will not start smoking, then I am afraid that it is too bad for the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry is concerned at the moment and is putting as much money as it can into advertising to capture the market of young people, who, once they have started smoking, are likely to get into the smoking habit. I cannot understand why the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, shakes his head. I shall not ask him to explain because he does not have the privilege of speaking after me that he originally hoped he would have.
There are so many questions that people would want to put to the BMA, who are running a campaign, and that they would want to put to the Royal College of Surgeons, but I cannot imagine anyone would say that they would stand up as authorities in the health field against those who are involved in the campaign for reasons of health. I can think of no reason to discourage people from smoking other than health. If it was purely that people enjoyed it, that they got fun out of it, that it was one of the pleasures of life but was not dangerous, there would be no campaign to discourage people from smoking. It is precisely only because it is known to be a great danger. This is not something that the noble Earl will stand up and disagree with. He knows, as any Minister and any spokesman for the DHSS knows, that it is tremendously costly for the National Health Service. That is why he DHSS itself is against smoking in this country and is pleased with the results and the success so far.
It is perfectly reasonable for the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, to say, "If Lord Ennals thinks this ought to be done, why did he not do it when he was in office?" I give the answer straight away. During the three years when I was Secretary of State for Social Services the voluntary agreement was negotiated and I was not going to go barging in and say: "Right—scrub it all!" I do not believe in acting in that way, particularly since—and this is an even more important point—at that stage the majority of the public were smokers. Now, thank heavens, as a result of campaigns that have gone on under successive Governments in the last 10 years, the majority of the public are non-smokers, and a very high proportion of those who are still smokers want to stop smoking.
It is most interesting that when there was a major programme on the dangers of smoking and an 386 indication that there was help available for people to stop smoking, that particular programme, which expected to get a response of 15,000 because the address was given actually had 650,000 people who wrote in and asked for some advice about how to stop smoking. I do not believe there is any single thing that would do more at the present stage to indicate the Government's attitude towards smoking than a decision to pass a Bill like this, saying, "This is now so serious that not only are we going, on the one hand, to advertise against addictive drugs, hut, as cigarettes are so clearly addictive, we believe that there should not be advertising in their favour." So I believe that the case has been made.
My only criticism, which does not perhaps fit very squarely with what some other noble Lords have said, is that the Bill does not go far enough. I think that it should have dealt specifically with sponsorship. I do not at all agree with those who intervened to say that if you see cricket, football and rugby sponsored by cigarette companies it does not give the impression that sport and smoking are compatible, when it is clear that the majority of those who play cricket, football and rugby and take part in athletics are not smokers. They have more sense than to be smokers.
The amount of coverage that is gained, not only by those people but by those who take part in snooker, darts, motor-cycling and car racing, is enormous, but actually it is less than 10 per cent. of the total sponsorship fund. So as regards sponsorship of sport or of the arts, about which my noble friend Lord Strabolgi is deeply concerned, this is a very small percentage of the total sponsorship, although it manages to get an enormous coverage on television.
In conclusion, while there are changes that I know many people want to make in the Bill, the issue is so important—and we have seen in this debate how important the issue is—the doubts are so vital and the need for knowledge is so important that I hope that noble Lords on the other side who do not agree with the principle will, nevertheless, say that if this is a Bill from the president-elect of the British Medical Association (and I congratulate my noble friend on the post that he is about to take over) and if this is what the BMA thinks, then this is an issue which we in this House ought to debate further. But we can debate it further only if we give a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ 9.32 p.m.
The Earl of Caithness
My Lords, I, too, must congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, on his very good introduction of this Bill. The Government are gravely concerned at the appalling toll of disease and early death caused by smoking. Your Lordships debated these matters on 12th June last year and noble Lords who spoke then were virtually unanimous in their condemnation of smoking for causing an enormous amount of unnecessary suffering and death from diseases such as lung cancer, coronary heart disease and chronic bronchitis.
