Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 18 Oct 1978

Vol. 308 No. 4

Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) Bill, 1978: Second Stage.

"That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

This Bill may well be one of the shortest Bills introduced in the present session of Dáil Éireann but it is, in my view despite its brevity, an important piece of health legislation.

The purpose of this Bill is to provide for the control, by statutory regulation, of the advertising and sales promotion of tobacco products and of sponsorship by the tobacco industry.

The legislation will enable the Minister for Health to prohibit particular kinds of advertising and sponsorship, to restrict expenditure in these areas, and to control the form and content of tobacco advertising. It also provides for the furnishing, to the Minister for Health, of information necessary for the purposes of the Bill. All this is contained in the key section, section 2. The other four sections of the Bill contain the short title, definitions and provision for expenses and penalties.

I shall endeavour to outline for Deputies the general background against which this legislation is being introduced, the need for it and the general lines along which I propose to proceed with its implementation.

Deputies are aware that throughout the modern world Governments everywhere are increasingly concerned with the rising cost of health services on the one hand and the fact, on the other, that increasing expenditure is not matched by a corresponding improvement in general health and well-being.

This contrast clearly arises from the pattern of modern living and points us in the direction of emphasising prevention as strongly as cure. For this reason our health policy increasingly seeks to build up and develop the preventive function side by side with the curative one. An essential element of this policy is to support those in the community who are anxious to maintain good health when they have it, and to procure acceptance of the view that each of us has a personal responsibility to act in a way that will maintain, as far as possible, sound physical and mental health.

In the current year we have undertaken a number of campaigns designed to emphasise the preventive approach and support those who are anxious to maintain and improve their own health. These include a national hygiene campaign, a national fitness campaign, and, currently, a campaign designed to impress upon people the need for moderation in the consumption of alcohol—the first step in a determined attempt to reduce the impact of excessive drinking on the health and welfare of the individual members of the community.

In attempting to implement such a positive health policy, we immediately come up against the problem of cigarette smoking and the widespread, intensive, glamorous advertising of tobacco products. A positive campaign to promote good health can only be of doubtful value in an environment saturated with the advertising of tobacco and alcohol—advertising which continues to grow in volume and sophistication.

The World Health Organisation has been particularly concerned with the menace of cigarette smoking in recent years. As far back as 1975, it stated in a report that "smoking related diseases are such important causes of disability and premature death in developed countries that the control of cigarette smoking could do more to improve health and prolong life in these countries than any other single action in the whole field of preventive medicine".

In May of this year, the 31st World Health Assembly called for higher taxes to be levelled on cigarette sales and for restrictions to be imposed on tobacco promotion in the mass media. The Assembly blamed tobacco smoking as a major cause of chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer and as a major risk factor in heart attacks, some pregnancy related disorders and other serious health problems.

The Assembly also called on member states to strengthen health education programmes about smoking as part of general health education and urged comprehensive measures to control smoking by increasing taxation on cigarette sales and restricting, as far as possible, all forms of publicity for promotion of smoking. It underlines also the rights of non-smokers "to enjoy an atmosphere unpolluted by tobacco smoke" and asked the World Health Organisation itself to co-operate with member states upon request in developing measures to control smoking publicity in the media.

There is no need, however, for me to rely on any international authority to justify this legislation. Our own domestic situation clearly demands that we act.

The need for action can clearly be understood if we look at our own figures for deaths and illness which can be directly attributed to cigarette smoking.

In 1975, there were 1,191 deaths from lung cancer and associated conditions. At a conservative estimate, 70 per cent of these deaths are attributable to smoking and we can take it, therefore, that at least 800 of those deaths were caused by smoking.

But smoking is also a major factor in relation to two other important diseases. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema caused 250 deaths in 1975 in the active age group, 35 to 64, and it is calculated that at least 175 of these were attributable to smoking. Coronary heart disease caused 9,795 deaths in the same year. There are a number of factors associated with such deaths but it is accepted that cigarette smoking is a major causative factor and over 1,000 of these deaths can be attributed to it.

Let us clearly accept, therefore, that in 1975 at least 2,000 Irish men and women died because they smoked. And there is no reason, unfortunately, to believe that the number will be any less for 1978.

The number of deaths caused by smoking related diseases, however, is only part of the total picture. Large numbers of those who are hospital patients require treatment for diseases which are, to a greater or lesser extent, associated with smoking. It has been estimated, for example, that as a direct result of smoking, over 6,500 people between 25 and 74 required hospital treatment in 1977 and that they spent over 100,000 bed-days in hospital in that year.

The hospital admission figures are, of course, only the tip of the iceberg. There are no reliable statistics about the number of persons who have to consult their general practitioner because of illnesses which are attributable to smoking. In the absence of detailed statistics, it is necessary to estimate the extent to which such illness requires the services of general practitioners. One estimate suggests that, in the general medical services, over 70,000 calls on general practitioners are the direct result of smoking.

Smoking related diseases cause deaths, long hospital stays and illness requiring consultation with general practitioners. The cost of treating these diseases has, conservatively, been put at about £15 million a year. There are other costs which it is more difficult to estimate. It has, for example, been calculated that the total number of working days lost through tobacco associated illnesses would cost up to £30 million per annum. These figures are difficult to calculate exactly and we are continuing our efforts to estimate them more precisely. It is, however, clear beyond any dispute, that in dealing with the cost of smoking related diseases, we are dealing with a very substantial cost, not only in the direct charge to our health services, but in the social and other costs which of necessity arise through the illness of those who smoke.

While the economic cost is something which we must take into account, it cannot reflect the amount of anguish, sorrow and hardship which smoking related deaths and illness give rise to for so many people.

One can state calmly, factually and without emotion, that in our modern community cigarette smoking is responsible for a considerable amount of illness and a large number of deaths. For the Government to permit the advertising of tobacco products to continue uncontrolled on a widespread scale in this situation would be simply irresponsible.

I would now like to outline for the House how I propose to proceed with the implementation of this legislation when it has been enacted. First of all, to ensure that the Oireachtas is fully informed of what is happening, it is provided in subsection (3) of section 2 of the Bill that regulations made under the legislation shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as practical after they have been made and such regulations may be annulled by a resolution of either House. I intend also to try to reach agreement with the tobacco manufacturers about the content of the regulations. It is my intention to consult with them and give them an opportunity of putting forward their views upon the detailed provisions of the regulations before they are made.

The controls which it is intended to impose upon the advertising of tobacco products here might, in certain circumstances, operate to the disadvantage of the Irish tobacco industry in competition against imported products. More liberal codes are operated in other countries and this could create a situation in which persuasive advertising of foreign brands would appear in foreign publications on sale here, particularly those which come from the United Kingdom. I intend to ensure that the Irish industry will not be placed at any disadvantage in this way. I believe that those concerned in the UK will respect the statutory standards imposed here but if some do not, measures will have to be taken to deal with such a situation.

The aspects of this legislation, perhaps, which have attracted most comment and interest among the general public, certainly among those interested in sporting and athletic activities, are the provisions dealing with sponsorship. I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to interfere with existing sponsorships to any great extent for the present. I realise that precipitate action in this area might cause serious problems for sporting bodies and organisations generally. Accordingly, it would be my intention to begin by controlling the volume of sponsorship and preventing the undertaking of new sponsorships except in very special circumstances. I will also go carefully into the extent of the sales promotion of tobacco products engaged in during the event sponsored.

The regulations also will provide for the control of the total amount spent on advertising and the nature and content of such advertising. The advertising of tobacco products in cinemas will be phased out almost immediately. All forms of outdoor poster and sign advertising will be phased out by the end of next year.

Deputies will have noted that CIE has already taken the initiative in restricting, prior to phasing out, tobacco advertising. I shall be asking them to consider increasing the availability of non-smoking areas on trains and buses and to intensify the efforts they are already making to persuade their customers that they should observe these non-smoking areas.

