Deputy Dr. Browne has gone so far in that passage as to pre-empt his colleagues of the Labour Party—I presume they are still his colleagues—from claiming any part of the credit that may attach to the Bill. Most probably, however, many of them are rather relieved, in view of the disavowal of Party affiliations in this matter, that no part of the discredit will attach to them.
Referring to the Bill now before us, let me remind the House that Deputy Dr. Browne has said: "It is my own personal production.""An ill-favoured thing, Sir", sayeth Touchstone, "an ill-favoured thing, Sir, but mine own." The Deputy said the Labour Party accepted no responsibility for it whatsoever. May I congratulate the Labour Party on their wisdom and return to consideration of the Bill and the speech with which it was introduced by its only begetter? Here we may know how concerned the Deputy is about his public image. He informed us with some emotion that a number of people believe that he "appeared to get a certain delight out of restricting individual freedoms". The Deputy is quite correct. That is the posture in which he projects himself to the public.
Many indeed are now inclined to think of him—and I say "now inclined" because quite frankly they did not at one time think of him in those terms—as a killjoy, a barebones, a man with no joy or laughter in himself and one who begrudges these to others. That may or may not be a true picture, as I will readily admit, but it is the one which the Deputy himself has impressed upon the public mind. It is the image which he has created, and I am bound to say that this Bill which he boasts is his "own personal production" will deepen and intensify that image.
Moreover, in the light of the Bill, it is of no avail for the Deputy responsible for it to protest that "he should not like to interfere with individual freedoms." The public to whom he speaks will not take him at his word. Instead they will look at this proposal of his and judge him by his actions. When the Deputy says, as he did last Wednesday: "Anybody who knows me will realise that I should not like to interfere with individual freedom," the public are likely to scoff because they will have before them this Bill which is the Deputy's "own personal production" and which is, in fact, designed to operate to that end.
It is true that Deputy Dr. Browne in his advocacy of his Bill was careful to direct his attack not on smokers in general but at the tobacco manufacturers and, secondly, the brewers. He may have been pleading in trying to defend himself against the charge that this Bill, his "own personal production," is not directed against the cigarette-smoking public since it does not prohibit or restrict the sale of cigarettes but is directed against cigarette manufacturers only, but I doubt if that plea will impress the public. Quite cynically, the public will recall the old proverb that "there are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with butter," and more ways of interfering with individual freedom than imprisonment and more ways of cowing a child into doing one's will than beating it. One may, for instance, terrorise it with blood-curdling tales of what will befall it if it should venture to disregard one's wishes or advice.
The measure which Deputy Dr. Browne proposes to us—the Tobacco (Control of Sale and Advertisement) Bill, 1964—is a measure designed to terrorise the cigarette smoker and to make him refrain from doing something which the Deputy has convinced himself he should not do, no matter how much he may want to do it and no matter how much he may like it. Deputy Dr. Browne, smokers are likely to say, does not like smoking, does not smoke himself and wishes that nobody will smoke either. They will correctly assume, I think, that he wants the Government to terrorise them, to intimidate them into refraining from doing something they enjoy, something that is a great comfort to them, soothing and relaxing, something that they like very much. In these circumstances, what avail is it for the Deputy to protest that he does not "like to interfere with individual freedoms?"
The public will look at this Bill and, I think, will say, and rightly say, that in order to compel them to live according to his standards and to become non-smokers like himself, Deputy Dr. Browne is demanding that Dáil Éireann should compel cigarette manufacturers, every time a person buys a packet of cigarettes, to serve him with a death notice. That, of course, is exactly what this Bill is designed to do.
Now that the purpose of the Bill has been precisely defined, we may consider some of the arguments which its sponsor put forward in submitting it to the House. With a discursive speaker like Deputy Dr. Browne, it is difficult to know where to begin. It is particularly difficult to do so with his speech on this Bill. In it, he dealt not only with cigarettes and cigarette manufacturers. He had a swipe at regulations I made in 1958 under the Health Act, 1947, in relation to medical preparations. He had another swipe at the Medical Preparations (Control of Sales) Regulations which I made in 1963. Athletes who visit tobacco factories felt the lash of his tongue, notably Christy Ring and Gael Linn for participating in a film showing what a magnificent game hurling is. Deputy Dr. Browne's wrath then fell on every aspect of our sporting life— horse racing, golf and "certainly GAA football and hurling." Naturally, he did not spare his bete noire, the cigarette manufacturers, any more than he spared the brewers, in his attitude towards the natural inclinations, simple joys and the harmless pleasures of those who do not agree with his outlook on society.
