Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 2 Dec 1964

Vol. 213 No. 3

Private Members' Business. - Tobacco (Control of Sale and Advertisement) Bill, 1964: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

In my opening remarks on this day week, I ventured to say that in his speech introducing this measure Deputy Dr. Browne dissociated himself from the Labour Party. Deputy Corish contradicted me and later told me not to talk nonsense. Deputy Corish's words to that effect will be found at column 234, volume 213 of the Official Report. I have since looked up the Official Report and I find at column 91 of the same volume, Deputy Dr. Browne is reported as saying:

I do not, I suppose, have to tell the House that this is a Private Member's Bill and that it does not represent Labour Party policy. It is my own personal production. The Labour Party accept no responsibility for it whatsoever: the individuals may have their own views on it.

If that is not a declaration of separation, independence or dissociation, what is it? I took it as a declaration of independence. I said Deputy Dr. Browne had warned the House that he brought this Bill in as an independent member, whereupon Deputy Corish intervened to correct me saying: "As an individual member."

It will be seen from the passage which I have read that neither of us was correct. Deputy Dr. Browne did not use the word "independent" or "individual". He stated his position in the formula which I have already quoted, a formula which I construed as meaning that Deputy Dr. Browne had dissociated himself from the Labour Party and had introduced this Bill as an independent member. Deputy Corish construed Deputy Dr. Browne's words as meaning that he had introduced the measure as an individual member. What does it matter? Whether Deputy Dr. Browne meant that he was speaking as an individual or an independent member, what distinction can be drawn between them? It would be a nice exercise for those who are devoted to semantics to say by what razor-edged definitions he would distinguish between the words and show them to have different meanings. However, it does not matter.

What does matter is, I think, the interesting relationship between Deputy Dr. Browne and the Labour Party he has so recently adhered to, for in politics the Deputy pursues his wayward way with the promiscuity of a young Hollywood star who enters upon a fervid association to advance her career and, when advantage has been gained, disowns the relationship. It is all done with the most consummate titillation of public curiosity: stories are fed to the press, statements are made indicating that the honeymoon is over and that a certain incompatibility has developed between the blissful partners and finally one has resolved to do something on her own.

The Minister has experienced that already.

Is that not precisely what Deputy Dr. Browne intended to convey in introducing this Bill? If anyone has any doubt, let him read the passage for himself, or rather let me do it for him:

I do not, I suppose, have to tell the House that this is a Private Member's Bill and that it does not represent Labour Party policy. It is my own personal production. The Labour Party accept no responsibility for it whatsoever: the individuals may have their own views on it.

God be with the days when you were campaigning together in Dublin.

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.

Did the Minister say lung cancer?

I am sorry; I should have said coronary disease. The Deputy is quite right.

I would like to consider now what the Deputy proposes to do in this Bill. He asks the Minister for Health from time to time, when it appears necessary to do so, to make regulations in regard to all or any of the following matters:

Requiring that, if any tobacco or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale by a tobacco manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer and in the opinion of the Minister contain substances likely to cause injury to health, the deleterious nature and origin of the substances as may be specified in the regulations shall appear on the label or the container in which the tobacco or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale.

First of all, what is the Minister required to do? He is required, when a substance is offered for sale by a tobacco manufacturer, to ascertain whether it contains such substances as would, in his opinion, be of a deleterious nature. He has then to ascertain the origin of the substance and then to specify that the nature of this substance will appear on the label or the container in which the tobacco or tobacco products are offered for sale. That means that the Minister will have to test every consignment of tobacco that comes into the country in order to satisfy himself whether it contains deleterious substances and what these deleterious substances are.

Having ascertained this, he will then have to prescribe that these substances will have to be indicated in a detailed manner on the container of the cigarettes. There are many substances in tobacco, many minute substances, some of which in another environment may be carcinogens but none of which has been established as being a carcinogen in tobacco. If that had once been established, there would be no quarrel between the Deputy and myself. We would be perfectly certain that tobacco was, in fact, the cause of lung cancer and these other diseases. But the real kernel of this problem is that while these substances may in another environment produce these effects they have not been shown to produce cancer when they are burnt in tobacco. If they have then there must be something rather extraordinary because people who do not smoke at all are equally subject—the figures I have prove it—to all the diseases which the Deputy has referred to in order to intimidate the House into refraining from opposing this Bill.

