Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 25 Oct 1978

Vol. 308 No. 7

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

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

Before lunch I was referring to the section dealing with advertising. Perhaps the Chair will bear with me if I seem to be repetitious in my approach, but because of the fragmented nature of the debate it is difficult to retain a logical train of thought in the matter.

I had been pointing out to the Minister the problems that might arise with regard to the control and/or prohibition of certain kinds of advertising and I referred in this context to officers of the health board and their role in implementing these controls. I was making the point that under the present legislation, that is, the Consumer Information Act, there are specific controls in relation to certain advertising, namely, misleading advertising. Provisions of that Act that relate to misleading advertising are to be implemented by the Director of Consumer Affairs. I can see problems here. I can see overlapping of responsibility, but I can see also a grey area, the brightening of which will depend entirely on a definition of what is misleading advertising and, secondly, of what kind of advertising the Minister for Health and Social Welfare has in mind.

While I can see that the Director of Consumer Affairs will be responsible in the area of misleading advertising, the officials in the Department will be responsible for certain kinds of advertising. Are we to take it that this certain kind of advertising need not be misleading advertising, that it could be legitimate and lawful advertising and, if so, is there raised any legal or possibly constitutional matter? If the Minister says that his officials will be responsible for certain types of advertising which are legitimate, whose responsibility will it be, for example, if an advertisement appears which concerns the tobacco industry but which is misleading? Will the responsibility then rest with the Director of Consumer Affairs or will it rest with officials of the Department? There is a conflict here which I trust the Minister will be able to clarify. We will have now two parallel controlling bodies working largely in the same area with one given over totally to the question of misleading advertising and the other to the advertising of tobacco and tobacco products, with the two being kept apart.

I understand that the Minister has specified outdoor advertising. I think I am right in assuming that he is talking about advertising on hoardings, shop fronts, the exteriors of buildings and so on. If that is so, we are into an area where the provisions of this Bill can be side-tracked very easily through what is known in the business as in-store advertising. I am sure that at this moment the tobacco industry is giving some thought to expansion of in-store advertising. It can be done, and is being done, through the provision of certain kinds of display stands and other devices to attract customers to purchase specific commodities. I would like the Minister to clarify if the prohibition on advertising extends to all types of advertising, apart from radio, television, hoardings and public displays in the open air.

We now come to what I would regard as a rather difficult area—if we apply the criteria laid down by the Minister with regard to outdoor advertising—that is, shop fronts. The name of the shop owner is over the door, put there in many cases at substantial expense, in a very decorative manner and often incorporating an advertisement for a particular kind of tobacco product. To eradicate the reference to the tobacco product would involve defacing that decorative name sign which, in turn, would involve the shopkeeper in substantial expense replacing possibly the whole unit.

I know for a fact that at this very moment there are certain sign manufacturers smacking their lips at the thought of the vast expansion in their business through the demand there will be for the replacement of these shop signs. Consequently, we are back to square one. If that situation comes about through ministerial action, the shopkeeper will be involved in substantial expense because I understand these signs can be very expensive. Naturally we can expect the cost of this imposition will be passed on to the consumer in the long run. These are but a few of the grey areas which I can visualise arising out of the proposed legislation in its present form.

As I said, the Bill is but a framework in which the Minister is given absolute power to amend, change, expand on or eliminate any idea he thinks might be suitable at a given time. The Minister in his wisdom may be able to surmount these problems and come to an amicable agreement with the industry and the people involved but in the case of advertising he is not dealing with the tobacco industry alone, he is dealing with a vast area of other activities—the provision of signs and people's jobs. I am sure the Minister in no way intends to do anything that would worsen the unemployment position.

The other aspect of the Bill to which I object strongly—so far I have been trying to be constructive—is the provision in section 3 where the regulations made by the Minister are laid before the House. I tried on one occasion to have an order which was laid before the House discussed within the statutory time. I was given to understand that the normal procedure was that the Government provide time for discussion of such an order. My experience was that the Government failed to make Government time available. I was told that if I were to pursue this matter I should make the time available out of Private Members' Time. This is a parliamentary device. But in dealing with this kind of legislation, which is so vague and so open to ministerial intervention, it is unfortunate that the precedent has been set where the Government need not make time available for discussion on the proposed annulment of an order.

The Minister could stand up here and give an assurance that this will not happen in this Bill but he would be foolish to do that because he would not be able to stand over that guarantee. The position is that the Minister can introduce certain orders, efforts may be made to have them brought before the House and discussed with a view to annulment possibly in some cases, and the Government on precedent may not allow the time necessary to discuss them. Therefore, what we are talking about is legislation by stealth in what the Minister has stated is a very important Bill. This is a basic weakness in this Bill.

Before I conclude I would like to reiterate one point concerning sponsorship. The Minister said he did not visualise that existing sponsorship would be interfered with, even though there is nothing in the Bill to say that this is so. In the past few days a major sponsoring firm have withdrawn sponsorship, even though they were not asked to do so. I presume they felt there is no future in continuing with this sponsorship. I do not know what reasons the company gave for withdrawing it. The recipients involved were very fortunate that there was somebody else available to take up that sponsorship, but that may not be so in other areas where existing sponsors may see fit, for reasons best known to themselves, to withdraw. While the one example we had in the past week of withdrawal of sponsorship has now been rectified through a substitute sponsor coming in, there will be cases of withdrawal, and possibly in the very near future, where no substitute sponsor will take up the slack. Could we have a guarantee from the Minister that in the event of a sponsor withdrawing and nobody else taking up that sponsorship he will step in and provide sponsorship in that case?

I should like to refer to the kind of budget made available to the new monitoring section to be set up to monitor advertising. I presume to do the job properly will entail a substantial undertaking which will cost money. I hope that the health boards, who will be charged with this responsibility, will be given sufficient funds to deal with this new area of activity, and that they will not be fobbed off by being given a block allocation and told: "Cover A, B, C and D and also E, which is your new area of responsibility". I hope they will be given an adequate budget to live up to their responsibility of monitoring advertising, be it legitimate or misleading, because it would seem that we are now entering the whole new area of the prohibition of legitimate advertising.

In principle I am in agreement with the Minister in what he is endeavouring to do. He has my goodwill in his approach. I would be indebted to him if he could tell me how to give up smoking, and there are thousands of people who would owe him the same debt of gratitude, which would constitute a much more positive approach than some of the negative aspects of this Bill.

I warmly commend the introduction of this Bill. I view it as a courageous one. It is a new dimension in legislation emanating from a Department of Health, showing themselves to be aware of the enormous problem confronting the health of the nation, not in any way inhibited by massive pressures from companies that can afford to apply such massive pressure.

The last speaker referred to the fact —and I should like to mention this point straightaway—that a major company withdrew sponsorship only the other day. Very bluntly I say: so what? I think people will respond to the Minister for Health, realising that he is up against it when it comes to endeavouring to make an impact on such major companies. The Department of Health have afforded every possible opportunity to commercial companies in the past to toe the line in their standards of advertising—colourful, provocative, unrealistic advertising. The stand the Minister has taken here within the framework of this Bill goes far beyond what previous speakers suggested. Naturally it has to be a basic framework, as is all legislation. In practical terms all it means is getting down to structuring out levels of fines or prosecutions for anybody who seriously sets out to injure the health of the nation. That is what this Bill is all about. I do not see it weak in any way whatsoever.

