Tobacco (Health Promotion and Protection) Bill, 1988: Second Stage.

Thursday, 30 June 1988

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 120 No. 11

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Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”

Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Tobacco (Health Promotion and Protection) Bill, which I have brought before this House today, has been discussed in some detail in the Dáil and I am glad to say that it received the wholehearted support of all parties in that House. The Deputies agreed that the Bill represented a vital and progressive piece of health legislation which was necessary to address one of the major preventable causes of ill health which was affecting this country.

The Bill is a specific legislative initiative designed to tackle the problem of tobacco smoking. It is designed to complement the legislative controls on the tobacco industry which were introduced by the Taoiseach in the 1978 Tobacco Products Act by providing the necessary statutory framework for the control of smoking in public places and the restriction on the sale of cigarettes to young people.

The control of tobacco consumption is necessitated by the continued evidence of an ongoing epidemic of illness and premature death in this and other western countries as a result of widespread tobacco smoking over the last 40 years. The overall objective of the Bill which I have brought before the House today is to reduce the toll of preventable smoking-related illnesses by further encouraging a decrease in the consumption of tobacco products. My growing concern for the health risks of passive smoking by non-smokers is also reflected in the provisions of the Bill. While I am aware that most people have now become conscious of [1685] the serious health risks that result from tobacco smoking, I feel that the House should be fully aware of the extent of these problems and of their impact in this country.

Smoking became very common in the western world after the Second World War and it was not until the fifties that the medical profession began to discover the links between smoking and lung cancer. A vast collection of medical evidence on the variety of serious diseases associated with tobacco smoking has accumulated over the last 30 years and the medical world is now united in its indictment of tobacco smoking as a major cause of ill health.

It is now accepted that smoking is associated with coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, cancer of the bronchus, the lung, the trachea, the mouth, the throat, the pancreas, the bladder and the kidney. In the face of this conclusive medical indictment of traditional tobacco products, the majority of countries in the developed world have been grappling with the problems of how to reduce the consumption of these widely used and very addictive products.

Smoking-related illnesses result in high levels of morbidity and mortality in Ireland every year. There are over 16,000 deaths each year from smoking-related illnesses in this country and it is estimated that as many as 5,000 of these deaths are directly due to smoking. The annual figures are more striking when expressed on a weekly basis. They indicate that as many as 100 Irish people each week are experiencing premature and often painful deaths, directly as a result of tobacco smoking. Many of these people are middle aged, a fact reflected in the statistics which show that 52 per cent of all deaths of those aged 35-64 years in 1982 resulted from smoking-related illnesses. The extent of preventable illness from tobacco smoking is now such that no Minister for Health could fail to take appropriate action to reduce the consumption of these injurious products.

[1686] The level of preventable illness resulting from tobacco smoking is such that it also places an enormous strain on the health services. Smoking-related illnesses account for almost 480,000 days spent in hospital each year and it is estimated that the yearly hospital costs associated with these smoking-related illnesses are in excess of £50 million.

To these costs must be added the costs of out-patient services, general medical services, disability payments and days lost at work. Together these costs are likely to impact on the Exchequer at least as heavily as the hospital costs. Finally, the costs associated with the pain and suffering experienced by so many families as a result of these high levels of preventable illnesses are incalculable.

The problem of reducing tobacco consumption is a complex one, and the Government have considered all aspects of the issue. On balance, they decided that the public health considerations are of such magnitude that they far outweigh the marginal economic impacts which a gradual reduction in tobacco consumption over a number of years will effect.

The evidence in relation to the injurious impact of smoking on smokers has been supplemented in recent years by growing medical evidence that smoking also impacts on non-smokers through breathing in air which contains other people's smoke. This phenomenon is now known as passive smoking and it raises significant public health issues with regard to the protection of the health of non-smokers.

