Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Lung Cancer Deaths.

42.

asked the Minister for Health the number of deaths from lung cancer in each of the years 1950, 1960 and 1968.

The number of deaths from lung cancer in 1950 was 298. In 1960 the number was 648. The number in 1968 was 970, which is a provisional figure at this stage.

Is due regard being had to the improved methods of diagnosis in determining the significance of the figures with which we have just been supplied?

I think so. As I pointed out in replying to the previous question there is a very wide range of clinical facilities throughout the country at present and certainly all family doctors are thoroughly alive to the fact of the increase in the various forms of cancer. The House is aware that a great deal of publicity has been given to the fact of the increase in lung cancer in recent years and especially to the posibility and probability of a close connection between heavy cigarette-smoking and the incidence of lung cancer. I can only hope that the public generally will avail of the opportunity to go to their family doctors frequently and, if so advised, to go for further examinations, or, indeed, whether so advised or not, to go for a general medical check-up from time to time, particularly the 30 to 40 age group.

The Minister appreciates that this represents a 100 per cent increase every ten years. Is he satisfied that sufficient steps have been taken to discourage advertising encouraging people to smoke and also to discourage people from smoking?

Certain restrictions have already been placed on advertising. The House is aware of these. The Department have issued pamphlets to schools and are preparing a film for distribution and showing in schools. As I have said here so often and would like to repeat now, the real answer to this problem is to try to prevent young people from being foolish enough to start a very expensive habit. I say this with the Minister for Finance looking very hard at me because obviously there is a great deal of revenue involved. All we can do is bring to the notice, particularly of parents and through them, of children, the deleterious effects of smoking.