Deputy Dr. Browne assumes the role of a Hindu Brahmin. It is not surprising that in this role so far as those who engage in the quite respectable occupations of brewing, cigarette manufacture, advertising and even athletics—at least those who do not accept the gospel according to Deputy Dr. Browne—are concerned, he makes it patent that he regards them as low caste untouchables, persons to be spurned and rejected. What the Deputy says is in most cases rank nonsense. So long as tobacco is allowed to be smoked, it must be allowed to be sold and accordingly to be manufactured. If it is legitimate to manufacture cigarettes, to sell them and to smoke them, why should it be made illegal to advertise them? True enough, we must have regard to the statistics which are put forward to support the contention of those who hold that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health. Therefore, playing for safety, we may perhaps try to regulate the style and makeup of advertising matter and to control the media employed. It has been agreed that this should be done. A code has been drawn up to regulate the content and presentation of advertisements for tobacco, and particularly for cigarettes. Here, I should like to express my appreciation of the readiness with which the manufacturers concerned co-operated with the officers of my Department and of Telefís Éireann in drawing up a reasonable but, I am certain, quite effective code of standards to regulate the advertising of cigarettes in Ireland. A few minutes ago, I asked the question: "If it is legitimate to manufacture cigarettes, to sell them and to smoke them, why should it be made illegal to advertise them?" Deputy Dr. Browne has on many occasions declaimed against permitting cigarettes to be advertised and demanded that such advertisements should be prohibited. His purpose is clear: it is, of course, to hamper their sale. The purpose of this Bill is to hamper their sale and to discourage their purchase, a first step towards, of course, the suppression of smoking altogether. To do this, the Deputy proposes to employ the most ghoulish stratagem imaginable.
If Deputy Dr. Browne had his way and this Bill were to pass, then, as I have said, every packet of cigarettes passed over the counter would carry a death notice. He would condemn smokers to live in terrorem. What way is that to treat an adult population and on what grounds would Deputy Dr. Browne dare to do this? On the basis of statistics—which, admittedly, may be interpreted as supporting his thesis but which nevertheless are very far from conclusive. I want now therefore to raise the question: by what right does the Deputy propose to limit an individual in the exercise of his freedom, of his own freewill, or to intimidate him against exercising that freedom? It is true that the Deputy has cited what the State does in relation to certain vices, certain practices of addiction, certain frauds, and for the elimination of certain hazards and certain social evils but in every one of these spheres, the abuses which the State endeavours to prevent, there is an element of moral turpitude, an element which nobody, so far as I know, not even Deputy Dr. Browne, even though he has equated cigarette smokers with opium smokers, has asserted to be characteristic of smoking and that I think goes to the root of the matter. I said before in this House in April, 1962, and I quote from column 1683, volume 194 of the Official Reports:
The trouble about smoking is that the decision to smoke or not to smoke is a personal one, to be taken by the individual. No nation has yet found an unfailing method of influencing the génerality of its people to do what common sense dictates in the interest of personal health. Smoking is not a disease. It does not inevitably give rise to disease, and where it does, the disease is not communicable. It does not endanger the public safety; there is no turpitude attaching to it; and it cannot be held to be contrary to public morality.
Let me repeat there is no baseness, no depravity, attached to it and if it may injure anyone, it will be the smoker himself and this indeed in the vast majority of cases, the overwhelming majority of cases, is far from certain. It will injure no other person. It is far otherwise with the example cited by Deputy Dr. Browne. He has told us that cigarettes can be called a drug to some extent and he has argued that as we restrict the sale of cocaine, hashish, marijuana and opium, he supposed a certain comparison can reasonably be drawn between the two.
I have never seen a case of addiction to any of these drugs but presumably Deputy Dr. Browne has. At least he implied as much when in a letter to a newspaper last month he declared:
It is true that there are many doctors who are nicotine addicts, just as our profession, with nurses, has a high incidence of other forms of drug addiction. This has never been advanced as a case for the freer use of cocaine or morphia amongst the public.
As I say, I have never had experience of a person suffering from the effects of hashish, cocaine or opium, or any other drugs, but I have always understood that under the influence of these drugs, the devotees are reduced almost to the subhuman, that their reason is overthrown, their wills destroyed and their appetite for the drugs insatiable. Does Deputy Dr. Browne expect us to believe that cigarette smoking can so debase a human being? That is the justification he offered in this House for this Bill. He says a certain comparison can be drawn, a certain equation can be established, between the opium smoker and the cigarette smoker. On no other basis than the fact that these are equivalent to each other is there any justification for the Deputy's measure.
I ask him: does he expect adult people to believe that the cigarette smoker can debase himself to the level to which an opium smoker may? I do not believe the Deputy is so foolish; yet he has said that he "supposed a certain comparison can reasonably be drawn between the two". There is no analogy whatsoever between drug addiction and cigarette smoking such as Deputy Dr. Browne has suggested but has not tried to establish.