That view is based on the most authoritative medical opinion. It is well known that the Royal College of Physicians, whose latest report was the subject of our earlier debate, attributes no fewer than 100,000 premature deaths in the United Kingdom each year to smoking. To my noble friend Lord Orr- 387 Ewing I would say that that is about the 15 to 20 per cent. to which the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, referred in his opening speech, and we accept that assessment.
The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, accused me of complacency in my Answer on 7th May. I have reread the report of that Answer and this Government certainly are not complacent about the problems caused by smoking. He was also cynical about our health education programme. I would tell him that among its other expenditure last year the Health Education Council gave a substantial amount to an anti-smoking programme and, in addition, we gave it an extra £½ million for a special campaign aimed at children and young people, while also encouraging the council to maintain its efforts at warning children of the dangers of smoking. The Health Education Council is carrying out works in a variety of ways, including in schools, the media and through special campaigns. There has, in addition, been a television campaign aimed at educating and informing families about the whole of the grave risks to health that could arise from smoking and other factors. We have also doubled the maximum penalties for illegal sales to children under 16.
To say that this Government are not concerned is quite wrong. To the noble Lords, Lord Pitt and Lord Ennals, and to the noble Viscount, Lord St. Davids, I would say that we do concern ourselves very greatly with the future of young people, and with great respect they do not have a monopoly of concern.
§ Lord Ennals
My Lords, perhaps I may say that I entirely agree. I did not suggest in any words that I used that the Government were any less concerned than I was about the gravity of the situation.
The Earl of Caithness
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord.
Differences of opinion arise only over the question of the most effective way of tackling the problem. We are, of course, well aware of the view of the British Medical Association and others in support of a statutory ban on the promotional activities of the tobacco industry. This Government, like their predecessors, are wholeheartedly in favour of regulating tobacco advertising in the interests of health. What they do not accept—as their predecessors also rejected—is the view that a statutory prohibition of all such activity is desirable or that it would be more effective in reducing smoking than the means currently employed. This conclusion is supported by such evidence as exists, though I must tell your Lordships that there are formidable problems in attempting to disentangle the effects of advertising from the many other factors that may influence smoking behaviour.
A key objective of the Government's policies on health promotion and disease prevention is to alert the public to the dangers of smoking and, by a wide range of means, to work towards reducing the prevalence of the smoking habit. We have been striving very hard in this direction, and not without success. The Government's strategic aims are, first and foremost, to try to discourage non-smokers, and especially young people, from taking up the habit; secondly, to try to 388 encourage smokers to give up smoking; and, thirdly, failing all else, to help smokers to smoke less harmfully.
This strategy requires action on a number of fronts—health education, which I have just mentioned, product modification, encouragement of greater provision for non-smokers, and also control of the advertising and promotion of cigarettes, which is the subject of the Bill before your Lordships' House today. In taking action in this last area we continue to believe that the most effective method of control is by way of voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry governing the advertising and promotion of cigarettes. Successive Governments have adhered to that view. So far as advertising on television and radio is concerned, cigarettes are already banned by law, but otherwise the tradition in this country is to proceed by voluntary agreement.
The terms of the current agreement regulate tobacco advertising in a number of ways. First, there is the Cigarette Code which forms part of the British Code of Advertising Practice and is interpreted and monitored by the Advertising Standards Authority. This code is largely concerned with the content of cigarette advertisements. Its essence is that advertisements should not seek to encourage people, particularly the young, to start smoking or, if they are already smokers, to increase their level of smoking or to smoke to excess. Detailed rules are laid down in furtherance of these basic principles.
To give just two examples, advertisements must not imply any link between smoking and success with the opposite sex, nor that smoking is associated with success in sport. I should like to pay tribute to the Advertising Standards Authority for the way in which they carry out their very responsible task. One has only to look at cigarette advertisements in countries where arrangements for their control do not exist to see how successful the code has been in controlling the content of advertisements.