I should like to refer to an aspect of cigarette smoking, terribly important now, and that is that there are so many people at present endeavouring to give up the habit. Perhaps the Minister, while introducing this legislation, could give serious consideration to the establishment of smokers' advice centres. With the very harmful effects of smoking so convincingly documented it is time that, amongst other things, smokers' advice centres were set up to provide constructive advice, free on demand, on how to give up the habit. As we all know, smoking is primarily a dependence on the drug nicotine. It is comparatively easier to break a habit of this kind by, say, a group therapy approach rather than by a single individual. I foresee three main purposes for such group therapy: first, to inform people accurately of the dangers of smoking—which I think is being done quite effectively at present; secondly, to assist them practically to give up the habit, and thirdly, there is the most important aspect of all, to assist people during their withdrawal period. In London, at Clayton Park, there is such an advice centre very actively supported. Certainly Dublin is in need of such a centre and perhaps other cities also. This London advice centre has been in operation for the past 14 years. A recent study of its operations showed that it was being very actively supported. Weekly clinics are held there which help people tremendously who are trying to break away from the habit. Referrals come to the clinic from doctors and hospitals. It is a practical clinic where people can go and receive advice during the withdrawal period from the habit. Equipment at such clinics includes anti-smoking films, slides, literature, even X-rays showing people in serious medical conditions as a result of smoking.

All in all this is a courageous Bill. It is a serious and positive attempt to show that the Minister is going to confront the vehicle being used to cause such illness to the nation, that is through the direct means of advertising. Of the insidious techniques used by cigarette manufacturers the most appalling is the subjection of young people of an impressionable age into feeling that cigarette smoking and being grown up are synonymous. All advertisements in the past have given this impression, something I deplore. Within this Bill the Minister has the power at his disposal to take firm steps in this direction. People do not realise that even one person smoking in an enclosed area results in everyone in that area being affected. The smoke impregnates the whole atmosphere. The provision of non-smoking zones could be very beneficial.

This will be a tough battle. It will be difficult to make any inroad into the subtley of the advertising techniques used by manufacturers. For example, in the USA the relevant department there adopted a slogan on billboard advertising. Unlike our somewhat puny advertisement to the effect that smoking can damage one's health, the warning in the USA read something like this: "It is the opinion of the surgeon general that smoking can be harmful to you". The emphasis on the danger of smoking was more or less reduced because it depended on whether the surgeon general was competent to make such a judgment.

We must fully support the Minister here. He is not adopting a position of confrontation with the manufacturers. I see him as offering the manufacturers an opportunity for co-operation from the point of view of a more moderate approach than they have shown in the past. The Minister needs a strong base by way of legislation from which to work in case co-operation is not forthcoming. That is the way I interpret this legislation.

There is, of course, a great deal of advertising carried on in supermarkets where cigarettes are handed out free of charge, sometimes to very young people. There is the technique of leaving packets of cigarettes in public places, even on the streets, something which contributes to the problem of litter, to say nothing about pollution of the environment. It is all part of an advertising campaign designed to convince people that smoking helps one to relax. This sort of erroneous and inaccurate advertising will have to be stamped out.

This legislation will make an enormous contribution to preventive medicine. A small percentage of our health budget is directed towards preventive medicine. Since the Minister took office, through his Department and through the Health Education Bureau, a positive move has been made to create a public awareness of better health as a result of moderation in both smoking and drinking. There is no point in adopting a killjoy attitude where smoking and drinking are concerned. Both can give pleasure. We must have a sensible approach. We must strike a proper balance. People must no longer be bombarded with exotic but erroneous advertising. Sometimes this advertising seems deliberately designed to make them feel in some way inadequate if they do not indulge in smoking. In fact some advertisements advertising other products in which cigarette manufacturers have a vested interest use subtle techniques showing participants smoking or, indeed, showing smoke billowing in the background, giving the impression that it is part of the enjoyment of whatever the product is.

The Minister referred to Irish airlines having non-smoking zones. That is very welcome, and the idea could be extended with great advantage to other areas, such as theatres, cinemas and so on. People who do not like smoking are entitled to consideration, and they should not be compelled to suffer just because others want to smoke. This Bill deserves the support of this House.

Again, with regard to advertising, the Minister will want to ensure there is no spin-off here from advertising in Britain and Northern Ireland. That is something that must be considered. Our partners in the EEC could help. Young people move around a great deal nowadays, and it would pay a dividend if our partners in the EEC adopted an attitude in this matter similar to ours.

Withdrawal from smoking should be a gradual exercise. A gradual withdrawal is much easier than an abrupt stop. A slow phasing out of advertising will have a better return than an abrupt stoppage of advertising. I think all advertising of cigarettes and tobacco should be in black and white only. Again, why not advertise pipe tobacco and chew tobacco rather than glamourise cigarettes? I admit that these tobaccos are possibly not regarded as being as glamourous as cigarettes.

On the question of revenue, quite frankly we will have to face up to the situation and adjust our housekeeping. Revenue will have to be derived from some other source, and certainly not from the ill-health of our people. I have in front of me an advertisement which appeared in a British newspaper. It shows a little child of about three or four sitting in a high chair with a cigarette in his mouth. The question asked is: "How many cigarettes a day does your child smoke?" And underneath it says: "Few children smoke at this very early age, but adults are doing it for them." These are the huge pressures on young people. People are subject to smoking and the smoking environment whether or not they want it.

The Minister has given a lead, but let us have no illusions. It will need an enormous follow-up from every Member of the Oireachtas. The example which could be given by Members of this House in regard to smoking could go a very long way in assisting people who look to those who are prominently featured in newspapers and are also influenced by sports personalities. Members who may not completely give up the habit should show their support without criticism of this legislation. Having read through the Bill very carefully, I find it difficult to pinpoint any area with which I am in disagreement. It is easy enough to say that it does not go far enough and is not comprehensive enough. The only way in which I think it does not go far enough is that the fines are not as severe as they might be. People will respond in a practical manner if they have to pay for any deliberately misleading advertising.

I appeal to manufacturers involved in this huge industry and those who have diversified into other areas to set about giving a lead in trying to develop other business interests and to get out of this area altogether, if possible. I will not give a specific example of a manufacturer who is actually engaged in an area of business diametrically opposed to the advertising of cigarettes. It is appalling to think that a firm which is promoting and selling anti-smoking devices is, at the same time, advertising smoking products. This is not good enough. The evidence and the cost to the nation are there. There are people in hospital at this moment suffering from a series of problems directly associated with cigarette smoking. These people need a sympathetic and helping hand, supported by legislation that will not put this product in front of them. A person can be brainwashed into buying a product whether or not he or she actually wants it. A product can be manufactured and sold to people who buy it like sheep although they may not want it and certainly do not need it. Such is the case with cigarettes. Manufacturers are not caught out here because they have the means of diversifying into other areas and they are doing so at present. My attitude is to give them every encouragement. Certainly jobs should not be put at risk. Through an intelligent approach to this, people could be placed in other jobs.

There is also the fact that cigarettes are associated with sporting activities. This I abhor, especially the "cool as a mountain stream" approach and the association of smoking with yachting. Those who are familiar with sailing will find it very difficult to light up cigarettes frequently if they are serious about their hobby. Anyone who is serious about training would never smoke a cigarette. Advertisements which depict players lighting up cigarettes after a match are absolute nonsense.

These are the areas in which the ethics of advertising are being openly flouted. The Minister cannot do anything effective about it unless he has the support of strong legislation, so that he can demand a responsible attitude. That is the way to progress.

Despite what people say, the habit of smoking is getting worse in Ireland. It is not so much that more smokers are being drawn into the net but those who are smoking are smoking more and this is more serious than anything else. The Department of Health, through the Health Education Bureau, are taking positive steps to discourage great numbers of new smokers. I think the direction should be towards established smokers in an effort to help them. The Minister's action in trying to curtail the advertising of cigarettes is a positive step in that direction. I should also like to see an advice centre being established in Dublin and I ask the Minister to give this matter serious consideration. This would be a venue where people could get advice through the Health Education Bureau on how best to give up the habit. The figures show that nine out of ten deaths from lung cancer, six out of ten deaths from chronic bronchitis and three out of ten deaths from coronary thrombosis are directly linked with cigarette smoking. I suppose that in ten or 15 years' time we will look back on the habit of smoking as a recipe for narrowing one's life span.