Those who travel abroad will have noticed that Aer Lingus in common with other European airlines have now provided non-smoking areas in their planes and passengers are specifically requested not to smoke in those areas and this request is normally complied with.

Aer Rianta have, I am also glad to say, recently provided no smoking zones in the arrival and departure lounges of our airports. I shall be writing to hoteliers and restaurant owners asking them to ensure that in their dining rooms, non-smoking areas are made available for those persons who do not smoke and who do not wish to have smoking thrust upon them.

Health boards will be asked to ensure that smoking will not be permitted in the hospital wards and to make it clear to visitors that they should not smoke in the wards. I shall be asking other Departments to co-operate in restricting areas in which smoking may take place and in ensuring, as far as possible, that the norm should be that in the majority of offices smoking will not in future be acceptable.

I hope those who smoke and who wish to continue to smoke will not feel that they are being unduly discriminated against. I am not entitled, and I have no wish to interfere with the right of any citizen to decide whether or not he or she will smoke. I have, however, a duty to consider also the rights of those who have decided that they do not wish to smoke and who regard an environment free from smoke as something to which they have a right.

As I said at the outset, I regard this Bill as an important piece of legislation. While it is limited and specific in its intent, its existence and its passage by the Houses of the Oireachtas will be evidence of a more general change in our approach to the health problems with which we are faced. It will, in my view, make clear the Government's intention to take positive action to protect the health of our people when it lies in their power to do so.

The passage of the legislation will enable all those engaged in the administration of our health services to talk with conviction and credibility, especially to young people, about preventive medicine and positive health, and will place us among the leading European nations in the spreading international effort to prevent death and illness from smoking related diseases. It is in this spirit that I commend it to Deputies for a Second Reading.

I shall listen carefully to the views of Deputies on these proposals and consider any suggestions they may wish to make for their improvement or for the better regulation of the situation generally.

A great deal of what the Minister has said goes without saying, so to speak. The danger and injury to health and sickness due to tobacco smoking are fairly well proven and known to all of us. It is no harm, I suppose, that the Minister should set them out again this afternoon.

In this measure he is taking upon himself very wide-ranging powers to control advertising, placing of advertising, the degree of sponsorship and other matters concerned with promotion of tobacco products and brands. In that respect I do not suppose there can be any objection to this very worth-while goal which is, as he has taken pains to point out, part of an overall policy of publicity and public relations which he has engaged in over the past year in order to promote the general health of the nation and encourage people, apparently through his personal involvement in the campaign, to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

There is an old saying that charity begins at home. When Governments and people in public life express good intentions, one of the best ways for them to give good example is to practise what they preach. There is nothing in this Bill to suggest that the Government, through the Minister for Finance, will take one penny less in revenue from excise duty raised on the sale of tobacco or tobacco products, or to suggest that, if they feel this is such a wrong and harmful activity, they will not allow the State's activities to be funded from moneys raised through the sale of tobacco or tobacco products, or alternatively, that they intend to tax them so heavily, as was suggested by the 1977 report of the Medico Social Research Board, that they will be less attractive to the general public.

The Minister said he has the power in this Bill—but it is not spelled out in the Bill—to make regulations governing outdoor advertising, indoor advertising, advertising in the media and in cinemas, degrees of sponsorship and displays of outdoor signs to promote the sale of tobacco products. Over the past eight or nine years on various occasions here and in other places, I have objected to Bills being published which are so vague as almost not to disclose what their intent is, and which give to a Minister and his successors, which is often the most worrying part of it, very wide-ranging powers, almost carte blanche powers to do what they will by way of order or regulation. That is not good legislation. It gives too much power to a Minister to act in any way he might decide either now or afterwards. There might be a Minister who wanted to carry things to an extreme. Therefore I am not happy because this Bill does not state clearly what the Minister intends to do. He told us more in his speech introducing the Bill this afternoon than is contained in the Bill, the explanatory memorandum or anything published in connection with the printing of the Bill.

The most important section of the Bill is section 2 which gives the Minister power to make regulations. A degree of doubt has been built up, not consciously I am sure by the Minister, as to whether, when the Bill becomes law, existing sponsorships by tobacco firms will be allowed to continue. Many of the organisations who benefit from those sponsorships are now in a dilemma because they cannot plan for the future with any certainty. They do not know whether or not they will be able to enjoy the fruits of such sponsorship in time to come. Before the Bill was published it was indicated that it would contain a provision stating that existing sponsorships would not be interfered with and would be allowed to continue. I was not surprised when the Bill was published to see no mention of existing sponsorships. Subsequent to a statement by me calling for clarification, the Minister went out of his way at a public function to suggest organisations need not be afraid of losing existing sponsorships as a result of the passage of this Bill.

While some of us may not agree with tobacco firms sponsoring events, we have to agree that a number of very worth-while sporting events have grown to a magnitude they would not otherwise have achieved without the level of sponsorship they were given by tobacco firms. The Minister said:

I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to interfere with existing sponsorships to any great extent for the present.

I am not sure how the Minister will provide for this in the regulations made under section 2. If he does not make provision for it no undertaking is given, and there can be no certainty in the minds of people enjoying those sponsorships that they can continue to enjoy them. On the other hand, I cannot see how the Minister could build in a section which allowed existing sponsorships to continue.

Let us take the case of an Irish open golf event which has been sponsored by one major Irish tobacco firm over the years. It is now of worldwide importance and one of the premier golfing events on the European circuit. Sometime this year this was described by a leading Irish journalist as being sponsorship at its very finest. Under this Bill that organisation may be notified by the Minister next year that they can no longer enjoy the sponsorship which has brought them worldwide repute and provided so much enjoyment for so many people.

I do not see how the Minister can provide for such a situation in the Bill or in the regulations because then it would appear as if he were clearly discriminating in favour of tobacco firms already sponsoring events and giving them an unfair advantage against firms who were not. In the case of organisations who are running events, some of them enjoy sponsorships and some of them do not, if the Minister were to make regulations which had the effect of allowing existing sporting or other organisations to continue to enjoy existing sponsorships, while preventing other sporting or cultural organisations from applying for sponsorships, it would appear as if the Minister were discriminating as between one group and another. Therefore he would have to have regard to Article 40 of the Constitution which provides:

All citizens shall, as human persons, be held equal before the law.

This shall not be held to mean that the State shall not in its enactments have due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function.

The Minister may say it is his intention to phase out or stop outdoor tobacco advertising and to stop tobacco firms sponsoring events and, at the same time, he will not interfere with events which are being sponsored at present. That is all very well as far as good intentions are concerned, but how enforceable is it under the Constitution and under the law?

Is this part of a big public relations exercise to suggest smoking is injurious to the health? If a tobacco firm are told they can continue to sponsor a golfing event but they may not sponsor a water skiing event next year, I do not see why the water skiing organisers cannot say: "Under the provisions of Article 40 of the Constitution we are equally entitled to receive consideration for sponsorship from any commercial firm, and we have the same right to sponsorship as a golfing organisation who already enjoy sponsorship and are allowed to continue enjoying sponsorship under the Minister's regulations".

If the Minister intends to make regulations providing for the continuation of existing sponsorships, while militating against the creation of new ones, he will have to pay very careful attention indeed to the provisions of Article 40 of the Constitution because of possible legal actions arising out of his regulations, legal actions which might make a laughing stock of the Bill and the Minister's regulations. From that point of view I should like the Minister to dwell at some length in his reply on whether or not there has been attention paid to this particular aspect in the formulation of the Bill or in the consideration of the regulations.