There is also the Government's voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry which relates to the advertising and promotion of tobacco products generally, including the matter of health warnings. The present agreement was reached in 1982 and will last at least until March 1986. The scope of the voluntary restrictions has widened progressively since the first such agreement was concluded in 1971. As part of the current agreement the industry is in the process of reducing in real terms its advertising expenditure on posters to 50 per cent. of the level in the year ended March 1980 and its cinema advertising to 60 per cent. of the 1980 level. Both these reductions are to be achieved by 1986 and progress is being carefully monitored by my department. The agreement provides for strong and conspicuous Government health warnings on packs of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco, in all main media advertising and on all major items of advertising and promotional material used at point of sale. Advertising on videos or by other aerial means is prohibited.
The sponsorship of sport by tobacco companies is also subject to a voluntary agreement. That agreement restricts expenditure on sponsored sports in real terms to the 1976 level. It stipulates that the Government 389 health warning should appear on advertisements for sponsored events and on promotional signs at these events, and it places a number of other restrictions on the industry. That agreement lasts until the end of this year.
In drawing up the voluntary agreements the Government have been particularly concerned about the vulnerability of young people and the influence cigarette advertising may have on them. We have, therefore, ensured that promotional offers are not addressed to people under 18, that cigarette posters are not sited near school playgrounds, that cinema advertisements are shown only at films seen by people aged 18 and over, and that sports activities in which the majority of participants are under 18 are not sponsored by tobacco companies. The Cigarette and Advertising Code also includes important provisions designed to protect young people. Taken together, I believe that the present arrangements provide an effective measure of control over tobacco advertising; which is not to say that they cannot be improved, and the Government will be giving attention to that matter in due course.
There are those who believe that a product which has been shown to be seriously harmful to health should not be allowed to be promoted at all. To them I would point to the substantial progress we have been able to achieve in recent years without such a ban. The series of voluntary agreements has undoubtedly contributed towards reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking from 47 per cent. of adults in 1972 to 35 per cent. in 1982 and to the significant fall in cigarette consumption which has also taken place recently. I would just say to the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, that by the time he was Secretary of State the figure had fallen to under 50 per cent. of the population.
Thus, cigarette sales which stood at 137 billion in 1973 are reported as 98 billion in 1984. the United Kingdom's record in these respects stands comparison with those of countries such as Norway, which have legislation. Norway is not the shining example which the noble Lord, Lord Pitt, made it out to be. We may take, for instance, the incidence of smoking among females in Norway. In 1972–73 it was 32 per cent. In 1982 it was 34 per cent. The percentage actually increased despite the ban. Admittedly, the percentage had fallen in the case of men, but not at the rate it has decreased in this country. Our record, therefore, is much superior to that of Norway.
The voluntary system has brought other important benefits. Under separate agreements, for example, the tobacco industry has over the years achieved a reduction in the average tar yield of cigarettes from over 20 mg in 1972 to 15 mg in 1984. As part of the current agreement it has undertaken to achieve a further reduction in tar yields to 13 mg by the end of 1987. As part of this effort, which has almost certainly contributed to the recent reduction in lung cancer rates among men, the tobacco industry has agreed to devote a disproportionate amount of its advertising effort to promoting cigarettes in the two lower tar bands. If smokers are unable or unwilling to give up the habit, there are sound reasons for urging them to change to a lower tar brand. As the noble Lord, Lord Harris of 390 High Cross, said, this Bill would militate against spreading this particular form of guidance.
Other benefits of these agreements include the tobacco industry's funding of a programme of independent research into the effects of modified tobacco products and making available a sum of £11 million over four years for research into health promotion. The industry has also co-operated in efforts to discourage illegal sale of cigarettes by shopkeepers. These advantages have also to be considered in assessing the case for legislation.
This, then, is the background against which the House must debate this Bill, and which the Government have borne in mind in coming to their view. I would draw your Lordships' attention also to the fact that the measure before you draws no distinction between cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco on the one hand, and pipe tobacco and cigars on the other, about which medical opinion is clear that there is a much lower risk to health. This point was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, on 7th May.