Section 2 of the Bill provides that the Minister may make regulations for the control and regulation of advertising of tobacco products. That is all-embracing, in that it covers cigarettes, cheroots and cigars. I should like the Minister to make it obligatory for the manufacturers of tobacco products to advertise together. A person trying to kick the habit of cigarette smoking might decide to try smoking a pipe. We must try to help people who are caught up in their present predicament.

I welcome the legislation. It is a practical step forward. It deserves the complete support of this House and also the example of the House. It has been welcomed in the medical profession. There are no illusions about the difficulties of implementing the legislation. Congratulations are certainly due to the officials of the Department for fastening down the legislation so comprehensively and so workably.

This Bill is very much welcomed by the House and by the individual Members of the House. Indeed when one remembers the origin of the spread of tobacco in the western world, when one realises that a drug such as nicotine could be promoted to the extent that it has been to provide so much money for the companies which sell this product and when one remembers that the introduction to nicotine leads not only to illness but may be accompanied by feelings of nausea, cold sweat, drop in blood pressure, pallor, increase in salivation, it was indeed a wonderful act of promotion and advertising which effectively convinced people that they should continue using it. Everybody who has smoked cigarettes will remember the first cigarette he smoked; he will remember the feeling of nausea, sickness and biliousness and possibly even vomiting that accompanied it. It was, indeed, a tremendous success story to be able to promote in the western world something which initially caused repugnance in the body and mind.

It is not true that cigarette smoking and tobacco intake is injurious to everybody. Indeed one or two cigarettes a day would not be harmful just as one or two glasses of chilled white wine a day can be beneficial. However, once again it is lack of moderation which causes concern. It is lack of moderation that does injury to the body and lack of moderation on the part of the manufacturers and suppliers of tobacco has caused the introduction of this Bill. This Bill is necessary in order to curtail further expansion of advertising of tobacco products. The reason why it is necessary is that the promotion has been so successful. Indeed, it is fair to call it the success story of advertising in this country.

One of the important things and something that the Minister might have overlooked in producing this Bill is the initiation to cigarette smoking. Most people were introduced to the most facile form of consumption of tobacco which is cigarette smoking and not cigar smoking or taking snuff. Despite the success of advertising it is fair to say that advertising itself does not result in a person taking up cigarette smoking. Most people are introduced to their first cigarette by another person. I do not think that a person walks into a shop, buys a packet of cigarettes and starts to smoke on his own. If that does happen it happens very seldom. I do think that the person, the nipper going to school, the chiseller around the corner, gets that cigarette sometimes as a token of reward, sometimes from a friend.

As I have outlined earlier, the nauseous effects of the first cigarette can be most repugnant and there is a follow-up mechanism on the psyche of the taker. What is that follow-up? Certainly the second and third cigarettes do not cause the same type of effect and after a while, as all smokers know, the initial unpleasant side effects disappear. The Minister should try to attract attention to the initiation to tobacco smoking through a health education section in his Department. His efforts should aim towards the adolescent or first cigarette consumer; many people do not smoke cigarettes until later on in life. Just as with many other forms of drug-taking, initiation comes from a personal contact and I believe that the same holds for cigarettes. Many cigarette smokers and tobacco consumers would agree with that opinion. The ideal society, of course, would contain people who do not smoke, drink or take supportive drugs.

In this Bill the Minister is attempting to abolish one of the factors responsible for inhibiting the achievement of the aim of the ideal society and he deserves the support and backing of every Member of this House and every member of the community and the nation. I would, therefore, ask the Minister to consider the educational aspect of this problem. This Department should discourage the handing out of samples around the country, which is a way of introducing people to one brand and also a way of inducing people to change from one brand to another.

The Bill is very concise and effective and one could not criticise it except in regard to one or two minor omissions, one of which I mentioned. Possibly it is there and I cannot see it. Possibly it is in section 2 (2) (i). If it is not there I am sure the Minister will see to it that it is placed there. I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the concern felt by many people that this legislation might not in any way be effective in a great part of our society due to the fact that many products are advertised on other TV channels by tobacco companies outside this State over which the State has no jurisdiction. I would urge the Minister to try to obtain the co-operation of the British Department of Health in curtailing the advertisements which appear on their channels. There could be an intensification of advertising on the British channels to offset the loss here. Radio, newspapers, bill-boards and so on should be taken into account; they have all proved to be effective in the promotion of the tobacco products.

We are mainly concerned with the consumption of cigarette tobacco. The Minister did not refer very much in his speech to cancer of the liver caused by pipe smoking or cancer of the jaw caused by cigar smoking although in an overall way he does refer to the associated illnesses resulting from tobacco consumption. We are concerned primarily with cigarette smoking and its prevention or curtailment. I wish the Minister luck. I hope the companies will co-operate with him and that it will not be necessary to enforce the provisions of the Bill. I am pleased to see that it contains a provision stating that the regulations can be annulled by the House if that should prove necessary.

The time has come for us to get away from the "hard-man" attitude, the glamour attitude, with regard to smoking. It had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous where smoking was being promoted at sporting functions. We had nearly got to the stage on television where the winner of an Olympic marathon was going across the line with a cigarette in his mouth. The George Raft / Robert Mitchum / Humphrey Bogart tough guy image must be curtailed. George Raft blames his emphysema on cigarette smoking and Humphrey Bogart attributed his lung cancer to cigarette smoking. In America television programmes were made of famous people in the film world and elsewhere who were dying from lung cancer because of cigarette smoking. The effects on their families were shown to the television public. Nicotine is an addictive drug and it is very difficult to give up cigarette smoking.

I welcome the Minister's attitude that it is far easier not to start smoking at all than to give it up. The statistics of death caused as a result of smoking are just the tip of the iceberg and the Minister referred to this in his opening speech. The morbidity rate in the community, particularly in the upper age group, is very severe. A man of 70 years who smokes heavily can get breathless putting on his clothes whereas another 70 year-old who does not smoke can lead a very active life and still play a brisk 18 holes of golf.

Side by side with this legislation, the Minister has launched a campaign to encourage national fitness and he must be complimented on his participation in this programme, as must all other Members who have attempted to set an example in this regard. However, I must point out that last year, and possibly this year, Members of this House actively competed for a "pipe smoker of the year" award and they posed in various aristocratic intellectual poses so that they might obtain the award. I do not know if there have been any winners on this side of the House but I know that it was popular and regarded as vote-catching to win that award.

The Minister will have to reverse all of these matters in the legislation he proposes. People will say if it is all right to smoke a pipe surely it is all right to smoke cigarettes, just as they said with regard to drugs. It was sad to see in this House recently the Minister for Health, a former Minister for Health and a pretender to that office trying to suggest that cigarette smoking was much more dangerous than cannabis, marijuana, hashish and so on. It was a sad day for the nation and for the Department of Health to see that triumvirate engaged in that short consultation. I sincerely hope that the attitude of the Department with regard to that matter will be more responsible in the future.

I referred to the elderly smoker who gets breathless putting on his clothes or tying his shoe laces and to the illness caused by bronchitis, emphysema, angina, hardening of the arteries, indigestion and the many side-effects associated with smoking. The Minister has been more than conservative in his approach to these figures. He would have been justified in quoting higher figures for morbidity associated with cigarette smoking. The figure of 70 per cent in respect of people dying from lung cancer is conservative but I admire the Minister for this. He has not presented spectacular frightening figures. He is taking the lower end of the scale but it is up to Members of this House to state that the figures possibly are much higher.

This legislation deals with cigarette smoking. We are not dealing with cigars, pipes, snuff or chewing tobacco. We can draw a distinction between certain types of cigarettes. The medical profession know that it is the temperature at which the tobacco is inhaled that is the most aggravating factor. The length and width of the cigarette and the amount of filter are contributory factors. I am glad the Minister has not hidden behind the lack of statistics concerning diseases such as bronchitis, heart disease, emphysema and cancer of the lung in relation to tipped cigarettes. Some statistics were produced years ago and while they did not prove conclusively that cigarettes caused bronchogenic carcinoma the manufacturers agreed that the evidence was so overwhelming that they had to put a warning on the cigarette packs. The warning stated that cigarette smoking could be injurious to health but did not state that it was definitely injurious. It is about time that we ignored the vested interests and said that cigarette smoking causes ill health.