So much for organisations. I can see considerable worry and upset where sporting organisations are concerned should precipitate action be taken prohibiting sponsorship by tobacco firms. I am not here to hold any brief for these firms but we are examining legislation and it might legitimately be argued that there is discrimination. Suppose an American firm arrived here anxious to manufacture brands of tobacco which are not sold here at present, and they wanted to promote their product and get a share of the market, but discovered they were prohibited by this Bill from engaging in sponsorship whilst existing firms engaged in sponsorship prior to the passing of the Act were allowed to continue that sponsorship, the position could be a very serious one. I am informed that that firm could have a very interesting tour through the courts since it would be open to them to challenge the law. That is something that should exercise the mind of the Minister in making regulations.

From the point of view of organisations which might feel deprived of finance from tobacco firms because those firms did not have sponsorship prior to the passing of this Act, and from the point of view of firms which might feel there was unfair trading advantage as between them and old established firms, it is very important that the Minister should explain to us how he envisages getting over the difficulties inherent in the provisions of Article 40, to say nothing of the attitude of the courts from the point of view of both natural and social justice. If this Bill is to have any real effect these points will have to be clarified.

The Minister said he intends to introduce control of the level of advertising. From the wording of the Bill I take it the expectation is that over a period of time the amount of advertising will be controlled so as to reduce interest in tobacco products. I suppose that is quite laudable but I cannot see that it will be enforceable. The Minister referred to the position of the Irish industry as opposed to the foreign industry, particularly that of the UK, and he suggested that those concerned in the UK will possibly respect the statutory standards imposed here and, if they do not do so, he says measures will have to be taken to deal with that situation. In effect, he will tell the manufacturers operating here they can spend only a certain amount on advertising in any one year. He may suggest the type of advertising. That would be all very well if no one else was selling these products other than those manufacturing here and if there were not firms manufacturing here the same brands of cigarettes as those sold in the United Kingdom and in the USA. Is the Minister seriously suggesting he will restrict the amount of advertising by the three firms manufacturing here? They would, of course, have the same restrictions imposed but their position vis-à-vis the UK and USA manufacturers would be disadvantageous because newspapers and periodicals in which these foreign firms advertise the same brand names of cigarettes and tobacco circulate widely here. What the Minister suggests would discriminate very heavily then against the domestic manufacturers because they do not engage in manufacture elsewhere.

Does the Deputy mean wholly owned?

Yes. They do not advertise to any degree in the United Kingdom, for example, and consequently they do not have the benefit of what one might describe as the overspill advertising in British publications circulating here. This kind of thing was done in regard to British Unit Trusts. They are not allowed to advertise here but they get over that by inserting in the advertisements in the financial papers and magazines which circulate freely here a saver saying that the particular advertisement does not apply to people living in the Republic of Ireland.

There is one Irish firm which does not have the benefit of overspill advertising from the United Kingdom or the USA. It relies almost wholly on advertising in the media here. Any restriction, therefore, will be patently unfair to this firm because it does not have the benefit of the overspill from foreign publications. The Minister says that if UK firms do not respect the statutory standards measures will be taken to redress the situation. Will he have little men at every point of entry, armed with scissors, cutting out every advertisement from every newspaper, magazine and journal coming in here carrying tobacco and cigarette advertising?

It is very important that the Minister should clarify the position of the Irish firm vis-à-vis the other firms which enjoy the benefit of overspill advertising. It is a large concern. It employs many people. It is engaged in other facets of Irish industry apart from the tobacco industry. It would be a pity if the effect of this Bill were to hurt one wholly-owned Irish firm much more severely than international firms in a better position to bear the brunt of any such hurt.

I complained at the outset about the lack of information in the Bill and the widespread powers which it gives to the Minister to make regulations. I also notice that the Minister proposes to take powers to make regulations which might then be annulled within 21 sitting days. That annulment would not have any effect on any deed or lack of deed caused by the making of the regulations. I object to that sort of provision when it is unnecessary and it is totally unnecessary in this case. That subsection should provide for a draft of regulations to be laid before the House and provide also for consultations with the industry and with the organisation which is being sponsored. If the Minister is to make regulations which appear suddenly to interfere with a planned sponsored event, which might be of disastrous consequences to the cultural or sporting organisations which had anticipated large-scale sponsorship, there should be a proper opportunity beforehand for these organisations to consult with the Minister and put their point of view as to why they had invited particular firms to sponsor them.

I am not suggesting anything very revolutionary. Section 2 (12) of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1970 states:

An order shall not be made under this section without prior consultation by the Minister with such persons as appear to him to be substantially interested in the general subject-matter of the order unless, in the case of an order under subsection (11) of this section, it is, in the opinion of the Minister, necessary to make the order without such consultation.

It is provided in the Consumer Information Bill enacted earlier this year that an order shall not be made under the Act without prior consultation by the Minister with such persons as appear to him to be substantially interested in the subject matter of the order.

A fair amount has been achieved by the Minister's predecessors by way of consultation with the tobacco industry and related interests in having advertising phased out from television and various other places. It would be fairer to suggest that with the enactment of this legislation there would also be consultation, both with the firms and with the organisations which were to enjoy sponsorship or which enjoy such sponsorship at present, in cases where the Minister proposes to see the level of sponsorship reduced or obliterated completely. I suggest that there should be contained in the Bill a revised subsection allowing in a statutory way for that consultation to take place. I appreciate that the Minister said it is his intention to consult with manufacturers about the contents of the regulations. There should also be the intention to consult with the sporting or cultural organisations which may lose their sponsorship before regulations are made affecting such sponsorship. It is only proper that this consultation should be provided for in a statutory way, as was done in the Consumer Information Act and the Merchandise Marks Act.

If the Minister believes as firmly as he apparently does that it is harmful to have the present degree of tobacco advertising and sponsorship and if he intends phasing that out, then I contend and genuinely believe that the people who should not be hurt by that are the sporting or cultural organisations at present enjoying the benefit of sponsorship. In most cases the reason why these organisations are getting sponsorship from the tobacco firms is that they have not the financial resources to stage the events from their own funds and because over the years they have not received from whatever Government the sort of assistance needed to enable them to operate these events. Sometimes they are of international consequence and sometimes they are no larger than a village fete or carnival. One is not less important than the other because they provide enjoyment and entertainment and improve the general ambience of life. If they are being helped to do that by the tobacco firms because they cannot provide enough from their own resources, then it is more shame on the State for not engaging more in the provision of financial assistance.

If we are really serious in suggesting that the lifestyle of the country will be improved by stopping advertising of tobacco products and stopping sponsorship by tobacco firms, then we should also be prepared to say that the State will make good the money lost to these organisations. I do not know the amount of money put into such organisations at present by the tobacco firms and perhaps the Minister would give some indication of that figure. I invite the Minister seriously to consider this idea. Many more people would believe in his earnestness in the introduction of this Bill were he to say that in relation to the phasing out of sponsorship of existing events he would envisage the replacement of that sponsorship by a Government subsidy or by the sponsorship of a State body or Government-funded body concerned in a direct or indirect way in promoting the general health and well-being of the nation. If this Bill is operated seriously—I was going to say "ruthlessly" but I do not think that would be fair—then in the short term the ones who will suffer are those voluntary groups putting on sporting and cultural events. I think that would not be the intention or desire of any Member of this House. I would have much more enthusiasm for this measure if the Minister were to say that while phasing out sponsorship by tobacco firms he would phase in alternative sponsorship by the State or by State organisations.