The Deputy also referred to section 65 of the Health Act, 1947, to the licensing laws and to the regulations dealing with the control of medical preparations. It is true that all these measures are restrictive in their nature. Some impose the need to supply information in relation to certain medical preparations; others prescribe that certain preparations will not be sold except upon prescription and on compliance with certain other conditions. The general purpose of these restrictions is to safeguard the public at large from the hazards arising from fraud through quackery or injury through the indiscriminate and unwarranted or ill-advised use of certain therapeutic substances. They have no similarity. The aim or purpose of these regulations has no resemblance whatever to what the Deputy proposes to do in the Bill. The purpose the Deputy hopes to achieve in this Bill is quite cearly the purpose of leading the State on, step by step, to the stage at which it will be possible for him to say "Suppress cigarette smoking altogether."
Now, I was talking about the regulations and I mentioned that their purpose was to prevent people being defrauded by certain medical substances being used by ill-advised persons and those who sell them are obliged by the regulations which I made to publish on the package or container thereof the constituents of the preparation. The regulations made under the section also prohibit the publication of advertisements for medical preparations in a manner which might lead the advertised preparations to be used for the treatment, etc., of certain scheduled ailments, infirmities, injuries or defects. The scheduled ailments which were about 40 in number include such diseases or conditions as Bright's Disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, gastric or peptic ulcers, paralysis, poliomyelitis, sinus infection, tumours and uraemia, all of which enriched many a quack in the past. Can Deputy Dr. Browne say that the purpose of his Bill is to prevent quacks from enriching themselves by claiming virtues for what they are selling, healing virtues in fact for what they are selling?
Deputy Dr. Browne also referred in a general way to the inquiries which had been undertaken in many countries to establish the relationship between cigarette smoking and cancer and other conditions, but although he referred at some length to these inquiries, all authoritative inquiries, he refrained, very wisely, from quoting them. He rang the changes like a tolling bell-ringer on the words "cancer,""coronary" and "bronchitis" but quoted from none of the reports which resulted from the inquiries which he mentioned and for good reason, because those reports go far to demolish the case—not the case for persuading people to reduce their smoking—which he made for the harsh and repressive and indeed repulsive measures which he has proposed in this Bill. The authors of these reports admit—indeed they stress and emphasise—that not all smokers are affected by lung cancer, coronary heart disease or bronchitis.
I wish to quote, as an antidote, or at least as an answer to some of the wild statements with which Deputy Dr. Browne adorned his speech in introducing the Bill, the following extract from the Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service of the United States of America, page 193.
Throughout this evaluation, it has been recognised that a casual hypothesis for the cigarette smoking-lung cancer relationship does not exclude other factors. This is attested to by the fact that a small but not insignificant percentage of cases of lung cancer does occur among non-smokers. Some estimates in retrospective studies and most of the prospective studies indicate that approximately 10 per cent of the lung cancer cases are in non-smokers. Doll has provided a higher estimate of 20 per cent. Furthermore, the inability to account for the higher lung cancer incidence in the lower economic classes entirely by disparities in smoking habits, which do exist, does imply other causal factors.
Not only did Deputy Dr. Browne throw great stress upon the association of lung cancer with cigarette smoking, but he also referred in the same alarming terms to the association which is presumed to exist between smoking and bronchitis. Referring to bronchitis, the report of the Royal College of Physicians of London, another authoritative document, reads, and I quote from page 30:
The strong association between smoking, especially cigarette smoking, and the incidence of chronic bronchitis does not necessarily mean that cigarette smoking is the chief cause or the only cause of the disease. There is ample evidence implicating other factors.
On page 34 the same report contains a table indicating the death rates per 100,000 persons from coronary disease amongst British doctors in relation to their smoking habits. This table indicates, for example, that in the age group 55 to 64 years, the death rate from coronary disease per 100,000 was, for non-smokers, 734 and for smokers of from one to 14 cigarettes per day, 850. For smokers of from 15 to 24 cigarettes per day, there is a drastic decline to 541 and for smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day, the death rate was 820. It seems to me that those figures present a rather puzzling complex. Let me repeat them. In the age group 55 to 64 years, deaths amongst doctors from coronary heart disease per 100,000 were as follows: non-smokers, 734; smokers of one to 14 cigarettes per day, 850; smokers of 15 to 24 cigarettes per day, 541; smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day, 820.
The remarkable thing about this table is that in that particular age group the mortality rate among the heaviest smokers is a little less than among the lighter smokers and not 14 per cent more than in the case of the non-smoker. He would be very glib who would try to make scientific deductions from these figures with the same assurance as Deputy Dr. Browne did as to the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.