Is the Financial Secretary aware that a transfer from cigarette smoking to the smoking of pipes and cigars could result in a future saving of thousands of lives every year? Secondly, will he accept my assurance that it would be an easy matter to impose a stamp duty on each packet of cigarettes while making an overall reduction in tobacco duty, so as to maintain the revenue at the same level?
Does not my hon. and learned Friend agree that 30,000 deaths a year in this country from lung cancer form a strong argument for changing tobacco taxation? Will not he assure the House that he will consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health before the final Budget proposals are brought before the House?
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman resist these blandishments to use the tax system for a purpose for which it was never devised, namely, to warp consumer choice? Will he leave it to consumers to decide what they smoke?