There are these substances with rather bizarre names such as benzo-pyrene, dibenzopyrene, etc. Several of them might be carcinogens and some others might be carcinogens. All these long chemical names are to appear according to Deputy Dr. Browne, on the tobacco package. Not only that but their quantity is to appear on the package. We all know the size of a tobacco package. How are we going to get all that information on the package? What size will it be? Who will read it? If this is to be a practical measure, if there is any justification for it, Deputy Dr. Browne should resort to the device I suggested to him on this day week. It would be much more economical and more impressive to print on the tobacco carton a death's head, a skull, and underneath let us have the motto: memento mori.

After all, this idea of trying to intimidate people by the fear of death is a rather over-rated one. It is long outdated. Most people know that you may be killed if you go in a bus or fly in an aeroplane. Come to think of it, the mortality rate on aeroplanes is much greater than the mortality rate from cigarettes. Yet Deputy Dr. Browne does not try to dissuade us from using aeroplanes if we happen to be in a hurry to go some place. The same thing applies to railway trains and motor cars. A motor car in the hands of an unskilled driver is a much more potent killer than cigarettes. At least, there is no doubt as to whether the car killed the person or not, whereas there is a grave element of doubt in relation to all this talk about lung cancer and other morbid conditions and cigarette smoking. Instead of putting us to the trouble of printing a long list of chemical substances, the names of which people will not read or, if they do, will convey nothing to them, on cigarette packets, it would be far better for the Deputy to imprint a skull and crossbones or a death's head.

It is clear when you consider the Bill and all the impracticable aspects of it that Deputy Dr. Browne did not consider this measure at all when he put it down. Somebody told him what the Department of Commerce in America was going to do. Somebody told him a Bill had been introduced in the British House of Commons. The Deputy, with his usual flair for publicity, said that was a good stunt. Then he came in with this Bill without considering at all whether it was possible to administer it or operate it. I think the Bill is unnecessary. I think it would be impossible to operate. I think the people of this country would disregard it. If the Dáil were foolish enough to stultify itself by passing it, I think it would conduce to no good and merely irritate the people; and, because they had been told they cannot smoke in this rather ham-handed, ghoulish, repressive sort of way, they would probably smoke more heavily than ever.

The Minister for Health spoke for 45 minutes without coming to the Bill. Those 45 minutes were mostly taken up with abuse of the mover of the Bill. It is well-known that if you have a bad case, if you cannot answer the case made by your opponent, it is better to abuse him than stick to the case. In this instance we have had 45 minutes of abuse and misrepresentation by a Minister who did not know what he was talking about. The Minister on a number of occasions referred to drugs such as hashish, cocaine and marijuana but pointed out he knew nothing about them. It is generally known that one of the effects of indulging in any of these drugs is that the unfortunate addict immediately enters into another world in his own mind. He becomes exuberant, able to take on all-comers, filled with a sense of his own importance and, at the same time, he is full of nonsense. I know the Minister is not a drug addict, but I see nobody in this House who shows greater signs of being a drug addict.

The Minister should have taken this measure seriously. It deals with something dangerous to the health of the community. Instead, we have the Minister taking a delight in misrepresenting the aims of the measure. He has adopted the role of a mischievous imp, but it does not suit him at this stage. I shall give only a few examples of his misrepresentations. I could go on for 45 minutes rebutting his suggestions and misrepresentations. He sought to suggest, and, indeed, he was quoted last week in the daily papers as suggesting, that this measure was to prevent the people from smoking. That is the only part that appeared in the papers as a result of his comments last week. In fact, there is nothing in the measure to prevent any individual from smoking as much as he likes, or as often as he likes, or whatever cigarettes he likes. What is in the measure is an attempt to restrict those who seek by dishonest means and by dishonest publicity to persuade others to adopt a habit which is dangerous to health. Is there anything wrong with that? The restriction, in fact, is not on the person who is persuaded by advertising and other means to smoke; the restriction is on the person who advertises wrongly and on the manufacturer who makes false claims for his product.