The Minister referred in his speech to the growth during the past few years in the provision of non-smoking areas in public places. That is a much more practical way of bringing home to people the dangers and annoyance to non-smokers from smoking than many of the other things which have been done during the past year. I am in a rather unique position to comment on this. For five-and-a half years I was in the ranks of the non-smokers. From their viewpoint I was able to see quite clearly the things which dawned on the Minister at a later date when he joined those ranks. At the end of that five-and-a-half years—I do not know if it was by coincidence or otherwise—I found myself regularly sitting here opposite the Minister listening to him speaking in relation to various pieces of legislation in the health field. Soon afterwards I discovered that I was once again in the ranks of the smokers so I can now look at this legislation from the point of view of someone who is a considerable number of years without smoking and who at the same time understands how a smoker might view the provisions set out in this Bill. I want to say that as someone who smokes I see no objection to the idea of restriction on advertising or restriction on sponsorship. I have a personal point of view in that it has always puzzled me why tobacco firms engaged in the business of sponsoring horse races or golf events and so on because if I smoke brand "A" and spend my afternoon looking at a race meeting sponsored by brand "B" I will still smoke brand "A" on my way home. I presume it is part of the general attempt to develop a good corporate image of being a firm interested in society and interested in keeping its brand name forward.

I can accept that there is expert advice that the more the names of the brands are phased out from sponsorship or from advertising the better chance there is of encouraging people, especially young people, not to smoke or not to begin smoking. I can see that there is a very laudable aim contained in this Bill but I am upset at the confusion that has arisen as to whether or not existing sponsorships are going to be allowed continue and if they are going to be allowed to continue as opposed to sponsorships yet to come I am intrigued to know how that can be achieved in view of the constitutional difficulties. I am also very upset to think that sponsorships might be phased out and it will have the effect in the short term only of hurting the sporting organisations. Let me refer again to the 1977 report of the Medico Social Research Board. When they advocated higher taxation as the means of reducing tobacco consumption, they suggested on page 74 of their report that alternative leisure activities will require developments such as better sports facilities. This is when they were suggesting that there should be a means of attracting young people into worth-while projects. I accept that the Minister's intention is to make the nation healthier by decreasing the interest in tobacco products by striking at the advertising and sponsorships but this may also, in the short term, be hurting some sporting organisations.

I do not know if the Minister has tried already but I think he should have discussions with the Cabinet and with the Minister for Finance to see if on a reasonable basis, as tobacco sponsorship is phased out of sport or out of cultural events, it might be replaced on a guaranteed basis—not just on a hit-and-miss basis—by a Government grant or by sponsorship by a State organisation. This is certainly something which the Government ought to consider and which would be well worth while. I know there are other suggestions such as those in the British Press which will continue to be imported in here under the difficulties which I outlined and on which I would like to hear from the Minister. There are suggestions that there might be a tax levied on each packet of cigarettes or each piece of tobacco product which would go directly into a sports or cultural fund to be used by some of the organisations. I do not know how popular that would be here or how acceptable it would be. I do not know whether the Minister has considered that aspect of finding alternative funding for the sponsored events. Perhaps he would comment on that in his reply.

I welcome the intent of this Bill. I am curious to know what form the regulations will take and I am curious to know what provision will be made for allowing existing sponsorships to continue without being accused of being unfair to organisations that do not enjoy sponsorship at present. I am also genuinely concerned that nothing contained in this Bill when enacted would discriminate more heavily against the wholly Irish-owned firms than it would against the other tobacco products but in so far as it aims to make the nation a healthier place and consequently a better place it would receive my support. There are a few amendments that I would like to table on Committee Stage.

I welcome the whole purpose of this Bill and concur with the Minister in his plea for greater emphasis to be placed on health education and on the preventive aspects of health. Contrary to what many may think, he is doing a good job in this respect. I am conscious of the fact that it is not costing money. I have maintained for a long time that in the field of health extra money does not necessarily mean more health. The evidence is there to date. In 1972 we spent £63 million on the health services and in 1978 this has jumped up to £340 million—this in a matter of six years. It is correct and fair to say that the health of the community has not improved in the meantime. One could throw more and more money into health and one would not necessarily have a healthier society but if one takes the proper steps in the proper directions and in the proper fields one could achieve a much healthier society. If we make serious attempts to eliminate detrimental factors, such as smoking, we can improve the health of our community immeasurably. I cannot agree with Deputy Boland in saying there are so many faults with this Bill that it is better out. I say we have to start somewhere. We must take some steps on the road to improving the health of our community.

It is beyond doubt now that cigarettes are a major source of ill health and mortality in Ireland. It has also been established that cancer of the lung is on the increase both in men and in women and the consequences of this disease are really disastrous. To see people with it and to know that one must tell them that they have only a couple of years to live is very sad. It is sad to know that the clock cannot be turned back and that the damage has been done by cigarettes. The evidence is irrefutable in this matter. It is very serious. To think that these people have been exploited and used by tobacco companies is reprehensible. In situations such as this we are obliged to take measures to try to protect our people Besides the cancer with its high figure that the Minister referred to, which itself is a conservative figure because of the fact that I have known patients who have died of cancer of the lung and it has not been put on the death certificate and there are many more cases such as this. The enormous amount of ill health as a result of cigarette smoking in the form of bronchitis, emphysema and bronchial asthma is really sad. This smoking habit which results in chronic pulmonary ill health is responsible for personal misery, misery in the family, disability, lost working days. In purely economic terms the cost to the State is phenomenal as the Minister has rightly pointed out.

The Minister will agree that the figures he has made available to us are on the conservative side. The Department have done the best they could with the figures they had, but the situation is a lot worse than the Minister has described. We have the serious disability of thousands of our people suffering from coronary heart disease directly attributable to cigarette smoking. We know the effects of cigarette smoking on the baby in the womb.

We are obliged therefore to call a halt to the manufacturers who have used every means known to them to promote their products. They have been ruthless, unscrupulous, without any regard to the damage they have done to our people through their subtle advertising. They have instilled the idea in young people's minds that cigarette smoking is associated with all sorts of athletic prowess and physical good health.

We have got to stop them in their tracks. We must not show mercy to them. Deputy Boland said that we should not be unfair to Irish cigarette manufacturers. What have those people done? They have not invested any money in research. I have questioned them over the years and they have evaded my specific question, "How much money have you invested in research?" They have instilled fears in their employees that their jobs will be at stake if cigarette advertising is to be stopped. The employees have come to me and said they would be out of jobs if I were to advocate legislation against cigarette advertising.

Now that advertising has been banned from television the cigarette manufacturers have employed other means. They have worked scientifically and have got their messages across on television by sports promotions. Although they may not advertise on television they have been putting up the biggest posters possible at televised race and other sports meetings. They have exploited television by every means at their disposal and they will continue to do so unless effective action is taken.

This Bill has been severely watered down from the Minister's original concept of what is needed, and I am not casting any reflection on his integrity. His intention originally was that all tobacco company sponsorship of sports would end, but the vested interests have used their powers and have said: "Thus far shalt thou go and no further". They have money and power at their command at the highest levels, at banking level, and they can use that power. Deputy Noel Browne introduced a Private Members Bill to try to get tobacco advertising stopped and it was finally decided by the Minister that each cigarette package should contain a note of warning. However, the manufacturers ensured that the warning could not be read readily because of the type face they used. The warning also read that "Smoking can damage your health". There is no doubt that smoking is injurious to health. The American Surgeon General has decided that it is.

They are going to change that.

I hope so and I hope the Minister will tell them that the type face used in the warning must be absolutely clear. These vested interests are using all means to hoodwink the House and the public. As I have said, they have promoted advertising aimed specifically at the young people, the result being that there are more and more young people smoking. Deputy Boland told us he would never be enticed to use one brand instead of another. The fact is that most of the brands are produced by one company, so there is not a thing to that argument.

We must reckon the enormous cost to the State in human terms and the enormous revenue the State has got from tobacco and is continuing to get. The State has been using that revenue for its own purpose, and that is wrong in itself. I congratulate the Minister on introducing the Bill but I should like him to go to the Minister for Finance and advise him that the total revenue from tobacco duty be devoted to the establishment of a national sports council who would ensure forthwith that sports sponsorship by tobacco companies would end and that the promotion of physical health would be pursued at every level. That is what is needed. If the reply of the Minister for Finance is in the affirmative then we will know there is serious intent behind this Bill. Without that intent the Bill is useless. The Minister for Health is in conflict with the Department of Finance whose job it is to collect the revenue from cigarette duty. The Minister must say: "To hell with cigarettes and their manufacturers. We will use this money for a purpose". Then the Bill will have teeth and purpose. Then the Government will show their sincerity—I do not doubt the Minister's personal sincerity.

