Dáil Éireann - Volume 259 - 22 February, 1972
Private Members' Business. - Tobacco (Control of Sale and Advertisement) Bill, 1971: Second Stage (Resumed).
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Dr. O'Donovan Dr. O'Donovan
 Dr. O'Donovan: As I said the last day, I support this Bill but I am inclined to agree with Deputy Dr. Gibbons that the amount of good it would do if it had been acceptable to the Minister, is extremely limited. I do not believe in this business of putting a notice on packages, or that kind of thing. The fact of the matter is that the real way to deal with this problem, if anybody did really want to deal with it, would be to prohibit all advertising of cigarettes. There is no reason why it should apply to other forms of tobacco, I understand. Anything else is just waste of time.
Section 2 subparagraph (b) says:
requiring that, all advertisements whatsoever by tobacco manufacturers ... shall contain the information prescribed by the Minister from time to time.
The Government have, in fact, taken out of the television service all advertising of cigarettes but I am told—I do not listen that much to it—that the amount of time given to advertising cigarettes on the radio has greatly increased. There is only one method of dealing with the matter and that is to prohibit all advertising of cigarettes. Anything else is just tinkering with the problem.
It is extremely desirable that this subject should be raised again and again in the House so that young people in particular will not start smoking. One thing I notice is that the medical profession, about whom I talked the last day, have not much regard for medicines, strangely enough, but when the relevant figures first came out in the United States of the effect of cigarette smoking, all the doctors that I knew gave up smoking. It was a wonderful transformation in the profession that they were paying some attention to a medical matter. This, naturally, conveys a certain conviction to my mind, that they were convinced that smoking cigarettes was extremely deleterious to health because, on the whole, it is well known that the medical profession have very little regard for their own health and, that being the case, they very seldom have any regard  for medicines and do not bother to stay in bed when they get a serious attack of influenza, and so on. The result is that their mortality rate is very high. This proof that they regarded cigarette smoking as beyond question a serious health hazard, convinced me that it was essential to prohibit advertising of cigarettes. I see no reason why the advertising of cigarettes should not be completely prohibited. I do not see much good in putting the word “poison” on a box of cigarettes. The ordinary person who is a confirmed cigarette smoker will continue to smoke and will show the box to his friend and say: “Look. I smoke poison” and will not have the slightest regard for it.
As some of the medical Deputies have mentioned, moderate consumption of cigarettes does not have any very serious deleterious effects but until society here sets its face completely against cigarette smoking it will not be eliminated and, above all else, unless the Government set their face against it, but they will not set their face against it because the Government get such a huge amount of revenue—£40 million to £50 million—every year from the duty on tobacco. The Government, therefore, will not accept any prohibition in effect on the use of cigarettes because the great bulk of the revenue from tobacco comes, in fact, from cigarettes. This being the case, the Government will not accept this Bill or any other Bill to control the sale of tobacco.
This suggests, of course, that the Government have not any very serious concern about the health of the community in general. They can answer: “It is not our concern. We take the money and let other people pay the price.” That is the attitude. This is extremely bad.
While I support the Bill, I do not think it goes nearly far enough, even if we accepted that it would have very much effect on anyone or on anything, if we are to continue to have advertising of cigarettes.
I do appreciate that the position has changed since advertising of cigarettes ceased on television. Therefore, I would  hope that the Government would carry it one stage further and at lease cease cigarette advertising on the official radio station. This is the least we could ask for. If they are not prepared to interfere with newspaper advertising and hoarding advertising and all that kind of thing, there is one thing certain and that is, that they should cease cigarette advertising on the radio. They do not have to prohibit it. All they have to do is to tell the radio station that there is to be no more advertising of cigarettes on the radio station and there will not be any more. It does not require a Bill. The advertising was got rid of on the television service without any Bill.
Mr. R. Barry Mr. R. Barry
Mr. R. Barry: I support the Bill introduced by Deputy Dr. Browne and supported by Deputies O'Connell, Cooney and Harte. Deputy Browne had better luck with this Bill in that at least he got a discussion on it than he had with a Private Members' Bill that he introduced on a former occasion and he had better luck with this Bill than Deputy Byrne and myself had with a Bill dealing with drugs that we introduced a few weeks ago and which was refused a discussion.
Cigarette smoking and drug addiction are very serious problems with which the Dáil must contend. It is the published view of medical experts in this country and in other countries that lung cancer is associated with cigarette smoking. That being the case, Deputies have a serious responsibility to discuss the problem and to consider means of removing this health hazard.