It should be noted that in this measure there is no question of preventing manufacturers of tobacco or those who advertise for them from advertising and praising their cigars or pipe tobacco or the users of pipe tobacco. There is no mention in this measure of those two items, cigars and pipe tobacco, which are used extensively. It is not considered that these items are dangerous to the health of the public but it has been established, I think, to the satisfaction of most people that the cigarette habit and the use of cigarettes can be very dangerous to the individuals in the community who are unfortunate enough to be addicted to the habit of smoking cigarettes.

Is there anything wrong in suggesting that there should be a measure of control over the propaganda which is let loose on the public today to smoke cigarettes? How many times in the night on Telefís Éireann is a good programme interrupted for the purpose of broadcasting an advertising slogan to the effect that a cigarette is cool and healthy and good for one? How many times is it suggested to viewers, young and old, every night on our national television system that a cigarette is good for one's health? It must be remembered that there is only one programme for the community, that there is no choice of programme. Is there any harm in suggesting that that dishonest type of propaganda and advertising should be cut out without delay?

Deputy Dr. Browne deserves the greatest credit for his move in this regard. Despite what the Minister and other members of the House may think, the majority of the public would be behind a move to restrict this type of dishonest propaganda and completely untrue advertising that takes place on behalf of the cigarette manufacturers. The Minister here, although I believe he is a non-smoker, has fallen for the propaganda of these people that a cigarette is good to relieve one's worries. I have been as addicted to cigarette smoking as many people. I have been a very heavy smoker. I laboured under the delusion for a while that a cigarette was good to calm one's nerves. In fact, that is the danger of the cigarette habit, that one's nerves cannot be soothed or one's mind eased unless one continues to smoke cigarettes and a person will smoke more and more according to the pressure on him. That is the real danger of allowing dishonest advertising of the type we see being allowed on Telefís Éireann.

Let us consider the position in the neighbouring country. I look at the BBC programme whenever I get the chance. It is an example to us that there is no advertising of cigarettes on that medium. In fact, there is no advertising at all. If we need money to run the national television service, we should not take money under false pretences. We should not take the wrong type of money, which is being poured into the coffers of Telefís Éireann for dishonest advertising.

One of the purposes which this Bill hopes to achieve is the discontinuance of that type of fraudulent advertising. Many members of this House would be behind that purpose. Let us be clear. There is no suggestion in this measure of compulsion as far as the general public is concerned. The aim is to prevent the public from being brainwashed by the very slick advertising methods in use today.

Deputy Dr. Browne mentioned the fact that some of the best brains in the country are being devoted to this type of professional advertising. I do not intend to deal with advertising in general because that would be outside the scope of this Bill but some day it would be worth discussing in this House. Although in other forms of advertising the little lies that are told may be little white lies, when it comes to a question affecting health and where a habit may be formed, such as cigarette smoking, which has been proved to be dangerous, restriction is no harm at that stage. There are many instances of legislation to prevent other habits and other actions which are not in many respects as dangerous as the cigarette habit.

The Minister sought to suggest that this Bill sought to set up a terrorist apparatus of some sort. That is the expression he used—a terrorist apparatus. What does he describe as a terrorist apparatus? One that seeks to prevent, as I have said, the type of propaganda to which I have referred from persuading the public to indulge in this habit. I know for a fact that there are many citizens who are anxious to give up smoking and who find it a very difficult thing to do. To add to their difficulties, they find themselves, at their very weakest moment, when they should be helped, faced with advertising which puts them back on the old routine. People should be helped by keeping the thought of cigarette smoking out of their minds as much as possible rather than be subjected to pressure day and night by propaganda to the effect that cigarette smoking is a wonderful aid to digestion, to peace of mind, and so on.

Let me comment at this stage on the Minister's remarks about the code which is being established as a result of a little confab between the cigarette manufacturers, his Department and Telefís Éireann. That code, whether it will be a good or bad code, has come about purely and simply because this Bill has been on the stocks for the past 12 months. It was a well-known fact. It was well known to the tobacco manufacturers that this House would discuss this measure within a short period of time. The code which has been established came about because of the fact that these people felt it was better to head off the criticism before the Bill would reach the Dáil. We have seen examples of that type of thing happening before in respect of other matters. It is one of the advantages of having power in this House to put down a Private Member's Bill or a Private Member's motion and it is one of their privileges that should be guarded very jealously by Deputies. It is one of the few means of bringing pressure to bear, where necessary, on people outside this House.