The inhalation of environmental tobacco smoke was, until the late seventies, simply regarded as an unpleasant social nuisance. Medical research has now shown that it poses significant public health risks. Passive smokers breathe in the smoke that comes from the end of the burning cigarette as well as the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Research has now shown that the unfiltered smoke of the smouldering cigarette is more dangerous than that inhaled by the smoker. People with bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and chronic lung disease are now all known [1687] to be adversely affected when forced to remain in smoking atmospheres. Also people suffering from certain forms of heart disease are vulnerable when forced to breathe in a smokey atmosphere and people with angina suffer attacks more readily when exposed to tobacco smoke.

The most worrying finding to date in relation to passive smoking is that there is emerging evidence that there is an increased risk of lung cancer for non-smokers who are exposed to passive smoking for many years. The weight of available evidence indicates that about a quarter of the cases of lung cancer in non-smokers in general may result from passive smoking.

Growing awareness of the health risks of smoking have now reduced it to being a minority habit in this country. Two-thirds of the Irish adult population choose not to smoke. However, it is not easy to stop smoking once you have become addicted. Research has shown that almost half of smokers cannot break their addiction despite having negative attitudes to smoking and being aware of its harmful effects. Seventy five per cent of smokers interviewed have indicated that they would like to smoke less and over half of all current smokers expressed a moderate to strong wish to give up smoking. The research, therefore, shows that the majority of smokers want to cut down or give up but find it hard to kick this highly addictive habit.

The proposals contained in this Bill, which are designed to encourage non-smoking, therefore represent the wishes of the majority of smokers and non-smokers. The research shows that most smokers and non-smokers are anti-smoking. The tobacco industry and the pro-smoking vested interests have no factual basis when they present themselves as the protectors of the rights and wishes of the smoking population. The findings show that over half of all smokers have indicated a desire to overcome their addiction.

In addition to their overall desire to give up smoking, it has been indicated in recent research that 56 per cent of Irish [1688] smokers “strongly agree” that smoking should be confined to special smoking areas. The provisions of this Bill which are intended to restrict smoking in public places are therefore a reflection of the majority wish of smokers as well as non-smokers and there is no majority of public opinion to support the argument that smokers should be free to smoke everywhere.

The provisions of this Bill are also in line with international developments, both within and outside the European Community. The European Community has as part of its overall “Europe Against Cancer” programme, targeted the reduction of tobacco consumption as the main priority in reducing the high levels of morbidity and mortality from cancer in the Community. This programme was discussed by a European Council of Health Ministers which I attended in May of this year. The majority of member states expressed strong support for a number of specific initiatives designed to reduce tobacco consumption within the Community.

As part of the “Europe Against Cancer” programme the European Commission will be submitting to the Council by the end of this year a proposal for the control of tobacco smoking in public places. In addition, the European Parliament, on 11 February of this year, adopted a resolution which welcomed the measures taken by various member states to introduce a ban on smoking in public places and called on other countries to follow suit with a view to the complete prohibition of smoking, both in public buildings and in enclosed spaces which are open to the public.

The provisions of section 2 of this Bill are, therefore, fully in line with developments within the European Community and internationally. By 1982, 31 countries had enacted legislation restricting smoking in public places. This number has increased continually since then.

Within this country, public opinion has in recent years encouraged greater restrictions on smoking in public places. The DART train services and Dublin bus services have both introduced voluntary [1689] prohibitions on smoking and the success of these initiatives has shown that control on public smoking are both highly popular and well respected by the general public. While these voluntary initiatives have been most encouraging, there is a limit to voluntary action in this area and the statutory provisions contained in this Bill will give the necessary support to owners and managers who are anxious to restrict smoking on their premises.

Since coming into office, the Government have taken a number of initiatives to ensure that health promotion is given a central position in health policy and the health services. I have established a health promotion unit within my Department and an overall advisory council on health promotion made up of a broad representation of experts in appropriate sectors. The increased emphasis which I have placed on health promotion is an attempt to create, through public policy, an environment which is protection of, and conducive to, healthy living.