In my view the Minister, in rejecting the Bill, did not give it sufficient consideration. He accepts, as we all do, medical and scientific opinion as to the danger to health of cigarette smoking. A duty devolves on all of us here to discuss the matter openly and freely with a view to having legislation introduced, if necessary, designed to remove this health hazard.
When Deputy Dr. Browne introduced a few years ago a measure similar to the one now under discussion there were doubts with regard to the danger of cigarette smoking but those  doubts have since been dispelled. If it is considered medical opinion that cigarette smoking represents a health hazard, we should set about doing something about it immediately. It is ironical that we should provide nearly £90 million for the Health Estimate every year and that having spent that vast sum of money trying to help people with their health problems we should be allowing people to smoke cigarettes and then spend so much money on them to undo the damage caused by cigarette smoking.
We have a duty to point out the dangers attached to cigarette smoking. Where the Minister and this side of the House disagree is in our approach to the problem. I do not accept, like Deputy O'Donovan, that putting a notice on a packet of cigarettes will not affect people. If we tell people by way of notice on a cigarette packet that the contents contain poison, at some time when a person is taking the cigarettes out of his pocket or opening the packet he is bound to notice the warning and possibly to act on it.
Minister for Health (Mr. Childers) Erskine Hamilton Childers
Minister for Health (Mr. Childers): The Deputy realises, of course, that this is to begin in May.
Mr. R. Barry Mr. R. Barry
Mr. R. Barry: I know but will that word be used? The Minister said that the caption on the cigarette packet would be: “Government warning: smoking can damage your health”. Is that what will appear on cigarette packets?
Mr. Childers Mr. Childers
Mr. Childers: Yes.
Mr. R. Barry Mr. R. Barry
Mr. R. Barry: I submit that is very lukewarm and will not bring home to habitual smokers the dangers attached to smoking. I suggest the word “poison” should appear and I further suggest that it should appear in red. That would possibly bring home to smokers the dangers involved. In regard to advertising, as Deputy O'Donovan has said, television advertising has ceased. I suggest it should be stopped also on radio and in the newspapers. I think most of us are serious about this problem. Therefore we must be prepared to take unpopular action to save people from themselves.  We should concentrate particularly on the school authorities, especially in the primary and secondary schools. Young people must be warned of the dangers of smoking. Most of us smoked when we went to school, mainly out of bravado. I remember the first packet of cigarettes I got was a packet of five Woodbines for 2½d. Like Deputy Noel Browne, although I was a heavy smoker I gave it up eight years ago on Ash Wednesday.
I do not agree with the Minister that little can be achieved by appealing to adults to give up smoking. If adults were warned sufficiently of the grave dangers attached to cigarette smoking they would give up the practice and this, by example, would benefit the young people. It is true to say that a person who smokes an average of 10 to 15 cigarettes a day will do little damage to his health. Medical people have told us that the danger is in excessive smoking, smoking more than 25 cigarettes a day. I know people who can smoke 40 cigarettes a day with ease.
The Minister should make a better effort to get across to teachers how useful they can be in helping young people to stop smoking. Teachers could speak to their pupils on the dangers of smoking, telling them plainly that cigarettes contain nicotine and tar. If the truth were brought home plainly to the children they would be less likely to begin to smoke.
I read in the newspapers that during his Ard Fheis speech the Minister referred to the starting of a health centre. As far as I can recall he used the phrase “when circumstances permit”. I hope sincerely that circumstances will permit the founding of such a centre not next year or the year after but this year. Apart from the need to bring home to people the dangers of cigarette smoking, such a centre could be used for education in regard to general health. There is the problem of alcoholism and it has been said that it has become an Irish problem mainly because of the habit of people here standing rounds. All of us know that is why many of us are inclined  to take a little too much. I know that when I smoked cigarettes and when I was in company somebody was always producing cigarettes and even when I did not want to do so I practically chain-smoked. I think if the practice of offering cigarettes in company was discontinued people would smoke fewer cigarettes.
As I said earlier, the Government have a grave responsibility in this matter of informing the public. They should let the public know clearly and unambiguously the findings of distinguished medical men here and abroad. They must make a more serious effort to stop cigarette advertising on radio, and the newspapers and in cinemas. I agree with Deputy Esmonde that there should be control of smoking in places like cinemas and publichouses. In most publichouses you could cut the air it is so heavy from smoke.