As far as the code is concerned, I hope it will be of some benefit but, at any rate, the credit for that code, poor and all as it is at the moment, must lie at the door of Deputy Dr. Browne. I know he will not get credit for it from the Minister or from the tobacco manufacturers but the general public realise that, were it not for the fact that this Bill was about to come before the House, no code of any description would have been adopted by the tobacco manufacturers. In fact, what did happen was that the Minister and his Department consulted the tobacco manufacturers and told them: "This is going to be a very awkward business in Dáil Éireann. There is bound to be a certain amount of support for this measure. It would be very diplomatic at this stage if you got together and devised some method of heading off this criticism which will face us all."

What did they do? They got a very reputable legal man to act as umpire in this matter. He will be paid, naturally enough, by the tobacco manufacturers. They will be judge and jury on the question of what should or should not appear in advertising. The general public will not have any say, and the Minister for Health got down on his knees and licked the boots of the tobacco manufacturers a week ago outside the House and, tonight in this House, salaams humbly and says: "Thanks very much, gentlemen, for this code."

He has just spent 45 minutes telling us there is no danger at all to health in smoking. He produced figures here which—I do not say he said this— implied that, as far as the death rate among smokers was concerned, those who smoke most live longest. However, in his heart of hearts he knows that the day is not far off when the line of action suggested by Deputy Dr. Browne will have to be taken.

I think there are quite a number of people in the House who if given freedom from the Party Whip would show they, too, are aware of the necessity for restrictions being imposed, particularly on the advertising of cigarettes. I was rather annoyed at the attitude of the Minister for Health. I would not have spoken on the lines on which I have spoken were it not that the last time the Minister spoke he said—and it was quoted in some of the newspapers—he did not think we were entitled to go to the lengths to which they went in America on the question of prohibition. What bearing had that on this Bill? Prohibition in America was for the purpose of preventing the public from drinking alcohol and he sought to suggest to the public mind that was the aim of this measure. It was a dishonest manoeuvre to suggest that Deputy Dr. Browne was out to prevent the man in the street from having a cigarette if he wants it.

There are cinemas, theatres and other places where people are not allowed to smoke unless they go out to the foyer, corridor or elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with that. There are railway carriages where smoking is not allowed. That is not always observed but it could be enforced. There are restrictions like that in operation but nobody suggests we should go to the lengths to which they went in America on the question of prohibition. However, the mind of the Minister was so poisoned against the mover of this measure that he sought to suggest to the public that Deputy Dr. Browne wanted to bring about conditions similar to those applying during the prohibition days in America.

If the Minister could hang that interpretation on the Bill he knew it would kill any criticism of the tobacco manufacturers and the advertising campaign for as long as he is in office. That is what he sought to suggest. Perhaps it is a very good political point to make. Perhaps in politics the main idea is to make a political point and show how smart and quick you are with the tongue. If that is the case the Minister is a winner.

The Minister also sought to suggest that the Deputy who moved this measure is the killjoy of politics. I may be wrong but in 50 years' time when people consider who has done most for the health of the people, it will not be hard to know whom it will remember the best or the longest or who will be remembered with the greatest affection. It is not the man with the quick and bitter tongue who comes in to make this or that political point and who does not follow it up with hard facts and a well thought-out case.

When all is said and done, I would say the majority of people would agree with this, that some restriction on the advertising, in particular, of cigarettes is desirable. We would all like to see the number of cigarettes smoked reduced. Even the heaviest smokers among us would like to see ourselves being helped without being disciplined. We must think of the Minister for Finance and, indeed, the Minister for Health has to think of that, too, because there is up to £30 million coming into the kitty from tax on tobacco. Not all of that is for cigarettes.

