Oral Answers to Questions — Smoking (Young People)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Prime Minister what steps are being taken to co-ordinate the actions of the Minister for Science, the Minister of Health and the Postmaster-General in securing an agreed programme of action to prevent young people acquiring the habit of smoking.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

My three right hon. Friends and the other Ministers concerned already work closely together in this matter.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these Ministers are working with singularly little effect? Does he recall that the Government declared their policy on this matter on 27th June, 1957, and that we have now reached the stage when £32,000 is being spent on dissuading people and £10 million on advertising to persuade people to smoke? Will he not give a lead and try to get some real action in response to his own Government's policy?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I think that we have taken a lead and action. Local education and local health authorities do a great deal and, for instance, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health the other day told the House how 440,000 posters carrying the slogan "Cigarettes cause lung cancer" had been distributed for display. I do not think that there is any excuse for anyone not to know the connection between cigarette smoking and cancer.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Could not hon. Members who feel strongly on this subject perhaps help to set an example by suggesting that smoking should be banned throughout the Palace of Westminster?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Robinson Mr Kenneth Robinson , St Pancras North

Is the Prime Minister aware that neither the medical profession nor the public will take this campaign seriously until the Government do something about cigarette advertising? Will he discuss this with his right hon. Friends?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Yes, Sir. I am always willing to discuss this with my right hon. Friends.