We all know that the survival of the newspapers depends on cigarette advertising and that it would be disastrous if our newspapers were to be affected adversely. Therefore, I should like to see some means being provided to compensate them. We have been given the phrase "to restrict advertising and control expenditure". That is ambiguous. How do you do it? Will the Minister go on last year's budget? How will it be decided? I do not wish to cast any reflection on the Minister's intelligence but I am afraid they will hoodwink him on this matter.

I would not be too sure about that.

It is on the record of this House. I have no hesitation in saying that in two years' time the situation will be the same as it is today. I know the devious way in which they work. How will the Minister estimate the total expenditure?

I know what it is.

They can provide any figures they like and the Minister will have no way of knowing. They can inflate the figures any way they like. The Minister is shadow boxing. Will the estimates be reliable? Will some certificate be signed by an independent auditor to ensure that the figures are accurate?

We have accurate figures.

We should not proceed on this matter by way of question and answer.

We should have this important information. We are going to legislate on this issue and it is wrong if we do so in a vacuum. Figures from Government Departments are woefully inaccurate in other areas and I cannot see how they will be reliable with regard to the amount spent on advertising.

The Deputy will be able to tease out these questions on Committee Stage by way of question and answer.

It appears from the provisions in this Bill that the Government will permit advertising and this nullifies the purpose of the Bill. There are various other measures that the Minister might consider within the framework of the Bill. We should consider encouraging the insurance industry to offer special incentives to those in charge of businesses and public buildings who forbid smoking on their premises. The insurance companies could offer a reduction in the insurance premium. This could go a long way towards curtailing or eliminating smoking in public buildings. The owners of cinemas might be offered a similar incentive on condition that they forbade smoking on their premises.

We should create as much inconvenience as possible for smokers, not to restrict their freedom but in their own interest when we know smoking is so damaging to their health. This is nothing new or innovative on my part. People are not allowed to smoke in cinemas in the United States; there is an interval during a film show and if people wish to smoke they must do so in a restricted area. Such measures might be of help in encouraging people to give up cigarette smoking. With regard to the matter of reaching agreement with the tobacco manufacturers on the content of the regulations, this appears to me as if we are once again playing into their hands. They will decide what form will suit them; otherwise the regulations will not be implemented. That means the vested interests in the tobacco industry will take over.

In the light of all of these points I wonder if we are achieving anything by the Bill? Can we amend it even now to make it more effective? Can we get the co-operation of the Minister for Finance to ensure that the Bill is effective and that the cultural and sporting organisations who will suffer as a result are compensated or helped in some other way? I do not agree that there should be a lapse of time before sponsorship stops. I do not think those involved in the tobacco industry have any interest in sports or in cultural activities. They are not benevolent societies. That is not their purpose.

When will the provisions of the Bill be implemented? Will it happen this year? The misuse of drugs legislation was passed more than a year ago and I was surprised to learn that it will require a set of regulations before it can come into effect. I should like the Minister to tell me if the regulations with regard to the Bill before the House will be made this year or will it be another two or three years? Will we get the same reply as we got to-day with regard to the Misuse of Drugs Act?

They will be made this year, as soon as the Bill is passed. They will become effective immediately after that.

Because of my ignorance regarding the matter I did not ask the same question when we were dealing with the legislation on the misuse of drugs and I was astounded to hear that the provisions of that Act have not come into effect. Have we an assurance from the Minister that this Bill will be implemented by the end of this year?

I told the Deputy that the regulations will be made almost immediately the legislation is passed. I have indicated that some of the points in the legislation are in operation already. There will be no delay. The Deputy need not worry about that.

Understandable concern was expressed by Deputy Boland about magazines and newspapers imported here which contain cigarette advertising and I suppose that is a fair point. I wonder if the Minister has taken the initiative in consulting with his opposite number in Britain on what measures they propose taking with regard to restricting cigarette advertising? I feel sure he will get full co-operation from the Minister there; in fact, he may succeed in persuading Mr. David Ennals to introduce more effective measures in Britain. I should also like to know from the Minister if he has consulted the Ministers of Health in the other EEC countries with regard to this matter. Perhaps he will explain to us if the EEC propose bringing into effect any directives, recommendations or orders with regard to cigarette advertising in the EEC. If that is being done, this Bill may be superseded by regulations or directives that will be more effective. The Minister knows that the Brussels bureaucracy is much more powerful now than Dáil Eiréann. The Minister should have some information on what steps are being taken in this direction by the EEC. They have been leading the field in so many areas akin to this and it may be that they have some proposals on this matter also. I would not be too alarmed if that were the case. In fact, I should welcome any such directives or proposals. I would be very glad if the Minister could persuade his colleague in Britain to adopt the necessary measures to restrict cigarette advertising in newspapers and magazines that are imported here. This is a very important point.

We should aim to eliminate cigarette smoking completely. I do not think it is an impossible task if it is approached in the right way. We should allay the fears of employees that they might lose their jobs if this happens. It is a very real fear and we should do something to help in such a situation.

Another point that should be considered is the state of ill-health that results from smoking. I can envisage the day when it may be decided by a Department of Health that those who damage their health may have to pay for the consequences. If ill-health is brought about deliberately by the individual concerned then the individual may have to pay the cost. As the Minister knows, the cost can be phenomenal in hospitalisation and disability. Self-inflicted illnesses by persons in their right senses should not be the concern of one's neighbour. I can see this happening in this country and indeed world-wide with escalating costs of health services.

I was wondering if the Minister and his Department could try to establish a closer liaison with the Department of Education in bringing to schools a programme of health education with regard to smoking. More and more young people are smoking at eight, nine and ten years of age and we are encouraging it in no uncertain way. Could the Minister under the provisions of this Bill bring this "No smoking" campaign into the schools and explain to them the detrimental effects of smoking and have this as part of the health education which is badly needed at primary school level? If we could get to them at that age we would achieve a lot and I would like to see this as a really determined plan.

The Minister has succeeded in many ways, because I find that people smoking in my presence always refer to the Minister and apologise for smoking. Women are smoking more and more and I hear them saying, "We are not one of Charlie's angels" because they are smoking. His campaign is having an effect and does not cost any money and that is why I am in favour of it. However, I would like to see the Minister carrying it one step further by instituting a "No smoking" week in encouraging people to overcome cigarette smoking. Let us have some research into how this could be done. It is important to rid the community of this obnoxious habit. There are all sorts of gimmicks, gadgets and drugs to help people give up smoking and we should try to find some way to help people who are afflicted with the obnoxious habit. We are not trying to curtail their freedom, but we could, for instance, encourage insurance companies to offer a rebate to people who do not smoke. We could go one stage further and in addition to having "No smoking" zones in planes and so on have one hour on flights when there would be no smoking whatever. There are many small ways of encouraging people to give up cigarettes. Having a "No smoking" zone is not effective in itself. I would like to see cinemas and other public places having all sorts of ways to discourage it and to make it appear that it is a habit offensive both to health and socially.

I ask the Minister whether the help of the World Health Organisation is being sought by his Department. The World Health Assembly said in May of this year that the WHO would be willing to assist Governments in any way possible by way of promotional activities to carry out a "No smoking" campaign and they have great means at their disposal for doing this. I ask the Minister to look into this to see what can be done.