Whatever the loss—and it would be a big immediate loss to the Exchequer —it could be offset within a very short time. I am satisfied that the financial advisers to the Government would be well able to plan an alternative type of tax. It is not beyond their ingenuity to work out an alternative to compensate for the temporary loss of revenue if there was a reduction in the amount of money coming in to the Minister for Finance.

Every member of the House will agree that the people who give up cigarettes at times, for instance, during Lent, find that from the financial point of view they are no better off. I think a financial wizard would agree with me that if people stop smoking cigarettes they do not save the money which they used to spend on cigarettes. It burns a hole in their pockets and they spend it. It is up to the financial experts to devise a means of getting their hands on that money. I am not going to make any suggestions at this stage but I have certain ideas as to what could be done. There are people in this House and advisers outside it who know what can be done and how money can be got. A great deal of money is being spent today in this country even by people who cannot afford it. Although the difficulties which would confront the Minister for Finance might appear very formidable they can be overcome. The financial end of it would solve itself with the passage of time and the various services which are depending at the present time on the tax on cigarettes would not suffer in the slightest.

That is all I have to say on this Bill. I hope the Minister will allow a free vote so that Deputies can express their views and there can be no excuse that the Party Whip was involved. I appeal to Deputies to give the Bill all the support they can at this stage.

The last speaker finished by asking for a free vote. Nevertheless he wants to interfere with the freedom of people in the matter of smoking, not directly, of course, but indirectly. That is the position as I see it. It is more than likely that excessive smoking is injurious to health. So is excessive eating and excessive drinking. Anything of the so-called good things of life taken in excess have an adverse effect on the health of the individual who indulges in the excesses.

There is a certain amount of comfort and a certain amount of pleasure in moderate smoking. I was a smoker; I have not smoked of late because I found I was not smoking in moderation. I do not think legislation is the proper way to cut down smoking. It was suggested by the last speaker that the Minister for Finance and his colleague, the Minister for Health, would not like to do anything which might have a depressing effect on revenue from cigarettes and tobacco. I do not subscribe to that view. People in responsible positions, such as Ministers of State, legislate for the betterment of the people. That is the aim of every Government, irrespective of what Party or Parties constitute the Government. When it comes to public health versus income to the Exchequer, public health comes first.

No conclusive data has so far been forthcoming to prove that smoking adversely affects health. There is no conclusive proof certainly that smoking in moderation is injurious to health. It is quite commonly accepted, be it right or wrong, that a cigarette or pipe gives a certain immunity from infectious disease. I am not a medical man and I do not know if that is true——

Just as throwing a thorn over your shoulder is supposed to cure some diseases.

One always finds in every society people who are ready and anxious to back up every new idea just for the sake of backing it and irrespective of whether or not it is a good idea. The position here is amply safeguarded. We have an outstanding man in our present Minister for Health. He has under him a staff that can be relied on to take all the precautions necessary to safeguard public health. He has the situation under control but, should the situation ever threaten to become serious, I have no doubt that he and every member of the Government and every responsible official of his Department would not hesitate to take all the steps necessary to safeguard public health.

Now, I am only human and I can make a mistake, but I feel that the motive in bringing in this Bill was not so much public health as public publicity. I have heard it remarked that certain things may secure popularity for politicians and I should not mind if it were a matter of politics, but, as far as I am aware, the proposer of this Bill has gone in very much for self-glorification and popularity regardless of everything else. I may be wrong in that, but it is my view. I do not claim to be infallible. Whether I am right or whether I am wrong, I do not think this Bill is necessary in existing circumstances. If we pass legislation to cut down on the use of tobacco and cigarettes, might we not, later on, come in here on some pretext or another to pass legislation to cut down the consumption of tea drinking, or coffee drinking, or something else?

That is a sore one.

Everyone else got a chance to speak.

We were once told to go on light beer.

Some of you might be better off if you did. You might be in better spirits. However, be that as it may, I do not believe we are entitled to bring in legislation to discourage the use of light beer, or stout, or spirits, or anything of that nature. We must credit the ordinary people with being sensible even though as human beings they may make mistakes at times. So far as we can help it, we should do nothing by way of legislation to fetter the freedom of the individual in his everyday life. I am definitely in favour of fettering the freedom of the individual who wants to do something that would endanger the public peace, or the security of the nation. Right or wrong, I think there is no need to introduce legislation of this kind and I ask the House to reject it.