One compliments the Minister again on his Ard Fheis performance. Nobody was smoking this year at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis. That is quite an achievement. Their nerves should have been at them then——

They were.

——with the problems their manifesto was giving them. It would be important to take a good, hard look at any intention the Minister has of instructing the health boards to ban visitors from smoking in hospital wards. He should instruct the health boards to impose an out and out ban against visitors smoking in hospitals. When visiting hospitals one sees an ashtray perched on the patient's chest, possibly another on his knees and another on his ankles, because three people on each side are smoking cigarettes and putting them out, and the patient might have bronchitis or a heart condition. I was in hospital a few years ago and three people would line up on each side of the bed. I was off smoking at the time. They would be blowing smoke into my face. I could not wait for the visiting hour to finish. Eventually I got the porter to buy me the biggest cigar he could get and the next time they came in I was fully prepared and blew black, dirty smoke back at them. But this was no good for the other patients in the public ward at that time.

Smoking should be forbidden in our hospital wards. If a patient is not well enough to get out of bed to go to the toilet or to a smoking area in the hospital for a smoke, he might be discouraged from smoking altogether. From a professional point of view the ideal time to encourage a person to give up smoking is when that person is a patient in hospital. All the circumstances are right. The sedatives and so on are there, plus the fact that the patient will see around him in the wards those suffering the ill-effects of cigarette smoking.

On another occasion in hospital a fellow in the ward smoked right through the night until 5 or 6 a.m. He chain-smoked. Although certain notices were put up in the lifts and around the hospital wards they were not adhered to. This can be very annoying and upsetting for the patients and their relatives. I would like the Minister to give direct attention to this.

Smoking should be curtailed in cinemas and other places, just as it is in libraries. People of our generation were never allowed to smoke in libraries even though we used them quite a lot as students. Smoking could be discouraged in pubs and bingo halls. The Minister does not like taking a hard line on this, but he could discourage smoking in public places. It is generally recognised that smoking in the business and academic world renders a person 5 per cent deficient in ability. An athlete is rendered 5 per cent deficient, as is an academic, a business executive or a managing director. That very small margin of 2 or 3 per cent deficiency can mean a lot when one considers that such a small percentage is necessary to be successful in life. These are all facts we learned in college as students, but they never seemed apparent to the public. The more one talks to the public about it the more one regrets some of the vacuums that exist in our overall educational process.

I ask the Minister to consider the possibility of some form of bonus or recognition for non-smokers. One has recognition for being a smoker, but non-smokers have no recognition. Possibly some form of aid or grant could be introduced. A lot of people come to my private surgery asking for help to give up smoking. If it was as easy as that most people smoking nowadays would not be smoking. The Department should launch a campaign showing what aids there are.

As regards the effect that this Bill might have in curtailing the promotion of sporting activities here, particularly in the field of boxing, golf, soccer and tennis, smoking advertising has indeed eaten its way into the promotion of major sporting events. I never thought I would see the day that Landsdowne Road would have to accept advertisements in order to remain financially viable and to able to expand to cater for the number of people going there, but that is the way it is. Most of the other advertisements there are by the banking groups, and that is not good for one's nerves. You will probably smoke a little more if smoking is advertised heavily, but if you are in the red in the bank you might end up chain-smoking at a football match when you see all the different banks there are. There would be need to replace in some way the money spent by tobacco companies in the promotion of sport. I heard only the other day that Carrolls are going to withdraw their sponsorship from the GAA All-Stars for next year. How true that is I do not know, but it would appear that some of the tobacco companies are beginning to co-operate with the Minister. None of this legislation will be necessary if the tobacco companies co-operate. Recently I was on a tour of the port and docks as a guest of the Port and Docks Board, and a warehouse there has sufficient tobacco to keep everyone going for the best part of half a decade. It must be the most valuable square footage of commodity in this country.

I will conclude by referring briefly again to the television radio, newspapers, billboards and personal sales promotion of cigarettes. I hope the manufacturers will co-operate with the Minister. It is unfortunate that this Bill has to be introduced but it is very necessary. We only have to look at the effect which hardening of the arteries has on a vast number of people in our society. It affects more elderly people than anybody else. Those people are a great problem at the moment with regard to identification and back-up services. It is believed that cigarette smoking is a contributory factor to hardening of the arteries. There are many people also in the 40 to 50 age group who have had strokes, which it is now believed have been brought about by excessive cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking in early life may be described as a dirty habit but later on in life it becomes very expensive on people's systems and also on the resources of the State.

We have been told one day's fog in the Manchester area results in 10,000 deaths from bronchitis and emphysema. The Minister in this Bill is attacking the source of injury to our community which can be eradicated to a large extent. He deserves our full support for doing this. It was only when a member of the British Royal family in the early part of the century died that any attention was paid to the injurious side affects which cigarette smoking can have. More attention is now paid to this by the medical profession. Before that it was very fashionable to be a cigarette smoker. When the suffragettes broke the barrier and started to smoke on the streets ladies became subject to the ill-effects of cigarette smoking.

The Minister has not attempted to break down the figures he presented us with into sex distribution. There is a sex differentiation here and if the Minister concentrated on that the figures would be far higher for male smokers than for females. We are told that females are protected from certain illnesses up to a certain age. I hope the British Department of Health will be consulted and that the World Health Organisation will be informed of the steps taken by the Government to attempt to eradicate the sale of tobacco. A careful monitoring of sales and consumption should take place as this legislation is introduced to see if it has any effect. If it has we should try to quantify what that effect is. We should report to the World Health Organisation on the results we have noticed. We should try to monitor the number of admissions to hospitals which directly result from cigarette smoking to see if those have dropped. We should try to monitor birth anomalies which can occur and see if those are affected by this legislation.

I am sure it will take about ten years to see if this Bill is effective. At the end of that time the then Minister for Health should come back with stronger and more effective legislation. If cigarette advertising by Irish manufactures ceases as a result of this legislation but it does not stop manufacturers outside the country from advertising on our television screens we can take a hard look at the matter and report to the proper authorities. Many of us thought when we entered the EEC that they would have taken the initiative in this regard and directed member states to bring in uniform regulations because the problem in regard to cigarette smoking is the same in all those countries. We welcome the discouragement of cigarette smoking and advertising as well as sales to juveniles. We wish the Minister every success and we look forward to hearing what effect this legislation will have if a monitoring service is to be carried out.

My contribution on this Bill will be relatively short. I have been in the House since 1951 and we have had more discussion during the past few weeks on the scourge of smoking than in all the years from 1951 to 1978. I am amazed that former Ministers for Health did not bring this scourge to our notice. Since this Bill was introduced we have listened to all the members of the medical profession who are in the House condemning smoking. The Minister for Health started this campaign against cigarette smoking. I believe he used to have a few puffs but during the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, when this no smoking rule was brought forward by the Minister we read how the Taoiseach and others had to move out into the corridor to have their puffs. I understand that was the foundation stone of this measure. Lay Members of the House cannot take issue with Deputies like Dr. Byrne, who is qualified to speak on this subject. I wonder if they are over-emphasising the issue. If it is such a scourge, why did more members of the medical profession not bring the matter to our attention before now? Many people believe that smoking has an advantageous effect in that it helps them to relax. I cannot contradict the medical profession when they say that smoking affects health but I believe that the pills of one kind or another being prescribed by the medical profession as a substitution for smoking are a greater scourge.