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central) Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central)
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central): I will be brief. We are all aware of the serious problem of cigarette smoking. It is unfair to say the Government are not concerned about it. It all depends on the aproach one takes. I appreciate Deputy Noel Browne's suggestion and the figures he gave. As a person who smoked in the past and who gave up cigarettes two years ago and as a person who deals in cigarettes, I appreciate both sides and have no hesitation in putting forward my opinion on cigarette smoking, particularly by the young.
Various suggestions have been made on how to deal with the situation. I am not sure that legislation is the best way. My view is that example is the important thing, the example especially of the parents where young children are concerned. It is unlikely that children who see their parents smoking will not do the same. We should advise parents and adults generally that cigarettes are bad for their own health and also that they are showing bad example and that their children will probably take up smoking later. We should ask parents to make the sacrifice for the sake of their children. The schools and the teachers, with the Department of Education and the Department  of Health, can play an important role. If children of ten years and upwards are given proper instruction and shown the dangers of smoking and if we can do this by means of slides or films in the schools we would be contributing to an enormous degree to the discouragement of children from smoking. If we have the co-operation of the parents on the one hand and the teachers on the other we have a great chance of discouraging future generations from smoking. It must be tackled from both sides. The schools cannot do this job on their own if, when the children come home, they see their parents smoking.
It is very difficult for a seasoned smoker to give up cigarettes. I have succeeded to a big degree although I still smoke an odd cheroot. When you have been smoking for 15 to 20 years it is a big challenge but it should not be too difficult for parents because they know that by giving up cigarettes they are doing something for their children. We must get this across to parents. Television must be used to bring this into the homes.
We know that advertising on Telefis Éireann has been discontinued but there are programmes, especially the Late Late Show, on which members of the panel smoke. I have also seen people in documentary films smoking. People should be asked to refrain from smoking while they are on these panels. There is a programme on Sunday evenings in which one of the participants smokes continuously. I am not asking that man to give up cigarettes, maybe he is not able to, but perhaps he should refrain from smoking while taking part in the programme.
Perhaps the Department of Health could circulate some advertisements to various places in which smoking takes place, such as lounges, hotels, restaurants. I believe the owners would display these advertisements because they are concerned about the people's health. It is unfair of Deputy O'Donovan to say that the State and the Government are not concerned, that they are more concerned about the revenue. Even though a considerable amount of revenue accrues from cigarette smoking, the State, I am convinced,  would put the health of the individual first. Revenue can be collected by other means. If people stopped smoking there are other ways of spending their money. We should play our part in discouraging smoking even though there will be a loss in revenue.
Dr. O'Donovan Dr. O'Donovan
Dr. O'Donovan: £50 million. That is the degree of the State's concern.
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central) Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central)
Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin Central): It will be a loss to shopkeepers but this has to be faced. I do not agree with Deputy O'Donovan. The State is quite aware of the loss of revenue that would accrue, but that can be overcome. The health of the nation comes first.
Deputy R. Barry advised owners of restaurants, hotels and places like that to prohibit smoking. I do not think this would be possible, but they should have a system such as CIE have on trains. Perhaps hotels and cinemas could have sections set aside for non-smokers. This could apply in lounge bars, too. You could have smokeless zones. Since I gave up cigarettes I would not go into a railway carriage where smoking is allowed.
The lack of proper recreational facilities is a big drawback and it is the reason why many children start to smoke. If there were places where children could play football and where there would be other healthy activities it would be a big contribution towards preventing them from smoking. We must make every effort to provide more recreational facilities. It is pathetic to see children of 12 or 14 years sitting around the hall doors of flats in this city, smoking, with no proper place to play. I have often approached such children and discouraged them.
I appreciate Deputy Dr. Browne's desire but I do not think the Bill would cure this ill. It must be done on a much broader scale. This has been a useful debate. It has done no harm and it could do a lot of good. We can all strive to discourage our own children from smoking. If a mother and father are heavy smokers it is doubtful whether any advertising or any education in the school will succeed.  The example of the parents is essential.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I want to give my unqualified support to Deputy Dr. Browne and his associates on this Bill. One must recognise the consistency of Deputy Dr. Browne in his efforts to eliminate smoking and the effects of it. Deputy O'Donovan complained on the last occasion that it was only doctors who spoke and he may have been correct in his criticism.
Dr. O'Donovan Dr. O'Donovan
Dr. O'Donovan: There has been a change for the better.