I am sorry that the original intention of the Minister has been watered down. I have not got concern or sympathy for our Irish manufacturers and I am satisfied that there should be a determined attempt to stop smoking altogether. Consultation with the Minister's British colleague might help to stop cigarette advertising appearing in Irish newspapers. It can be done very easily and I do not think it would involve cutting out pages and so forth because we can tell British publishers that magazines and so on coming into this country should not contain such advertising. The same effective measures have been taken with regard to football pools and contraceptives. There was no lack of determination on the part of the authorities when contraceptives were advertised in British periodicals; they could not come into this country and neither could magazines advertising football pools. The British publishers adjusted things accordingly and there is no reason why that could not be done in this case.

I share Deputy O'Connell's view about this Bill. It is really all shadow and very little substance.

No welcome?

Yes, a very limited welcome. The Minister probably knows that this has been the subject of controversy for a very long time. I think I started asking questions in the early 1950s. Certainly in 1957 I was given an answer by the then Minister, Deputy MacEntee, and his case then was that, in view of the incomplete and insufficient knowledge, he would not do anything about it but he would keep the matter under observation. Subsequently Ministers of all parties right up to and including Deputy Corish in the last Government were unwilling or unable to do anything about it. I put the present Minister in the unable rather than the unwilling category because I suspect he has paid a lot of attention to his Department. He is very interested in trying to operate as a conscientious Minister. I do not think this Bill is a significant advance in the very long struggle against this most powerful vested interest, the cigarette manufacturing industry.

The Deputy is an odd man. At least we have a Bill.

I shall try to itemise the reasons for my objections.

The Deputy does not give any credit for the fact that at least we have a Bill after all those years.

It is true of Deputy O'Connell and myself that we accept that we are not killjoys who want to stop people enjoying themselves and those who get pleasure out of smoking because all of us accept that pipe smoking and, for those who can afford it, cigar smoking is not believed to be a serious danger to health. It is only cigarette smoking that is the serious danger and most of our criticism will be limited to the question of the sponsorship and sale of cigarettes as tobacco products.

I asked many questions about this through the years and in 1964 I introduced a Bill which got a reading. It was discussed for three or four days but was negatived in February 1965. I got virtually no support for it. If my recollection is correct, Deputy Tully was one of the few people who supported me. However, the consistency and the universality of the failure of the different Ministers in the three major parties, the Labour Party, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, is of great significance. They all came to know, as much as I did, about the dangers of cigarette smoking and yet the issue which I believe determined this matter was that of revenue. That is not a cynical comment; it is a realistic one. The influence behind each of the Ministers, the one piece of policy on which there was all-party agreement, was that the revenue from cigarette smoking was such that the several Ministers for Finance would not permit their Ministers for Health to deny them access to that source of revenue. There may be variations of that analysis but broadly speaking it is true. That is why I say that the Minister for Health knows this situation better than his predecessors, better than Deputy Childers, Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy MacEntee and others.

The Minister has up-to-date information of such a kind that there is no denying the fact that cigarette smoking is everything I claimed it was 25 years ago but even more than that. At that time I restricted myself, based on very fine research work carried out at Oxford, to stating that the impression I got from that research work was that in respect of lung cancer cigarette smoking was a very serious causative factor. The then Minister for Health was within his rights in saying that the evidence then was not convincing. He was also within his rights in saying that when there was more convincing evidence he would do something about it but he did not do anything. However, this Minister cannot say that. The Minister's speech is remarkable in so far as he has made such an overwhelming and unanswerable case for the total suppression of any kind of advertisement. The Minister has painted a picture of social and physical devastation and told us of the enormous amount of human distress which occurs as a consequence of cigarette smoking but having itemised all those devastating truths as the Minister responsible for health, preventive medicine and the other aspects of medicine, he claimed credit for the almost irrelevant campaigns he has introduced in relation to national fitness and moderation in relation to the consumption of alcohol.

The Minister is not making any serious attempt to deal with either alcohol or a fitness campaign because both demand the expenditure of money. The fitness campaign demands the expenditure of money in the provision of playing facilities for youngsters while in relation to alcohol there is a need for the total suppression of advertising but the Minister is not going to do that either. The pattern of this speech is reflected in the Minister's superficial approach to his very serious responsibilities. Very serious proposals are required from him. They are very difficult proposals and I do not wish to minimise the attempt by any Minister to take on the great beer barons or the tobacco moguls. A very formidable task faces any Minister for Health in any society. Most of them have had their troubles but it is wrong of our Minister to create the impression that he is in fact doing something about the matter.

I am legislating.

And in legislating the Minister enunciates his proposals to do something about a problem. That is the purpose of legislation. In all these important issues the Minister has indulged in a very elaborate public relations activity. That is one of the depressing features of modern politics and the last election saw that. We had an increasing development of American-style politics where a lot of money was spent obfuscating the real issues and effectively misleading the people into thinking that what they are being told is something which is really going to mitigate their problems or deal with the issues most of them face in their lives.

This problem is at least 25 years old. The Minister read his own unanswerable litany of the indictment against cigarette smoking in any society. I would like to read part of it again. He told us that the 31st World Health Assembly said that "Tobacco smoking is a major cause of chronic bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer and is a major risk factor in heart attacks, some pregnancy related disorders and other serious health problems", and they called on all members to take action. He reminded us that—

In 1975, there were 1,191 deaths from lung cancer....70 per cent of these deaths are attributable to smoking.

He said that in 1975 250 deaths in the active age group 35 to 64 were caused by chronic bronchitis and 175 of these were attributable to smoking. He went on to say that—

Coronary heart disease caused 9,795 deaths in the same year. There are a number of factors associated with such deaths but it is accepted that cigarette smoking is a major causative factor and over 1,000 of these deaths can be attributed to it.

Let us clearly accept, therefore, that in 1975 at least 2,000 Irish men and women died because they smoked. And there is no reason, unfortunately, to believe that the number would be any less for 1978.

He went on to say:

It has been estimated, for example, that as a direct result of smoking over 6,500 people between 25 and 74 required hospital treatment in 1977 and that they spent over 100,000 bed-days in hospital in that year.

The hospital admission figures are, of course, the tip of the iceberg...in the general medical services over 70,000 calls on general practitioners are the direct result of smoking.

He then told us that the total number of working days lost through tobacco associated illnesses would cost £30 million and the cost of treating the diseases would be £15 million to £45 million. Leaving aside distress, suffering, disability, lost man working days, cost to the State, cost to the services, avoidable occupation of hospital beds, clinics, out-patient departments, general practitioners' time and services, £45 million would be spent on something which is totally avoidable.

Having given us that recitation of horror—as Deputy O'Connell said, lung cancer is a particularly horrible disease—the Minister then went on to tell us that he is going to do little or nothing about it.

That is not true. The Deputy should not mislead the House.

The Minister's speech goes on to say:

I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to interfere with existing sponsorships....

I did not say he was doing nothing, I said he was doing little or nothing. This is the answer of a responsible Minister who told us that cigarette smoking is the source of so much distress in society:

I would like to make it clear that it is not my intention to interfere with existing sponsorships to any great extent....

At present.

Why not at present? What are we waiting for? He said later:

I will go carefully into the extent of the sales promotion of tobacco products engaged in during the event sponsored.

We have been waiting a long time for this Bill, at least a year. Why has this not been done up to now? Why did the Minister need a Bill in order to go into the extent of sales promotion? There are two things I welcome.


"All forms of outdoor poster and sign advertising will be phased out by the end of the year". That is a positive achievement and I congratulate the Minister on taking the decision to do that. Presumably that includes all forms of advertising in the cases mentioned by Deputy O'Connell at sports venues of one kind or another.

I congratulate the Minister because that was one of the previous ways in which they got round the advertising prohibitions. Also welcome are the proposals in relation to CIE—asking them to do what they can to stop cigarette smoking on trains and having no smoking areas—Aer Lingus, hoteliers, health boards and hospitals. This is long overdue but it is welcome that the Minister has taken the decision to use these powers, that the Minister for Finance cannot interfere with their implementation.