Another factor of more than just a little significance is that this Bill would create something of a precedent in introducing wide-ranging statutory controls on the promotion of products which are themselves freely and legally available for sale. With all due respect to the noble Lord, Lord Ennals, it is important that we know the Labour Party's official position on this subject. The Government have made their position clear, though it is of course up to individuals to vote as they wish tonight. The Government have clearly come out in favour of the voluntary agreement. I should very much appreciate it if the noble Lord would give the Labour Party's policy. Does it not have one?
§ Lord Ennals
My Lords, the noble Earl paused expecting me to get up. I did not think that he wanted an interruption, but I rise to my feet to make it perfectly clear that there are differences of view in the party. I thought that I had made it clear right at the beginning that I was speaking for myself and that I was not attempting to speak for the official Opposition.
The Earl of Caithness
Indeed, my Lords, but all I was asking for was the official Opposition view, which we still do not have.
The noble Lord, Lord Pitt, mentioned smoking among women. The Government have given the Health Education Council an extra grant this year of£½ million specifically to fund a campaign aimed at women smokers.
The noble Lord also raised the question of passive smoking, as did my noble friend Lord Mottistone. While breathing in other people's smoke is undoubtedly unpleasant and annoying at times to many non-smokers like myself, the extent to which it can damage otherwise healthy adults is as yet unclear.
My noble friend Lord Kaberry took a remark out of a publication in 1977 which was one of my department's documents of that year—Prevention and Health: Everybody's Business. The noble Lord, Lord Ennals, knows it well. The point that my noble friend made was that there was little direct evidence linking 391 advertising to an increase in smoking, and that remains the case. That is why I find it difficult to accept some of the arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Rea. The noble Lord chided us for not producing figures on carbon monoxide yields. I have to tell him that they are published twice yearly and they are available to him at any time, as they are to other members of the public.
Noble Lords will wish to consider carefully not only the facts about smoking and health, about which there is little dispute, but also the considerable progress that we in this country have achieved by way of our system of voluntary agreements. As I have indicated, the Government will be reviewing the current agreements before too long and will be discussing with the tobacco industry what should succeed them. Without prejudicing those discussions, I should make it quite clear that we wish to continue to control such matters as advertising, promotion, the Government health warning and the sponsorship of sporting events. As long as progress by agreement is possible and the tobacco companies continue to adhere to the rules laid down, the Government believe that there is no case for introducing legislation of the kind that is before your Lordships' House tonight.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, how should I say it? I am bloody but unbowed. I must begin by apologising to the noble Earl, Lord Caithness. When I read his reply to the Question of the noble Baroness I gained the impression that the Government were being complacent, but there is no evidence of complacency tonight and so I certainly withdraw that accusation.
Incidentally, when I talked of cynicism I was not meaning cynicism by the Government or even by the Health Education Council, nor was I being cynical about it. I was saying that the fact of cigarette or tobacco advertising generally creates cynicism in people's minds. The view is held that, although the Government say that cigarettes are damaging to one's health, the fact that they permit advertising in the way that they do suggests that they are not serious about it. That was the point I was making when I talked about cynicism.
I paid tribute to the work of the Health Education Council, and I repeat that. It is doing a great deal of work in this field. However, the truth of the matter is that if we are concerned about stopping young people from starting to smoke—and I am most concerned about it—all the evidence suggests that what influences children to smoke or not to smoke is the status of smoking. They start smoking, just as most of the noble Lords who now smoke did, and as I did, because they think it is the manly thing to do. Until the atmosphere is altered there will not be the change that I certainly want to see. My concern about advertising is the fact that it perpetuates the present atmosphere. Even though a majority of people at the moment do not smoke, the atmosphere of acceptability and desirability of smoking continues and will continue as long as tobacco advertising is allowed.