When I was a young fellow few people went about their daily business carrying boxes of pills in their pockets but it is not at all unusual today. We know from the hefty returns of the health boards that there has been an alarming increase in the use of this type of medication. Do the members of the medical profession think it advisable for a man to smoke whenever he feels like doing so or do they think it would be better for him to take a few pills instead? I am availing of this opportunity to bring this new factor in our life to the attention of the House. As a layman I believe that these tablets are unnecessary in most cases. I know many people who take yellow pills in the morning, blue ones in the afternoon and white ones at night and all these pills have been prescribed in order to help them. Having made some inquiries I discovered that the pills were not prescribed to cure the scourge of smoking. I believe that a great amount of public money is wasted on the provision of pills for people who do not need them. I also believe that the taking of pills is a greater scourge than the smoking of tobacco.

Deputy Byrne and other speakers mentioned the desirability of prohibiting smoking in public places. Neither Deputy Byrne nor any other Member of the House has the right to say that people must not smoke in certain places. It may be all right to ban smoking at large gatherings such as football matches or in confined areas.

Another aspect of this Bill to which I have taken exception is the free advice from the medical profession to hospital matrons and supervisors to prohibit smoking in hospital wards. I agree that visitors should not be allowed to smoke in hospital wards. However, the smoking of pipes and cigarettes benefits many patients as it would be difficult for them to stop smoking at short notice. I cannot see any justification for this House to pass legislation prohibiting hospital patients smoking. The Minister may say that he has not that in mind, that the main reason for the Bill is to ban tobacco advertising.

I am sure that few people read the Dáil debates, but those who read the reports of our proceedings in the newspapers will be terrified if what some Deputies have said is correct. There is evidence that non-smokers suffer from chest ailments such as bronchitis and asthma and that they often suffer from heart disease. A great deal has been said on this subject by the medical profession and I believe that they should elaborate more for the benefit of the public. Do they differentiate between the different types of cigarettes and pipe-smoking or is their condemnation global? Do they believe that those who smoke in public do harm to others?

I have indicated that I think that is overstated because if it was so bad and if the position was as outlined by so many speakers, particularly by the medical men, we should all be indicated for not dealing with this matter down through the years. I know that doctors advise people to stop or curtail their smoking habits. That advice is right and it is then up to people either to agree with that advice or take their own course. I disagree with some of the assertions made in this debate that smoking should be prohibited in public places. I emphasise again that I should like more information. I know the Minister is not a medical man, although one could use the term in respect of him that he is a jack of all trades, and I do not say that in any derogatory way. The Health Estimate might be a more appropriate occasion but this matter is deemed to be a health matter and if there is any medical man left in the debate I should like him to address himself to the merits of smoking versus pills. Recently, there was some talk about a particular pill but as far as I can judge all kinds of pills are now being provided. While possibly I would agree with the comments made here by some speakers that smoking, particularly cigarette smoking, can be harmful to health and that possibly there is an obligation on the Minister to bring the matter before the public, as has been done already as regards notices on cigarette packets, I believe that the case made for this measure is overstated.

I am glad to follow Deputy Murphy because I share some of the reservations he has expressed. I do not fully share the enthusiasm of some of my own colleagues for the Bill. In this country, as elsewhere, there is a history of resurgence when it is sought to suppress anything. There are many examples of that in Ireland and in other par s of Europe. The effort to suppress something is very often a lifeline for the particular cause or thing. That is the first reason I do not share the enthusiasm of the Minister and some Deputies about the proposals in the Bill.

Secondly, I am not enthusiastic, not because I do not think smoking is harmful—it is and should be discouraged and everybody would be better off smoking less or perhaps not at all—but because I have heard arguments in this debate and outside the House related to cigarette advertising standards which apply generally to advertising. I think it was Deputy Woods who in the last hour or so— and Deputy Byrne—spoke about the sailing boat and the cigarette. That type of thing is done with bars of chocolate and with almost everything. This misuse of advertising is not just confined to tobacco. There are political figures in the country, not least the Minister himself, who are excellent at advertising. There is certainly a problem about general advertising standards. The things I see on television and in newspapers and magazines glamourised by beautiful women and good looking men in different combinations of scenes are not confined to cigarette and tobacco advertising. Those who put forward arguments against glamourising tobacco should also talk about the glamourising of other commodities.

Do not be ridiculous.

The Minister has his point of view and I have mine.

Chocolate does not do anybody any harm; cigarettes do. That is the difference.

In some cases cigarettes do harm especially in cases of excess use but excessive eating of chocolate also does much harm, although admittedly not on the same scale. But my point is that glamourising products is not confined to tobacco; it is general. Perhaps what we should be discussing here today is an advertising standards Bill. There is general glamourising of everything so that in most cases the presentation bears no relationship to reality. It is a pity that tobacco advertising should be singled out because I do not think it would make a bit of difference to the amount of cigarettes smoked. In fact it could increase the amount of tobacco smoked in accordance with what I said earlier, the belief that what is repressed must be exciting and interesting. I put that forward as a serious contribution. It will also have the disadvantage, I think, of depriving many good causes, including sport —although I admit there is somewhat of a conflict—of support if the Minister uses these powers to have regulations, as he said he would, to deprive sporting and other worth-while organisations of very valuable sponsorship. Perhaps that will be the sole outcome of this Bill. Therefore, I ask the Minister to consider whether he wants a Bill whose only value will be to deprive sporting and other worthy organisations of very important sponsorship. The fact is that without much of the sponsorship that sports get we would be in a very poor way in regard to sport.

Sponsorship does not really help sport at all. It only helps the tobacco companies.

It may help the tobacco companies, but it also helps sport. Its abolition will not harm the tobacco companies but will harm sport.

Then they must be very foolish people to spend all that money uselessly.

They are not spending it uselessly.

According to the Deputy it does not do them any good.

Perhaps the Minister will allow me to make my case.

Deputy Mitchell to conclude.

The Deputy is obviously briefed by someone.

That is a disgraceful imputation and I would ask the Minister to withdraw it.

I take it the Deputy is not briefed by anybody. It is withdrawn. Deputy Mitchell to conclude.

Did the Minister say he was withdrawing it?

I accept that it is withdrawn. It is more or less a political charge. It is withdrawn and that is that.

It is a disgraceful charge.

Deputy Mitchell is entitled to make the point he is making.

I may be tempted to repeat it.

Did the Leas-Cheann Comhairle hear the Minister say he tempted to repeat it?

The Minister will be replying. Deputy Mitchell to continue with his own speech.

I am giving my own views. I have no relationship with any tobacco company, nor have I been briefed by anybody, nor have I discussed the Bill with anybody, nor have I discussed what I am now saying with anybody.

The Deputy is entitled to give his views on the Bill, even if they are at variance with those of all other Deputies or most Deputies. The Deputy is entitled to give his views so long as he is speaking on the Bill.

Precisely, and even if they are at variance with the Minister's views. If his case is so weak that he has to make scurrilous accusations against a Deputy, I am afraid what I am saying is only too true. This Bill is not likely to lead to any serious reduction in the consumption of tobacco. It will have a serious impact on the sponsorship of sport.

I want to talk now about the effect or lack of effect of this Bill on Exchequer receipts. Obviously this would be of great concern to the Government before approving the Bill, because Governments here and elsewhere depend so heavily on revenue from the duty on tobacco. I should like the Minister to tell me what is the estimated effect on Exchequer receipts in the next 12 months and the following 12 months. This Bill will not cost the Exchequer one penny. The Minister knows and the Government know it will not affect the consumption of tobacco. It is just political window-dressing. Earlier I talked about advertising standards and the ability of advertising agencies and politicians to advertise themselves. The Minister is the arch-exponent of doing everything that costs nothing. Since he became Minister, he has done nothing which cost anything. This is a case in point.

The Deputy is now getting away from the Bill. He is very upset because the Minister said something about him. We cannot have that sort of charge. If it is good enough for one, it is good enough for the other. Deputy Mitchell on the Bill.

The Minister is enjoying it. It is more publicity for him.

These are the criteria on which I would judge the Bill. It is produced by this Minister for this Government because it will not cost them one penny. That is the argument I see against the Bill. It will have no serious effect on the consumption of tobacco.