We must let the people enjoy themselves. There is great enjoyment in smoking in moderation. There is great enjoyment in sports or amusements in moderation. There is great enjoyment in social drinking in moderation. We should leave things as they are and let the people themselves decide what they are going to do.

I did not intend to speak on this Bill because when I came along the corridor I put my cigarette in the bowl outside the door, but the last speaker has induced me to get to my feet because I think he misrepresented what the Bill proposes. It does not propose to prohibit the smoking of tobacco. It does propose to limit the appeals that are made to potential smokers. Any legislation discussed here must be reasonable if it is to be successful, and I believe there is a thread of reason running through this Bill.

It is very difficult to decide what to do because we are all victims of various bad habits, and smoking is one of the pleasant habits as Deputy Meaney said. The Bill contains no interference with personal freedom because an individual is free to smoke or not to smoke. There may be some interference with the manufacturer of the article in the area in which he pitches his appeal. Having looked at some smoking advertisements on television particularly, I think we should start thinking about the subject at any rate. If Deputy Dr. Browne has done nothing more than that, perhaps he has done a great deal.

There is a great deal of glamour and attraction about the way the enjoyment of cigarette smoking is conveyed on television and in advertisements in other media. The people who smoke are always good-looking and young, unlike Deputy Meaney or myself. There is a kind of rugged air about the man who smokes a cigarette, almost a suggestion that he is on the road to good health by smoking. Four or five of my friends are doctors and in the past eight or nine years they have ceased to smoke, I suppose because in their profession they see people suffering from the effects of smoking. When I offer them a cigarette they say: "Have you not come to the age of reason or the age of sense yet?" Although I am old enough I admit I have not done so in regard to smoking. Perhaps the pitch of the appeal could be circumscribed in some way to counteract the glamorous kind of atmosphere that surrounds smoking in the pictures we see. It is always young people who are smoking in those pictures and they are obviously aimed completely at the teenagers who are moving towards the age when they will become new customers for the tobacco manufacturers. If an agreement could be reached which would severely limit that type of appeal something would be accomplished.

More should be done to limit the amount of smoking permitted in public places. Heavy smokers who smoke in public places embarrass others. That is a type of rudeness but it is so common and general that for the sake of our own sensual indulgence in tobacco smoking we brush that rudeness aside and indulge ourselves. It would be interesting if the Government Whip who is now sitting in the Minister's seat would talk with his Party and allow a free vote of the House on this issue.

Like the previous speaker, I had no intention of intervening——

Deputy Meaney got you to your feet.

——but the subject is so dear to the hearts of so many of us that one could hardly abstain from saying something. My contribution will be brief. It will have to be.

One minute to go.

I am in entire agreement with Deputy Meaney when he says it is excessive indulgence in anything that causes the harm. I do not think anything in the Bill would prevent excessive indulgence in smoking. Publication of a formula on a packet in time comes to be taken for granted and not read. Apart from the fact that I believe it is the Minister's job to take any necessary steps because he has his expert advice, quite candidly I do not think the suggestion in the Bill would act as a deterrent to anyone who indulges in excessive smoking.

I am satisfied that excessive smoking is harmful and I believe the necessary publicity drawing attention to the danger of what is harmful, if indulged in excessively, is a much better deterrent than having a formula on a packet of tobacco or cigarettes which are on sale. The trouble, I would say, is how to bring this danger to the notice of the younger people who have not yet started or who are about to start smoking. I doubt if any formula published on the packet will deter them. In fact, it may have the opposite effect of making them believe that this is something which is really worthwhile because it is to some extent prohibited and I do not think it will have the effect of preventing young people from starting to smoke. If I were a young boy today and had not yet started smoking, I should not start.

The Parliamentary Secretary might not be able to afford it, with the price you put it up to.

That is very wrong: we sell ten times as many today as when Woodbines were five for 2d. Young people today have more money. We could not find the 2d when you were in power.

It was you who put up the price. The Parliamentary Secretary is all right now as he is saved by the bell.

Debate adjourned.