Mr. Corish Mr. Corish
Mr. Corish: I claim I am a little more experienced than most people who have spoken here because I think everybody who contributed prefaced his remarks by saying he was a non-smoker and had never smoked or had given up smoking for the past eight, nine or ten years while I am a smoker, not an extremely heavy one, but I smoke quite a number of cigarettes on occasion. I am qualified also in that I think I have all the fringe ailments so vividly described by Deputy Dr. Browne. He painted quite a grim picture. I do not think he wished to, or did exaggerate the effects of smoking. Neither did his colleague Deputy O'Connell. I came in deliberately to listen to him and to have spelled out for me, so that I can spell it out to other people, what the effects of smoking are.
I cannot understand why the Minister will not accept the Bill. I do not think anybody would say he is unconcerned or that Deputy Fitzpatrick is unconcerned but this is a typical approach by the Government on any Bill or motion introduced by Private Members. No matter what the merits of the suggestion it seems to be the constant practice through the years, perhaps, not only by this but by other Governments also, not to respect Private Members' Time but to reject more or less out of hand as we saw on many occasions and even in this case, proposals made by Opposition parties. If Parliament is to have any meaning it must respect Private  Members' Time and accept Bills and motions as being put down in good faith. The Minister has gone some distance to meet requests and demands by Deputy Dr. Browne over a long period. I cannot imagine why he does not go the whole way. I do not see why he could not accept subsection (b) of section 2 because it is here we have the big splash for cigarettes, the point where the dangers of cigarette smoking can best be stressed. I do not think any of us or many of us look at the packet except to see the name of the cigarettes and ensure there are cigarettes in it.
I ask the Minister to consider seriously including in the action he has taken the proposals described in this Tobacco Control Bill. This would show much more goodwill on the part of the Government than has been the case up to this.
The dangers of cigarette smoking are not sufficiently stressed. I suppose I am of the same age group as my colleague whom I heard talk about a packet of woodbines for 2d. It was at that stage I began smoking. I got five smokes out of each woodbine by stubbing it out four times. Nobody then told us about the dangers of smoking. The only warning I remember getting at that time was that it would stunt one's growth, that you would not grow any higher. There was no reference to TB or cancer of the lung or the effects it would have on the stomach or the blood stream or on one's thinking. I think we have been remiss in not listening to those who have advocated the measures now being advocated in the Bill. The danger of lung cancer is now being stressed. It has been stated from time to time that there is an increase in this disease. I wonder if 20 or 30 years ago people, in fact, died from lung cancer which was diagnosed as tuberculosis.
Three or four doctors participated in this debate none more qualified I suppose than Deputy Dr. Browne. While there is merit in what is proposed in the Bill and in what the Minister has done these exortations while they may minimise smoking and the number of smokers do not and are not intended to provide a cure or give any aid or assistance to those who  wish to give up smoking. Smokers certainly could describe themselves as drug addicts. There are others who are drink addicts and they are given special attention. I have been talking to my colleagues about cures and it is very depressing to hear that the only cure in regard to smoking is in one's own willpower. Has sufficient research been done to discover an aid for heavy smokers and for those who like myself suffer from the fringe ailments I hope I do not suffer from the serious ailments that Deputy Dr. Browne has described.
Deputy O'Donovan is rightly concerned about the Government's interest in taxation. Those who work in tobacco industries, particularly in the manufacture of cigarettes, are concerned about employment. Let us not delude ourselves: if Deputy Dr. Browne's Bill were accepted and if we did everything that has been suggested in the House it would not mean that smoking would cease just like that. There would be a gradual decrease in smoking and in the number who smoked. But there would be no revolution in the sense that the £50 million or whatever is raised in taxation would be cut off right away and would not be available to the Exchequer in a year or even in two years. Similarly, in regard to employment there would be no revolutionary change as a result of the proposals in the Bill. Naturally, there would be a decrease in employment but it would be gradual in what could be described as a phasing out period.
Many good suggestions have been made which could well be adopted by the Minister for Health and promoted by the Minister for Education in the schools in regard to an anti-smoking campaign. Much more could be done in the schools. I doubt if very much is being done at present. I would see great merit in having warnings in the newspapers about the dangers of smoking.