Then the Deputy should not worry about it. It will not interfere with his vested interest if it will not have any effect on tobacco consumption.

I am only worried about the Minister's window-dressing.

On a point of order——

It will not interfere with the Deputy's vested interest if it will have no effect on tobacco consumption.

The Minister has just repeated it.

The Chair is not aware that the Deputy has any vested interest. If he says he has not, the Chair must accept that.

I should like the Minister to substantiate his charge. I will wait until he does.

I have said what I have said and I will not withdraw it. The Deputy's speech here this evening seems to be clearly in support of the vested interests of the tobacco companies. That is the charge I make.

That is a political charge and there is no need to withdraw it—that the Deputy's speech appears to be in support of a vested interest.

That is not what the Minister said. He referred to my vested interest.

If the Deputy says he has no vested interest that is all right. We accept that.

I am asking the Minister to substantiate his charge.

Will the Deputy continue with his speech?

No. I am entitled——

May I draw your attention to the fact that there is not a quorum in the House?

Is the Deputy asking for a quorum?

I am drawing the attention of the Chair to that fact.

Is he asking for a quorum? There is no use in drawing the attention of the Chair to that fact if he does not ask for a quorum.

I will ask for a quorum.

That is fair enough.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present: House counted and 20 Members being present,

I wish to give notice that, in view of the Minister's charges, as soon as the records of the House are available, I will take an opportunity to make a personal statement.

Two things are involved here. If the Minister states Deputy Mitchell has a vested interest in the matter before the House, in cigarette or tobacco firms, and he says he has not, the Minister withdraws that. The Minister also said Deputy Mitchell's speech is in support of a vested interest. He is entitled to say this. There is nothing wrong in saying it gives the impression that he is in support of a vested interest.

I am prepared to be guided by the unedited version of the record of this House. When that is available I will make a personal statement.

Any charge of the Deputy having a vested interest is withdrawn by the Minister, I take it.

The Minister has repeated it.

What I said is that the Deputy's speech left me with the impression of being in support of the vested interests of the tobacco companies.

That it gave the impression of being in support of the vested interests of the tobacco people. There is nothing wrong with that. Deputy Mitchell will continue with his speech.

I would draw your attention to the fact that before the Minister said what he has just repeated he had said that I had a vested interest, or something to that effect—the record will show.

The Minister has accepted that the Deputy has no vested interest in the tobacco people. I have got that acceptance.

I will say that as far as I know—I am not in a position to say yes or no—the Deputy has no vested interest in any tobacco company. But I will go further and say that his speech in this House had no purpose, as far as I can see, except to support the tobacco industry.

That is a political charge and it may be made.

My main reason for speaking here was not to defend or encourage cigarette smoking. I repeat that tobacco smoking is injurious to health and should be discouraged. My reason for speaking here today was to point out that this Bill will have no such effect. It is merely a window-dressing effort by a Minister who is expert in that. He is not being given money by his colleague and enemy, the Minister for Finance. He is excellent at doing things that do not cost anything and useless at doing things that cost anything. This is why medical cards are being withdrawn, as the Minister had to concede in this House this afternoon.

Will the Deputy vote against it?

Can I have protection against those——

The Deputy is very sensitive. He hurls insults at everyone——

Deputy Mitchell to continue with his speech, and if he is disorderly the Chair will take steps.

The Bill is an exercise in political window-dressing. It will not have any effect on the consumption of tobacco and, what is more important for the Government, it will not have any effect on the revenue which tobacco consumption has been bringing in. When he is replying I should like the Minister to tell the House what will be the effect on revenue in the next 12 months or the 12 months following that, on the assumption that there will not be further increases in duty. I will be shattered and shocked if the Minister can tell me that it is expected there will be a reduction in revenue because of this Bill. I want to expose the Minister and the Bill, and I want to repeat two things: I have no vested interest whatever in any tobacco company and I have not consulted anybody and I have not acted on behalf of anybody but myself. Second, I believe tobacco smoking to be injurious to health and that it should be discouraged as far as is possible. However, I will not tolerate window-dressing, and that is what this Bill is about.

The Minister for Health to reply to the debate.

Without interruption.

It is all the same to me. The Bill has had a mixed reception in the House, on the one hand from those who think it does not go far enough, and from those who for some reason best known to themselves saw fit to oppose its introduction altogether. Perhaps the fact that a number of Deputies have contributed to the debate is encouraging because it indicates an interest in the House in the problem of cigarette smoking and the need, or otherwise, to do something about the encouragement of cigarette smoking by advertising.

It is important that I should clear up some misunderstanding about the Bill which seems to have arisen in the House and outside. Perhaps I contributed to that misunderstanding myself in an endeavour to be helpful to the House, and I want to make a clear distinction between what the Bill provides for, the powers which the Bill confers on the Minister for Health, and what I indicated I intend to do by way of implementation. They are separate things, and I want to re-emphasise that the Bill is very comprehensive in the powers it confers on the Minister for Health. It gives him complete, absolute power at his discretion to deal with this problem of the promotion and advertising of tobacco products.

Deputy Browne was totally erroneous in his understanding of the situation in that regard. He seems to be confused about what I said of my proposals to implement the Bill and what is actually in the Bill. There is no doubt that under this legislation any Minister for Health can do almost anything he wants to control, regulate or prohibit the advertising and promotion of the sale of tobacco products. Whether any Minister for Health would wish to avail of these powers to the full or not at all is entirely a matter for the judgment and the discretion of the Minister for Health of the day. All I am doing, what the House will be doing in this legislation, is giving to me or to any future Minister for Health the complete power to control this situation if he should wish to do so.

In introducing the Bill I thought it would be helpful to the House if I went on to give some brief outline of how I intend to implement the provisions of the Bill because, as some Deputies have pointed out, the Bill is simply a basis, a framework. What will be important and significant in regard to the Bill will be the regulations which can be made under it, and I wanted to outline for the House the sort of regulations I intend to make. I am afraid that has got a bit confused. Let us be clear that as far as the legislation is concerned it gives comprehensive and adequate powers to me or any other Minister for Health to do what the situation may demand.

In an effort to deny me credit for having brought in the legislation Deputy Browne looked around and suggested that perhaps we were being compelled by the EEC to bring in this legislation. I assure the House that is not so. I wish it were so; I wish the EEC were as forward-looking and progressive in this area as they are in many others. They simply are not. There are only faint stirrings at community level as yet about the problem of tobacco advertising and promotion. Preliminary studies and surveys are being carried out, possibly with a view to taking future action, but I am afraid that any action by the Community is not likely to be immediate.

Deputy Browne therefore must deprive himself of the little consolation that perhaps this Government do not deserve credit for bringing in this legislation—that they were forced to do so by the EEC. It is simply not true, but it is true that when the House has passed this legislation the Irish Minister for Health will be in a fortunate position among his colleagues in Europe in that the Irish Minister for Health will not have any problem about implementing any provisions the EEC decide to bring in, through this legislation. He will be in a much happier and more fortunate position in that respect than most of his European colleagues. To that extent this Bill is looking ahead and providing us with a readymade machine, an instrument to implement any decisions or directives which the Community may bring forward in this area. I do not think we need wait for the Community. The problem is serious and urgent enough for us to go ahead and act now.

I should now like to return to a statement I made when introducing the Bill, that this legislation should be set against the background of our general health policy. As Deputies are aware, an important part of our current health policy is a programme of positive health-preventive medicine. We are endeavouring to build up side by side with the curative structure in our health services a preventive structure. We are trying to develop programmes and policies designed to ensure that people do not become ill and that healthy people stay healthy. This is a significant and important element of that policy. We cannot have any credibility trying to propound or implement a programme of positive health if we are attempting to do that in an atmosphere and environment which is saturated with advertising for alcohol and tobacco. Those things are contradictory. It is essential on the broad issue that we take power to control the scope, the form and the content of tobacco advertising in the community from the point of view of the importance of tobacco and also as something which is part of a much broader approach, that is a programme of positive health. I do not think that the arguments against cigarette smoking need be reiterated.