This is my case. Those proposals are minimal. They are relatively ineffective in their overall effect on the very powerful advertisements which the Minister is going to continue to allow, because this Bill is going to prohibit only particular kinds of advertising and sponsorship. Was the Minister compelled to bring in a Bill of this kind because of the 16th report on misleading and unfair advertising of the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the European Communities? When he talks about particular kinds of advertising I presume he is talking about advertising which would be misleading, that is, the advertising used all through the years which was grossly misleading, thoroughly dishonest, highly immoral, most improper, but in the pursuit of profits perfectly permissible in our western capitalist societies.

Certainly with regard to the GAA, which has such a very high standing in our society and which represents so much of the valuable activities of young people in the whole of Ireland, rural and urban—a magnificent organisation, very well organised and controlled—it has always struck me as short sighted to say the least, and irresponsible, at the worst, that they have allowed themselves, for the sake of sponsorship, to give youngsters, young sportsmen, the idea that this fine organisation has considered the whole question of cigarette smoking and has subscribed to the propaganda suggesting that it was not really a bad or dangerous thing. Certainly for years I have had to put up with that—that they could safely smoke cigarettes. This is what sponsorship by the GAA and other athletic bodies has subscribed to over the years.

I notice that the British Amateur Athletic Association decided recently to drop the idea of accepting sponsorship. I believe the GAA should also drop all question of sponsorship and decline to involve themselves. Of course the whole idea of sponsorship is a completely fraudulent claim by these tobacco companies that they have the slightest interest in the welfare of the different organisations, whether it be a golfing association, the horse racing industry, the GAA or any of the other athletic institutions with which they get involved and for which they sponsor different activities.

It is well known that there are tax rebates on the funds spent on advertising. in fact, as with all advertising, it is the consumer who pays. It does not cost the Mr. Carroll's, the Mr. Player's, the Mr. Wills, the Mr. Gold Flake, or whoever they are, a penny to sponsor these various athletic activities. On the contrary, they simply use it as a very valuable and effective advertising device, getting round—as Deputy O'Connell said—the ordinary newspaper advertising, ending up with the support of people who should know better and who should not have anything to do with them at all. Further, it is quite wrong that an organisation like the GAA, a golfing association or racing people should go looking for this kind of sponsorship or that we, the State, the community, in various ways, directly or indirectly, should provide for these things. In the first instance it is a fraudulent, non-existing generosity. But even if it was not it is most improper that we should permit this continued sponsorship.

The Minister goes on to say that he will restrict expenditure in these areas. That means nothing at all: take six pence off, a shilling, or five shillings, a £ or £1,000—if he would stop expenditure in these areas——

Would the Deputy accept freezing it?

No. As I pointed out to the Minister recently—I do not know whether it was a most insolent rebuff to his undertaking to do something about this—week after week, both the Sunday Press and Sunday Independent carried enormous technicoloured advertisements by the tobacco companies. That seemed to me to be flouting the indication given by the Minister that he was opposed to this kind of thing and that we were opposed to this kind of thing in here.

The level of expenditure at present is much too high. I am afraid the Minister must face the fact that merely restricting particular kinds of advertising, limiting expenditure by unstated amounts or controlling the form and content of tobacco advertising means nothing.

It means nothing. I have listened to all of this before when we set up a committee to "vet" the various advertisements.

But we will now have legislation; that is the difference.

Within the legislation we are no nearer the prohibition of advertisements or of sponsorship. We are simply window-dressing in order to face up to the reality that the case against cigarette smoking has become so overwhelming that not to do something about it would amount to a major scandal even in this docile, passive and, in these things, permissive society where anything goes as long as there is money in it.

The Deputy asked for legislation last June. Now he has it and he does not even offer a word of welcome. The Deputy accused me of cowardice last June for not bringing in legislation.

There is legislation and legislation, for Heaven's sake.

You can do anything you wish under this legislation.

Yes, but it is not what I wish that will get done; what the Minister wishes will get done.

The legislation gives me power to do anything I wish; it is totally comprehensive.

Why has the Minister not taken the power?

I have taken the power in the legislation. The Deputy should read the Bill.

I the Minister's speech much more informative.

The Bill gives total power to do anything we wish.

And do nothing at all if you equally wish. The Minister has a responsibility to us to explain the reasons for the vagueness of the Bill. Indeed, any attempted indictment of the Minister's inertia and inaction in this has really been taken from the Minister's own statement. Something that intrigues me is the enigmatic and curious behaviour of virtually all Deputies with the exception of a few—Deputy O'Connell and people like that—and the positive hysteria there is about the idea of drug addiction, the proposals to establish all sorts of repressive laws, regulations, institutions and prohibitions against drugs.

We heard it today in the House in relation to marijuana. There has been a real witchhunt over the years in relation to young drug addicts. As far as I am concerned I take up no moral attitude whatever about cigarette smoking. Cigarette smokers are people attempting to deal with their neurosis, people with an emotional problem, and they deal with it by taking a suck on a cigarette. The origin in Freudian terms would be the child who sucks on the breast and the more agitated he is the faster he sucks and so on. Cigarette smoking can be related back to a very primitive need in an individual and for that reason I would never judge them; one is answering a need, as somebody else needs a drink and somebody else needs heroin and somebody else needs marijuana. There is a hypercritical attitude among many Deputies to the youngster who finds that he needs to solve his problem in these ways that are not socially acceptable and there is a totally complacent attitude by the same Deputies in relation to cigarette smoking. As we have seen, it costs us an enormous amount of money. The Minister's latest figure is something in the region of £45 million, and it is probably more than that.

I will digress for a moment to deal with something raised by Deputy O'Connell in relation to expenditure. I refer to an answer I got yesterday from the Taoiseach's Department concerning advertising costs and so on in relation to cigarette smoking. The Taoiseach said that the information requested was not available since no official series are compiled relating to advertising expenditure on particular commodities.

The Minister gave the impression that he knew how much money was being spent, although on occasions I have asked the Department of Health how much they spend and I have never got anything more than what they call a guess.

Under this Bill I will be entitled to get this information from the tobacco companies. In advance of the legislation I have already obtained these figures from the tobacco companies. I know them exactly now.

Up to this afternoon I was unable to get them from the Department of Health. That is odd, is it not?

Does the Deputy accept what I am saying?

Of course, but I did not get them.

I now know exactly what the tobacco companies spend on advertising.

Yet on 11 October I asked the Taoiseach this question and he said he did not know. Why did the Minister not tell the Taoiseach?

This information was supplied to me in advance of this legislation for the purpose of this legislation.

It is getting more and more curious.

It is not; it is perfectly straightforward.

It is not secret information. I should have got it, as it would probably have helped me in this debate.

The Deputy knows well that it is not information supplied to the normal statistical service of the Government. It is specific information given to me in pursuance of this Bill and the Central Statistics Office would not be aware of it. There is nothing mysterious.

I do not see why Deputy O'Connell and the rest of us should not have had access to that information. That is a reasonable comment to make.

I was dealing with the hypercritical attitude of society to this question of drugs. It involves my profession. I have frequently been somewhat amused to see one of my colleagues advising somebody to give up one or the other of these drugs while he is busily sucking away on a cigarette unable to deal with his own problem. In relation to our attitude to cigarette smoking the Minister says—and this again is where the strange ambivalence exists, as expressed by the Minister and as applies to most of the community—that he hopes those who smoke and who wish to continue to smoke will not feel that they are being unduly discriminated against, that he is not entitled and has no wish to interfere with the right of any citizen to decide whether or not he or she will smoke.