I agree with my colleague, Deputy Richard Barry, about standing rounds, not alone in respect of drink but also in respect of cigarettes. this is one thing I have managed to avoid in the last ten years. I got off to a fairly good start because I decided to smoke a  brand of cigarettes which my colleagues refuse to smoke and so I could not offer them around. In that way I have been able to regulate my own smoking. If we could get into the habit of not standing rounds, either in relation to alcohol or in relation to cigarettes, our health would probably improve. There is a sort of fear on the part of people here, as distinct from people in other countries that one will be considered mean if one does not stand a round. One may smoke one cigarette in half an hour but, if one is in the company of others, then inevitably after 20 minutes or so someone else passes round cigarettes. If that kind of thing could be avoided it would cut down the consumption of cigarettes.
I commend the Bill to the House and, even at this late stage, I would ask the Minister to accept the Bill. It would be a gesture showing that the Government recognise that this is not a purely political matter. It would also be a gesture recognising the right of private Members of this House putting forward legislation. Worthwhile suggestions should not be rejected out of hand simply because they emanate from the Opposition.
An Ceann Comhairle Cormac Breslin
An Ceann Comhairle: Since no other speaker offers, I will call on Deputy Browne to conclude.
Dr. Browne Dr. Browne
Dr. Browne: I should like to express my thanks to the Deputies who contributed to the debate for their detached and objective approach to this Bill. I hoped that the Bill would be supported by members of all three parties and, if that were the pattern, then we could have in this House a really serious deliberative assembly in which people could say what they thought on essential non-controversial issues. In the Labour Party we differ as to the merits of the Bill. Some are for it and some are opposed to it. I should like to thank Deputy Cooney and Deputy Harte for their support of the Bill, and I hope that this will encourage Deputies in future to cross the party boundaries on issues of this kind.
I should like also to thank the officials in the Department of Health who  supplied me with an enormous amount of very helpful material. That is the way it should be. There should be some assistance to private Deputies in a matter of this kind to enable them to put forward the most convincing case possible.
I was very disappointed in the Minister's attitude to the Bill. As Deputy O'Donovan said, it is really a very innocuous Bill. It proposes to do very little. The proposals are minor. Ideally they should go very much further but the Minister is not even prepared to support the proposals even as far as they go. I am quite astonished at his attitude. He admitted himself that the notice on the cartons is of minor importance. In the past he described it as a futile gesture and I am driven to the reluctant conclusion that Deputy Fitzpatrick is not right in his assumption that the Minister is behind this drive to do something about this serious issue, for one reason or another, but mainly because, I believe, of financial considerations. I am driven to that conclusion because I do not think the Minister is a stupid man. He must know the case made since 1938. I was wrong last week when I said 1954; that was the first time I personally became involved. In fact, the first work was done on this subject in 1938 and that showed that there is a direct relationship between cigarette smoking and early and preventible death. The work started in 1938 has continued and has been supported and the findings ratified by subsequent research all over the world.
We have advanced, I suppose, in that the Minister says he proposes to reject the Bill. His predecessor, Deputy MacEntee, was more extreme; he said, as far as I remember, that he did not wish to use Deputy Browne's terrorist mechanism. The Bill was precisely the same as the Bill before the House and, since the Minister merely proposes to reject it, I suppose we have advanced slightly.
I do not think the Minister is a stupid man and I can only conclude that there is a motive behind his refusal to tackle this problem seriously. It is  a very serious problem. We are lagging behind, as we do in so many cases, all the other civilised countries in regard to this particular problem. The United States started as far back as 1964. Canada, New Zealand, Britain and other countries have started to do something about it. This is our first serious attempt to deal with the matter.
As Deputy O'Donovan said, it is absurd to prevent television advertising while permitting the continued use of radio, magazines and, presumably, newspapers for this purpose. From international literature, in particular from the literature issued by the College of Physicians in England, by the general support for the anti-smoking campaign in America and by the work of the World Health Organisation, I think I have shown conclusively that cigarette smoking is a lethal habit. It kills in one of three ways, each of which is dreadful and painful. It can result in lung cancer, coronary heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema. I cannot understand the attitude of mind of a Minister for Health who, as the present Minister has done, dismisses this continuing increase in the incidence of these diseases in Ireland. Between the years 1950 and 1968 there was an increase in the incidence of lung cancer from 300 to 970, an increase from 400 to 1,450 in respect of chronic bronchitis and an increase from 1,700 to 5,900 in the incidence of coronary heart disease. In spite of the increases in these avoidable diseases in so far as cigarette smoking is concerned the Minister can dismiss the matter by saying, as is reported at column 1904 of the Official Report for the 16th February, 1972:
We have to look at tobacco, dangerous as it may be, dangerous as the Report of the Royal College of Physicians has said it is, as a drug which is liable to reduce the life of those who indulge in it quite definitely, but at least it has no hallucinogenic effects of note and does not cause abject misery to the family of the person who is a consistent smoker. One has to look at it in a balanced way particularly in regard to adults who smoke cigarettes.