With one or two minor unimportant exceptions the House generally accepts that the arguments against cigarette smoking are overwhelmingly medically established. Only a fool or a knave would attempt at this stage to suggest that the elimination of cigarette smoking from our community is not a desirable objective if it could be achieved. I gave some very conservative figures in my introductory remarks when I told the House that in 1975 at least 2,000 of our citizens died earlier than they should have because they smoked cigarettes. I told the House that 2,000 deaths in 1975 were directly attributed to cigarette smoking. That is the minimum figure and, as Deputy Byrne pointed out, it is probably much greater. When one compares that with, for instance, the number of people killed on our roads surely if there is anything we can do, if there is any activity open to us which would help to curb cigarette smoking, we should engage in it.

No matter what anybody says, advertising, skilful promotion and sponsorship directly contribute to cigarette smoking. It is idle, useless, silly and nonsensical to suggest otherwise. The very shrewd commercial people who run our tobacco companies do not spend millions of pounds on advertising, promotion and sponsorship to no avail. They know they will get a return for that money. They are commercial people and any money they spend on advertising or promotion must show a return. That is the conclusive argument in favour of controlling promotion, advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products.

I should now like to deal with the question of sponsorship, a matter which has attracted more attention in this debate than anything else. We must recognise that sponsorship is advertising in another form. A tobacco company, a drink company or any other company promotes a sporting event because they want to avail of that sporting event, of the people attending it and the people watching it, to promote their product. They use it as another occasion for the promotion of their product, to advance sales or to promote goodwill for their company—another way of promoting sales of their product. We should be absolutely clear on this matter. This sort of artificial demarcation we are making in our own minds between sponsorship and advertising is unreal. They are the same thing; they are just two different mechanisms for achieving the same end.

There may be some executive or other in the cigarette-tobacco world who favours a particular sport and would like to encourage it. He may be altruistic in his approach but that is not the rule. The reason for sponsorship is to promote the sale of a product and to avail of the opportunity to do that. The reason is that the tobacco and drink companies by and large do not sponsor small remote sports meetings. They go for the big spectacular occasion, the big golf tournament which they know will be on television. There are many people connected with sports and athletics who deplore this modern tendency towards sponsorship. It is their view that in the long run it is bad for most sports because it concentrates all the attention on one big great spectacle every year and ignores the normal routine of the sport.

As Minister for Health I am as anxious to ensure the promotion of sport as anybody else. It is vitally important to me that there should be a high level of participation in athletics and sporting activities here. I have no concern about that but I know that many people who know the scene well decry this modern reliance by some sports on sponsorship. What is important about sport is getting the maximum number of people to compete, not assembling thousands of people to look at one spectacle a year as sponsorship does. Except on rare occasions tobacco and alcoholic drink sponsorship of sporting events concentrates on one big spectator event. If one is only interested in sport as such there are grave doubts about the value of sponsorship and whether in the long run it is for the benefit of any sport.

Setting that aside, I feel that some sporting organisations have come to rely on sponsorship in recent times and I would not wish, and I do not believe any Member would wish, seriously to disrupt the level of activity as it is at present. I should like to mention that the level of funds being poured into sports sponsorship here by the tobacco firms or companies involved in the brewing of alcoholic drink is not as vast as some Members imagine. In fact, it is not all that significant. If one takes out some of the major spectator events which are of no benefit whatever to the ordinary sportsman from the scene, then the amount of money devoted to the sponsorship of sport is small. I do not think it is something that any Member need be unduly concerned with.

In an attempt to make some sort of a sensible and reasonable approach to the situation I intend to permit most of the existing sponsorships to continue for the present. We will certainly control the input of advertising of the particular product at the sponsored event. That is an important aspect. It is the extent to which a sporting event is used to promote and advertise a particular product that is important. For the present at any rate we propose to permit most of the existing sponsorships to continue. There seems to be a sort of blind myopia on the part of some sporting organisations, sports writers and Deputies, that the only people who can sponsor sporting events here are the tobacco companies. There are plenty of other commercial concerns who are quite anxious to take up sponsorships. Even if all the tobacco companies were to back out of all the sponsorships tomorrow morning there would be other comparatively wealthy organisations ready to step in. No sporting organisation who feel they should not in future accept sponsorship from a tobacco company will have any great difficulty finding an alternative source of sponsorship. It just happens that because of the way the situation developed, to which Deputy Byrne drew attention, and because of the keen and highly developed selling techniques of the tobacco companies they were probably more alert and quicker to realise the advantages of sponsorship than other commercial firms and therefore they monopolised that field to some extent. Also, because tobacco companies are dealing in a product which is an addiction product, their profits are considerably in excess of profits in other areas and they therefore have more money to put into advertising and sponsorship generally. It would be wrong for anybody in the sporting world to despair because of a restriction on the sponsorship of sporting events by the tobacco companies. There are plenty of other commercial firms quite ready to take up sponsorships if they are made available to them.

In my opening remarks I gave some indication as to how I propose to proceed with the implementation of this legislation. It will be done by regulations, which will be laid before the House and which are capable of being annulled by the usual procedures. The Opposition have no genuine grounds for complaint in that regard. They will be fully aware of what is in the regulations and they will have an opportunity to ask the House to reject them if they wish.

Are we guaranteed Government time in this regard?

It is not possible for me to give that sort of a guarantee.

On previous occasions Government time has been refused.

I hope Government time will be made available to discuss any regulation which seems to the Opposition to be too draconian or to be not going far enough. I am prepared to use my good offices with the Whips to see that it is.

In this connection Deputy O'Toole made a very valid point by asking me if I could give any indication as to how somebody could give up cigarette smoking. Unfortunately, we cannot do a great deal at this stage. It is largely a matter for the individual concerned. A report of the World Health Organisation expert committee on smoking and its effects on health says, in page 63, that:

At the present time extensive behavioural research is going on into the process whereby people stop smoking, the factors that contribute to behavioural change, and how those factors interact (92-94). Although this research is far from complete, it is clear that the process of giving up smoking begins with the simple awareness of the dangers of smoking and proceeds through a more thorough perception of and concern with the threat posed by smoking, requiring some kind of conscious decision-making in an attempt to change. Success in stopping smoking requires both an immediate decision to give it up (short term success) and a continued determination not to resume (long term success).

I am not sure that that adds a great deal to the Deputy's knowledge of the situation but it is an indication that the World Health Organisation is looking at the problem. There are also a number of other publications on this subject. Deputy O'Toole asked for what advice I could give to somebody who wished to give up cigarette smoking and I might mention my experience in that regard.

Not again.

Deputy O'Toole asked. If the Deputy does not wish to hear, my modesty will certainly prevent me from telling it, but Deputy O'Toole specifically asked for my personal experience.

If Deputy O'Toole is looking for advice from the Minister, he had better watch out.

The only thing I can suggest is that if we can get it across emphatically and accepted that smoking has been established to be, first of all, injurious to health and, secondly, definitely a cause of diseases which are fatal in the long run, that is a step in the right direction. If people realise that it is fatal they will be motivated to try and stop. The next step is to encourage them to consult a physician. Increasingly the medical profession are aware of the dangers of smoking and general practitioners would be in a position to give help, advice and encouragement. There are different techniques, and I suppose a technique which works for one person will not work for another, but the basic thing common to all techniques should be a realisation of the reality of what cigarette smoking does to a person. From that realisation would come the motivation which would suggest some technique.