That is a fair and liberal statement, but is it not true that we take this power in certain circumstances where we are dealing with what is not a socially accepted drug, like marijuana? We say "You may not"; indeed, some people say that people should go to jail for smoking marijuana. That is absurd. The case against cigarette smoking is completely unanswerable, supported by evidence from all over the world, from all the reputable research bodies in the world, the United States, Russia and Europe. Yet the Minister makes the extraordinary statement that he does not wish to appear to be discriminating against those who smoke cigarettes. Why are we content to be so specific about one and withhold any kind of restriction or limitation from the other, or feel that we must? Possibly the answer is in the reply to a question on the amount of excise on cigarettes. In 1950 it was £13.5 million and in 1977 it was £77.6 million. This must be the reason why this Bill is so completely inadequate in its objective. Years ago the Government were unwilling to do anything about it, using the excuse that they did not know enough. The Minister is giving us much the same answer to-day, but he is going to a little more trouble to disguise the inertia which he shares with these other people.

The Deputy is a very dishonest man.

I have heard worse, from more reliable people.

The difficulty about this whole tobacco debate all through the years has been not only the enormous vested interest but the vested interest as it applies to the newspapers. Just as they build up control in various athletic bodies, quite obviously they exercise enormous control through advertising revenue in the newspapers. The result of that is that the policy of the editors, whatever the working journalist may feel, is that not a lot will be said about the real tragedy to so many people of the cigarette industry.

The issue has been played down. I recall many other issues down through the years that were given the headlines in the Evening Press or the Evening Herald. For instance, when something happened in Summerhill we were made aware of it. We read of the vandalism or of the young thugs. The newspapers concentrated on issues about which they could become hysterical safely. It was considered all right to hunt people who did not really matter—the young and the underprivileged. Such issues were safe targets for the newspapers but we can be sure that this horrible story the Minister has told us will not make the headlines, this story of death, of suffering, loss of parents, loss of other loved ones, disability, the number of beds occupied unnecessarily, the working days lost to the country and so on. Such a story would interfere with the revenue in respect of the mass circulation of the newspapers.

The Deputy cannot accuse me of concealing the facts.

I thought I had done my humble best to deal thoroughly with the Minister in this regard. The harsh reality is that the press are very powerful. If they were to turn the great guns, the golden pens of these remarkably talented men and women in journalistic life in Ireland against cigarette smoking to anything like the extent to which they have turned them against other issues down through the years, the Minister would have no problem in respect of his efforts to persuade people to give up smoking, these efforts he is making in this rather indefinite and equivocal way in the Bill. We will not have the support of the newspapers because they are as much blackmailed as is the Minister in terms of revenue. The revenue to the Exchequer as a result of cigarette sales is of the order of £79 million while revenue to the newspapers is of about the same amount. Consequently, the newspapers have a vested interest in remaining silent. Newspapers have a powerful influence for good but it is a power that they chose not to exercise.

The Minister has produced a particularly brilliant indictment of the whole question of cigarette smoking but I collected a few points which, at the risk of boring the House, I should like to put on the record. My investigations indicate that the total incidence of lung cancer in any country is related directly to the amount and duration of cigarette smoking, that many tests have shown that the lung function of cigarette smokers is impaired in every known respect compared with non-smokers. In addition combined recent evidence strengthens the view that cigarette smoking is a major factor in both fatal and non-fatal myo-cardial infection, acting both independently and synergistically. The incidence of peptic ulcers is twice as high in smokers compared with non-smokers and in respect of pregnancy there is a significantly higher perinatal death rate compared with non-smokers. That is the gory record of the cigarette industry in our society.

The Minister and his predecessor endeavoured to deal with the problem by way of a counter-advertising campaign but it was futile for them to try to outdo the great tobacco baronets with their unlimited expenditure. It is very difficult to understand why the Minister who has the backing of a majority of 20 in Government—something which was not enjoyed by his predecessor—did not clamp down on cigarette advertising. Instead, a lot of money has been spent uselessly without the slighest hope of influencing even a minority of cigarette smokers. I might add that watching the advertisements sponsored by the Department there were times when I did not know whether they were in favour of or against smoking because of their being so equivocal and, to me anyway, confused. The money spent in this way by the Department in 1976 was about £115,000. In 1977 the figure was £350,000 while the last figure I have for the amount spent by the cigarette people in this way is £4 million or almost ten to one.

One of the interesting developments in cigarette smoking has been the tendency on the part of doctors to give up smoking. It is not definite whether this is because they know what it is like to die of lung cancer or whether they belong to a "higher educational group" as they are described in the survey. I am not sure whether that is true.

As I am not a doctor, the Deputy need not apologise to me.

It is interesting to find that people in the lower educational categories tend to smoke more than others. As an ex-smoker I appreciate the difficulty of giving up cigarettes and also of resisting the temptation to smoke again. Nicotine can be described as one of the dependent drugs. It develops to that stage. Associated with withdrawal are such symptoms as anxiety, fatigue, irritability and nervousness. The unfortunate people who are doing their best to control their neurosis, which is what cigarette smoking is, will reach for a cigarette when they are upset or disturbed or under pressure. I would be delighted to give the Minister the highest praise for this Bill if it was not so copiously festooned with those provisos and escape clauses. I am afraid I am too long in politics to take the goodwill expressed by Ministers at any particular time in relation to any Bills they might introduce.

Or give any credit.

I am grateful to the Minister for coming into the House to support me with the devastating collection of facts he has made available to us in which he built up a completely unanswerable case after 25 years since I began talking about this in 1953. It is some help that the Minister has brought in this documented case against cigarette smoking but I am very disappointed that he has not had the courage to do more than that. I believe if he got sufficient encouragement from his colleagues that he would have given us a worthwhile Bill. This Bill, as I said in my opening remarks, is all shadow and there is no substance in it. It certainly will not achieve the objectives I have.

If the criterion laid down by Deputy Browne concerning neurosis is that if one is a smoker one is a neurotic it is better to declare ourselves on this point initially. I welcome this Bill and I am grateful to have the opportunity of speaking about what I consider are the advantages in it. I also hope to offer some constructive criticism with regard to what the present position is.

I believe the Bill was produced in good faith, that it is based on a certain degree of hope and that for its implementation a certain degree of charity is required. Perhaps too much charity is required when one considers the failings of human nature. While the Minister must be lauded for his efforts to have a healthier population there is a certain amount of conflict in his approach. When one looks at the massive programme for physical fitness, which he has launched, through involvement in sport and physical fitness and one takes that in conjunction with this Bill it shows a certain degree of conflict to me. I believe the Minister has got a very favourable response to his massive campaign for physical fitness. There are some people who are not fit to take the exercise he is urging them to take but in their enthusiasm to satisfy him they are doing things which they normally would not do and possibly should not do and are likely to do harm to themselves.

The Bill before the House in its simplistic form is doing two things. It is trying to curtail the advertising of tobacco and tobacco products. There is also a proposal to curtail sponsorship by cigarette companies. Since this debate began I have listened to many speakers give their views on sponsorship. The conflict comes in where, on the one hand, the Minister is telling the people to participate in sport and exercise themselves and on the other hand, he is now saying that certain types of sport which up to now have received sponsorship and those which in the future might come into existence because of financial aid from tobacco sources, will no longer receive this. He is saying: "Thou shalt not take part in that sport because the finance to provide that facility will not be there."

I hope the Minister will be able to provide the sponsorship which he is now saying should not be provided by the tobacco industry. Up to now he has had a very cheap ride in asking the people to go out and participate in sport. This has cost neither him nor the Government anything. Now, if the idea to urge people to participate in sport is not to come from sponsorship by the tobacco industry we now have to ask if the Minister will provide the kind of sponsorship which those people were providing. If he is prepared to do that I believe that what he is now trying to do will succeed and his campaign for a healthier nation will also succeed. I hope he will be able to tell us if he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is in regard to sponsorship.

Debate adjourned.