 Is it the position that the Minister is incapable of using his imagination? Has he ever seen anyone crippled from any of these diseases. Surely he must have had experience of people suffering from serious heart disease, bronchitis, emphysema or lung cancer. How can he say that these diseases do not cause abject misery to the families of the victims? The last lung cancer victim whom I watched die was a Deputy of this House. During the months before his death he realised that he would not be cured. His wife and family were aware, too, that he would die within a short time. They were a family who cared deeply for one another. For all those months could the Minister say that the condition of that patient did not cause abject misery to his family? This man who had been about 15 stone in weight was reduced to about six stones towards the end and when I went to visit him during the last few weeks of his life, I found that his wife had sat in St. Luke's Hospital during those weeks and waited out those days and hours until he died. That is merely the case of one heavy smoker whom I knew. This misery goes on all the time. It is the Minister's job to do something about it. Having listened to him, one of the most shameful findings is his callous indifference to his responsibilities. He has wonderful power at his disposal but yet he does nothing about this problem.
The Minister should be ashamed of himself. I can only assume that he is too stupid—I choose the word carefully but I have no wish to be offensive —to understand the implications of these reports which all of us agree can be believed now without any question of doubt: or else, he is too insensitive to understand the full implications, but I find that hard to believe. Frequently the Minister anathemises drug pushers here but in this case it appears that he is on the side of the pushers in that he does not wish the tobacco manufacturers to suffer and considers that the Government cannot afford to suffer the loss of revenue that would be associated with the discontinuance of cigarette smoking.
 There must be a serious programme of dealing with this problem. Unfortunately, Deputy O'Donovan's point about revenue is correct if I put forward a statement by a Conservative Minister for Health in 1966. He said:
Smokers, mainly cigarette smokers, contribute £1,000 million yearly to the Exchequer. Nobody knows better than the Government that they simply cannot afford to lose so much.
It is not exclusive to the Conservative Party because in 1969 a Labour Minister for Health said much the same thing. He said:
The introduction of a meaningful differential tax on cigarettes would be bound to have a seriously detrimental effect on total revenue from tobacco. The capacity of tobacco duty to produce revenue would be ended.
Perhaps one cannot help referring to them as two likeable rogues because at least they had the audacity and moral courage to admit they were prepared to carry a number of these preventable deaths on their consciences. They were prepared to square this kind of behaviour with their bizarre moral attitudes. When it came to attempting to help people who suffer from the disability of finding it difficult to give up cigarette smoking they put the revenue first and the lives, welfare and the health, and what the Minister called the abject misery of the families, came a bad second. That is the motivating factor and it applies not only to those two Ministers but to our present Minister for Health.
The Minister makes no attempt to get away from the fact that he accepts these terrible findings. In his article in an advertisement in Woman's Choice of 9th March, 1971, he said :
The association between smoking and lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, coronary artery diseases and peptic ulcers is indisputable.
In his speech the Minister made some peculiar references, which I did not understand, to the greater seriousness  of what he calls the drug problem—I presume he means the drug addiction problem—and his preoccupation with whether a drug is hallucinogenic. I do not think it matters very much whether it is or is not hallucinogenic. Even though he attempts to separate what he calls the drug habit and cigarette smoking, in his Departmental leaflet he states:
Smoking, like any other drug habit, becomes very hard to give up. It creates the craving which only 40 cigarettes a day will satisfy.
This is what the Minister believes will happen to the person who smokes. Smoking is like any other drug habit but about the other drug habits, LSD, amphetamines, heroin, pot, hash and the others the Minister comes here with the most punitive type of legislation. Not only will he not allow people to use these drugs—there is no question of their exercising their independent rights as individuals to decide whether they will kill or poison themselves by using these drugs—the Minister lays down regulations that they will not be permitted to use them. In relation to the hard drugs I share his views but not in relation to the others.