392 It is not right to say, as the Minister says, that the product is legal and therefore can be advertised. It is legal only if it is sold to people over 16. There is no way of preventing people under 16 from seeing the advertisements. Therefore, the suggestion that because it is legal one should not restrict the advertising is quite wrong. The product is not entirely legal. It is legal only if sold to people over 16, and there is no way people under 16 can be prevented from seeing the advertisements.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, did not allow me to intervene in his speech, because he has obviously misunderstood my statement about low tar. I in fact said that there is plenty of evidence that low tar reduces the incidence of cancer of the lung but there is no evidence that low tar reduces the incidence of coronary disease or any other arterial vascular catastrophe. That is the difference. Therefore, I was not suggesting that we should not have the campaign for low tar. Yes; it is the right campaign to reduce the incidence of cancer of the lung in people who want to smoke. Although the evidence is not yet forthcoming about bronchitis and the other respiratory diseases, it may well emerge that that is so too. Therefore, the low tar campaign is right in that respect. However, none of the research into its effects on cardio-vascular diseases suggests that the low tar makes any difference. That was the point I was making. It is not enough merely to say that we will go for low tar. We have to do more than that.
I find quite surprising the suggestion that if there is no longer tobacco advertising, people will not know the level of tar in various brands. When all is said and done there will be nothing to prevent shopkeepers from making these presentations, having a table in the shop indicating the level of tar in all the brands of cigarettes they sell. If that is not done, there will be nothing to prevent regulations being brought in to make the shops do it. Thus, it is not true that merely banning advertising will prevent the level of tar being advertised; of course it will not.
Again, it is not true that banning advertising will prevent the health warnings from being given, because the health warning will be on the packets anyway. People who buy the cigarettes will receive the health warning. It is not true that by banning advertising, one will prevent that being done; no, those things can still be done.
§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
My Lords, the noble Lord wants to ban advertising. He is now recommending advertising in shops.
§ Lord Pitt of Hampstead
My Lords, if a person is selling tobacco in a shop, he has to tell the people what he is selling. I do not see the point of the noble Lord's remark. If one sells anything in a shop, one has to tell the people what one is selling. Therefore, the noble Lord's remark is nonsense. If one sells anything in a shop, one has to tell the people what one is selling, Therefore, that remark is quite ridiculous. But it has thrown me off my stride and made me forget the next point that I was going to make.
393 I think, however, that I have put my arguments. I wish to come back to the real question regarding the atmosphere. It is that more than anything that concerns me—the need to create the atmosphere in which non-smoking is regarded as the acceptable and preferable thing and smoking as not the desirable, respectable or preferable thing. It is on that aspect that the Minister and I differ. The noble Earl accepts that because progress is being made through the voluntary agreement we do not need to do more. I am saying, because I feel strongly about this, that voluntary agreements will never really change the atmosphere. If you ban tobacco advertising, you will change the atmosphere. I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the Bill shall be now read a second time?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 11; Not-Contents, 26.
|DIVISION NO. 1|
|Airedale, L.||Pitt of Hampstead, L. [Teller.]|
|Davies of Leek, L.|
|Ennals, L.||Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.|
|Kilbracken, L.||Rea, L.|
|Mar, C.||St. Davids, V.|
|Molloy, L.||Tonypandy, V. [Teller.]|
|Attlee, E.||Kaberry of Adel, L.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Long, V.|
|Caithness, E.||Lucas of Chilworth, L.|
|Colwyn, L.||Monson, L.|
|Craigavon, V.||Mottistone, L.|
|Cullen of Ashbourne, L.||Newall, L.|
|Faithfull, B.||Orr-Ewing, L. [Teller.]|
|Fitt, L.||Rankeillour, L.|
|Glenarthur, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Hanworth, V. [Teller.]||Shannon, E.|
|Harris of High Cross, L.||Stoddart of Swindon, L.|
|Hylton-Foster, B.||Strabolgi, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Motion for Second Reading disagreed to accordingly.
§ House adjourned at four minutes past ten o'clock.