Some Deputies mentioned the question of the revenue from the sale of tobacco products. This Government have no particular concern in that regard. It would be an interesting equation for some health economist or statistician to work out whether or not if all the revenue which accrues from the taxation of tobacco products, which at the moment is about £90 million a year, were to disappear because of a complete cessation of smoking, we would reap a corresponding benefit in the area of health expenditure. We probably would, but the cause and the effect would not be direct enough to become a matter of practical politics. The cost of cigarette and tobacco smoking to our health services is enormous. I gave a tentative estimate of about £45 million a year in relation to direct costs. That is half way towards the income from the taxation of tobacco products.

I assure the House that the Minister for Finance in particular and the Government in general were not prepared to allow stand in the way of this legislation any possibility of a diminution of revenue if it were demonstrable that it could contribute to the better health and welfare of our people. That is a good and sound decision on the part of the Government. A Minister for Finance could be shortsighted about a matter like this and could oppose any attempt to curtail the sale and promotion of tobacco products, but it would be irresponsible to act in that way. It is understandable, though, that a Minister for Finance would be tempted to take that attitude, but this Minister for Finance has not acted in that way. Clearly, he recognises that if this legislation can contribute to the better health and welfare of the people it is worth any fall in revenue that may result. I could not possibly attempt to qualify what might be that fall or even to say whether there would be any fall, but I should hope that at least there would be a stabilising in revenue, indicating an overall reduction in smoking.

The Minister for Finance recognises also the importance of health education. Most Deputies know that it is not very easy to persuade a Minister for Finance to increase a budget readily, but our Minister for Finance agreed unhesitatingly to an increase last year in the budget of the Health Education Bureau, bringing their budget to £1 million. Again, that is indicative of the general attitude of the Government to these questions.

Regarding the positive implementation of the legislation, it is my intention as I have said already, to proceed on a number of fronts simultaneously. The most urgent problem is to have put out of the way the saturation type of outdoor advertising, because this form of advertising has a significant effect on the situation. Regardless of which area a person is walking in or driving through he is confronted with these quite attractive and appealing outdoor signs and advertisements for tobacco products. I propose to phase these out as quickly as possible and to prohibit immediately all advertising in cinemas for tobacco products and to proceed then to control the volume and the content of advertising of these products.

I do not think that Deputies have been giving enough attention to this aspect of my remarks. These are two important aspects of the same question. First, we must restrict the total volume of money spent on advertising and, secondly, we must control and regulate the advertising. Deputies will be aware that much of the advertising of tobacco products in our newspapers is of a very compelling and seductive nature. The advertisements are very striking and attractive, but we intend to control rigorously the contents of the advertising. In that connection I shall be looking at the format of the health warning on packets of cigarettes. The wording needs to be strengthened and made more prominent. The regulation will impose fairly strict control on what may be put into any advertisement. In addition we will control the overall volume of the money that may be spent on advertising.

There are other steps with which we hope to be able to proceed on a voluntary basis. I have mentioned that we are hoping to persuade various bodies and institutions to introduce no-smoking zones and areas. Some progress has been made in that direction but not enough. Those Deputies who travel frequently to and from the Continent will have noticed in many places—for instance in departmental stores and supermarkets—that smoking is prohibited. Slowly but surely we must increase here by persuasion—I do not intend attempting compulsory powers in this respect at present—the areas and places in which smoking is not acceptable. I am sure Deputies will recall that not too long ago there were smoking rooms at railway stations, so that rather than smoking in any place in the area of the station one went to those rooms. We must endeavour to bring about a situation again where in general smoking will not be inflicted by smokers on non-smokers and that smokers will be restricted to certain areas.

That brings me to my final point, and this is related again to the question of a general programme of positive health. I might digress here for a moment to say that the attitude of some of the Deputies in the Opposition intrigues me in this regard, especially the point of view expressed rather lugubriously by Deputy Mitchell when he was accusing me and attacking me as Minister for Health in respect of taking steps that were not costing any money. Some other Deputies made the same point. They indicated that I was engaging in activities designed to benefit the health of the community which were not costing the taxpayer any money. To those Deputies that situation was a cause for concern. In other words, they seemed to be under the impression that unless something costs the taxpayer money it is not of any value and should not be engaged in. I would have thought that any Deputy with common sense would agree that, if we could improve the health of our people while not incurring any cost for the taxpayer, we should do so and that the gain would be an all-round one. However, perhaps those Deputies concerned will clear their minds on this point. Are they convinced that, unless money is being spent and perhaps even wasted, nothing can be achieved and that it is wrong to bring about some improvement in general health and welfare if there is not involved taxpayers' money? That would be an extraordinary point of view but it may be the Fine Gael point of view. If I am correct in this assumption I should like the Deputies to explain better what they are complaining of.

One of the major ambitions and objectives of our health policy today must be to endeavour to make improvements that do not cost a great deal of money. If we can do that by promoting positive health, by preventive medicine and by keeping out of hospital people who need not be sick in the first place, surely we are effecting ultimate benefit for all our citizens. The greater number of people we can succeed in keeping healthy, the more resources we will have to spend on those who really need attention. This principle seems to me to be so absolutely clear-cut and fundamental that I find it difficult to understand the reason for any argument. We must do everything possible at every level to promote positive health, to activate people into looking after their health, into keeping fit and well, into engaging in good physical exercise, into being careful and sensible about their diet, into being moderate in their drinking habits and, if possible, into cutting out smoking. The more success we have in these matters, the better it will be for every member of the community. That should be one of the main thrusts of our health policy now and increasingly in the future.

I would like to see our national radio and television network playing a much greater part in this area. The power of radio and television today is very great, and can have enormous influence for good or otherwise. This is one area where the national radio and television service has a wonderful opportunity to perform a public service. The scope for sensible, well produced, attractive programmes on health on radio and television is enormous. This could be very good television and radio because most people are interested in their health, want to know more about it and would like to know how they can improve and maintain good health.

We have been in discussion with the RTE Authority with a view to seeing what can be done in this area. We have found a very helpful and co-operative attitude there. I would like to express a wish that this can be brought to fruition because this is an area where RTE and the Department of Health can combine to achieve something worth while and significant for the benefit and welfare of the people. It is said that the potential for dissemination of knowledge and understanding about health matters on radio and television is infinite. I hope we will be able very soon to bring these discussions to a successful conclusion and be able to actually get worth-while programmes on the air and on our screens.

I hope I have replied in some measure to most of the points raised on Second Reading. I am glad to note that a number of Deputies are interested in this subject. I was disappointed in particular that Deputy N. Browne did not afford this legislation a much more enthusiastic welcome. I acknowledge that he has been campaigning for some action in this area for a long time. I would have thought that when some action was being undertaken he would have supported it rather than denigrated it as he did.

I completely reject any suggestion that I am intimated or afraid to take on the tobacco companies, which he seemed to imply. However, if I were and if there was some suggestion that I had a mighty struggle on my hands either with the tobacco companies or with my colleagues, surely any modicum of encouragement and support he could give me would be welcome? Deputy N. Browne does not seem to see things that way. I sometimes doubt whether he is actually concerned with the reform and improvement itself or whether he is not more concerned with preaching his particular message, and when one actually delivers the goods he is not all that interested any more and he moves on to another area.

The Minister really loves him.

I was very disappointed. I do not say anything about my personal feelings one way or the other. We have known each other in politics for a long time, but I was very disappointed that his reception of this legislation was as lukewarm as it was.

This is very important legislation which will enable us to tackle firmly, definitely and effectively this problem and to deal with it. Maybe not in the next few months but in the long term, in a matter of years, this legislation will have made a very important contribution to the general health and welfare of our people.

The Minister said he intended controlling the volume of advertising. It would be helpful if he could expand a little on how he intends to control the volume of external advertising.

A problem arises in regard to the overspill, that is, tobacco products which are advertised in newspapers and magazines published in Great Britain, and although these magazines and newspapers are circulated here they would not be subject to our code. We have been going very carefully into that and I am reasonably satisfied they will adhere to our statutory provisions, whether they are distributors, manufacturers or whatever. We will be able to ensure that our statutory provisions are adhered to by advertisers in media which circulate in this country.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 1 November 1978.