The Minister is adamant that if people insist on using the hard dangerous drugs more than likely they will end up in jail, and this applies particularly to the pushers. The Minister is quite authoritarian in these circumstances; he is very conscious of his responsibilities as Minister for Health in protecting people from the emotional needs which lead them to take drugs, whether heroin, opium or other drugs. With regard to a relatively small problem in our society the Minister is prepared to take drastic action but with an enormous national problem involving great unhappiness, sickness and death, effectively he has refused to act.
The Minister says that tobacco is a drug which reduces the span of life of those who indulge in it. That is true about nearly all the diseases that from time to time have been dealt with by successive Ministers for Health. That is their job. If there is a condition in society which is preventable or which,  if not prevented or avoided, reduces the span of life of people, attempts are taken to deal with it. Why does the Minister make an exception in this instance? What is his justification? Is he content to see people killing themselves by permitting them to go on with this habit? Is this not the same as suicide? What is the morality of all of this?
The Minister is fortunate that there is a difference between organic dependence on addiction to a drug like heroin or morphia, on which the body eventually becomes dependent so that it is impossible to give the drug up, and cigarette smoking. It is possible to give up cigarettes and people can be helped in this way. However, the Minister is refusing to give them this help and this I consider totally disgraceful on his part.
At column 1904, Volume 258, of the Official Report dated 16th February, 1972, the Minister states:
Perhaps I next should say a little more about the difficulties to be faced in trying to persuade adults to give up cigarettes.
The Minister refers to the Report of the Royal College of Physicians. It is not impossible to give up cigarettes; it is not impossible to persuade adults to do this. There are a number of adults in this House who have said they have already done that, and I suppose the classic example of the fallacy of the Minister's statement that it is impossible to stop adults smoking is seen in relation to the medical profession. Among the medical profession there has been a dramatic drop in smoking since 1951 on. There are more non-smokers among doctors than among the general public and only half as many cigarette smokers. Thirty doctors smoke cigarettes as against 61 others. Between 1951 and 1965 50 per cent of British doctors who used to smoke stopped smoking when the evidence of risk of cigarette smoking was first recognised by most doctors. These results were the same throughout Canada, New Zealand and the United States.
Another interesting fact is that not only doctors were able to give up  smoking, contrary to the Minister's belief on the subject—because doctors are no different from anybody else; they have just the same weaknesses and disabilities, likes and dislikes, as any other member of society—but also the non-medical staff at Edinburgh University, professional, clerical, skilled working class, who simply were more aware of the risks. That is a very important point. Deputy O'Donovan made the case, and to some extent differed with Deputy Barry, as to why some people can stop smoking and other people cannot stop smoking. The general finding is that it is a matter of the level of education of individuals. Doctors obviously, for various reasons, must have access to literature on the subject and they also watch people dying from this disease, which is educative in a very positive way. Other people working in this milieu in which this kind of information is available were also impressed by the statistics and the facts available and were able to control their cigarette smoking.
Therefore, the Minister is quite wrong if he genuinely believes—and I am afraid he does not genuinely believe —that it is impossible to control this problem or to improve the situation in regard to it significantly. I do not believe that, but let us assume that he does; then I can tell him he is wrong in his belief. He is also wrong in relation to the graph he quoted of the pattern indicating reduction in consumption in the United States in 1961 and 1968. He used it to show that it is very difficult to persuade adults to give up smoking. At column 1905 of the same volume he said:
The general consumption of tobacco in the United States, for example, has shown spasmodic falls and then appears to have slowly risen again. It appears to have risen recently after the ending of advertising of cigarettes showing again that the advertising of cigarettes, as claimed by some of the tobacco companies, is almost more a method of selling rival brands of cigarettes than it is of increasing the consumption of cigarettes.
What the Minister said it not true,  because the facts are that since the mid-sixties one in three of men and one in four of women in the United States who were smoking in 1966 had stopped smoking in July, 1970. Therefore, the Minister either has not read the report of the College of Physicians which he has quoted or, if he has read it, has quoted it selectively in order to mislead the House and in order to justify his failure to take any positive action in regard to this matter.
As I said in introducing this Bill, I was astonished at the decision of the United States Government to act on the Surgeon-General's report in 1964, because of their enormous vested interest in the tobacco company. It is to their credit in the United States that they were the first to try to do something positive in relation to this problem. What they have done has had the effect of reducing the incidence of cigarette smoking to some extent in the United States.
Everybody knows this is an enormous vested interest. The British have just been slightly worse than the Minister and our Department of Health. We have been talking about this now for nearly 20 years. Our Department of Health has been the worst; the British has been the next worst; other countries have been infinitely better. The British had the farcical position of watching £52 million being spent on advertising sales promotion of cigarettes while a miserable £100,000 was spent on counteracting it, pretending they were doing something. It was a squandering of the £100,000 just as the money the Minister is spending is being squandered, with the same dishonest pretence that he is seriously concerned about this problem in spending a fiddling £27,000 against the enormous expenditure here. I am sure it is enormous, although I have not got the present figures, because when I asked for them recently from the Minister's Department I was told the Minister did not have them. He is not sufficiently interested to find out the size of the advertising programme against which he is working. He has not even taken the trouble to find out how much greater it is than the £27,000, or whatever it is, that he is spending. That  money is completely wasted. There must be many ways in which it could be better spent.
What the Minister is doing is putting this notice on the carton. In reply to a Parliamentary question he told me that this was a futile gesture. What he is agreeing to do here is what he has described as a futile gesture. Faced with these tragic figures, tragic in their human implications, the Minister rejects this Bill of ours and says instead that he will carry out this device of putting a notice on the carton of which he assures us no one will take any notice. This is his total contribution to dealing with the problem of the very powerful advertising campaigns of the tobacco pushers on whose side he has aligned himself.
On 19th February, 1970, the Minister said:
I have considered this suggestion previously and have rejected it— essentially because I am satisfied that it would have little or no practical effect.
So we are simply wasting public money. I suspect that the reason why the cartons will carry this notice is that we have an export trade in cigarettes and our cigarettes will not be allowed into England unless they carry this notice. It is as simple and as cynical as that. There is no other reason for doing it. The Minister has no sense of true responsibility as Minister for Health and he does not care enough to do anything about it. We are suppressing our television advertisements because they are complicated and expensive to make. They are not making them in England and they will not bother to make them here. The notice will be carried on the cartons because our cigarettes will not be allowed into a number of countries, including England, unless they carry it.
There is no doubt in the world that it is difficult to persuade adults or children to give up cigarette smoking, but there are many adults who, given the information, given the education, have found it possible to give up cigarettes. Why will the Minister not  adapt his programme to a policy based on the factors which so moved doctors, and the workers in Edinburgh University I mentioned, and various other people like Deputy Fitzpatrick, Deputy Barry and others who, because of their level of education and their level of intelligence and their level of self-control—I ask the pardon of the Labour Party—were able to give up this habit which is very difficult to give up. I had that problem myself. I completely concede that it is a very difficult habit to give up. My complaint is that we are not giving the help they deserve to the people who are anxious to give up the habit of cigarette smoking.
The Minister replied to one point raised by Deputy Cooney. The Minister does not seem to know what is on television. He does not seem to know his own service very well. Deputy Cooney suggested that pop idols and pop singers should be used in an anticigarette smoking campaign on television. The Minister came back with a suggestion about Mr. Mitchell, who is an announcer. The Minister's Department are already using people like Dickie Rock in their advertising programme. Because of the Minister's obvious lack of enthusiasm, and lack of conviction that this would be anything other than a futile gesture—that is, putting the notice on the cartons— Deputy Cooney made a number of suggestions with regard to the size, the layout and the content of the notice, whether we should try to frighten people or should try to reason with them, and the various methods used by advertisers when they are faced with trying to sell anything. Should we change the colour of the print and the size of the print? These are all very important factors. The Minister made no attempt to deal with that point which was put forward by Deputy Cooney.
I have seen most of the literature supplied by the Department and it has been directed predominantly at children. I share with other Deputies the conviction that it is not sufficient to talk to children only. Adults must also be helped. We have continuous information topped by the most recent findings of the Irish Cancer Society that  among the sector of the community upon which the Minister and his Department have concentrated over the past ten years, to the extent they have concentrated at all, the children, the rate of smoking is increasing in spite of the propaganda by the Minister's Department over the past ten to 15 years. These findings were made by public-spirited medical officers of health in Westmeath and Cork mainly and they have shown that smoking starts at the age of seven years and increases rapidly thereafter. Not only does it start at the age of seven years but the rate of smoking among boys and girls is very much higher now than when the Minister started his campaign to stop children smoking. Surely the Minister should learn something from these facts and figures.
Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,
Dáil Éireann 259 Private Members' Business. Tobacco (Control of Sale and Advertisement) Bill, 1971: Second Stage (Resumed).