The Bill which I have brought before the House today is a classic piece of health promotion legislation in that it will, when enacted, make the healthy choice the easy choice for the smoker while simultaneously improving the quality of the environment for the non-smoker. I believe that it is this type of initiative which will become increasingly necessary if we are to reduce the enormous burden of preventable illness in this country and switch the emphasis of health policy away from expensive acute hospital care.

The Bill as drafted is an enabling piece of legislation which gives the Minister for Health power to make regulations to prohibit or restrict smoking in a variety of public places. The places which are designated in the Bill are those in which there is a high level of public support for smoking control. They are all enclosed public places which smokers and non-smokers are forced to share. The discretionary power to prohibit or restrict smoking will allow me to consider the nature of the areas concerned and the duration of stay in them, before drafting [1690] my specific controls. In view of the growing evidence of the health risks of passive smoking, it is imperative that the Minister for Health should retain the power to prohibit smoking totally in any area where he feels the public health risks are unacceptable.

In the Committee Stage debate on these provisions in the Dáil a number of Deputies asked that I outline the specific areas in which I intended to control smoking. Sections 2 (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) highlight the specific public areas which I would regard as priority areas for the enactment of these controls. However, it is not possible to indicate the extent to which restriction or prohibitions will be introduced in specific areas at this stage and I will consult with all interested parties before drawing up the detailed regulations.

Under the provisions of the Bill the owner, manager or person in charge of the public places in question has the primary responsibility for enforcing the controls on smoking. In the event that individual smokers fail to comply with the restrictions they can be fined a sum not exceeding £100. However, I would expect, on the basis of existing controls on smoking that there will not be any great difficulty in getting public co-operation with regard to these controls. In the event that prosecutions are necessary regarding the enforcement of these controls, I have made it an express provision of the Bill that it will be a defence for the owner or manager of the public place to show that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the prohibitions or restrictions were enforced. I believe that this is a reasonable approach that will ensure that these important public health provisions are adequately enforced.

As well as the provisions of the Bill in relation to smoking in public places, I have included a number of other provisions which are necessary to update the law in relation to tobacco and particularly in relation to its sale to young people. Under section 3 of the Bill I have updated the law on the sale of cigarettes to children. At present, it is an offence to sell cigarettes to persons under 16, under the [1691] Children Act, 1908. However, the provisions of that Act, allowing for a maximum fine of £2 are well out of date. Research has shown that smoking among schoolchildren is a significant problem.

One study of Irish adolescents between 11 and 13 years of age found that 49 per cent experimented with smoking. The earlier a person begins smoking the greater the damage to health. The evidence indicates that if people had not started smoking in their adolescent and teenage years they are very unlikely to begin in adult life. I believe that we must now take a strong stand against teenage smoking and provisions in section 3 are designed to significantly reduce the access of young people to these injurious products. The provisions of section 6 which I will be referring to later are also primarily intended to discourage tobacco consumption among younger people.

Under section 3 any person who sells or makes available tobacco products to children in relation to the sale of any other product, will be liable to a fine not exceeding £500. This section is designed to ensure that tobacco products cannot be supplied to children in any form of commercial transaction. As young people often purchase cigarettes from automatic vending machines, section 3 (2) of the Bill is drafted to ensure that these machines are properly supervised. This is a common international response to this problem. In Canada, a legal duty is imposed on the person in charge of a vending machine to make sure it is not used by children. Similarly, in Finland the sale of tobacco products from vending machines is permitted only where the machine is under supervision. Cyprus has banned vending machines altogether. I am sure that Senators will agree that it is only reasonable that the people in charge of vending machines make sure that they are not used by children as an easy way of obtaining cigarettes.

Section 4 of the Bill also deals with restricting the access of children to cigarettes. Under the Old Maximum Prices Orders for cigarettes it was illegal to sell cigarettes singly. However, the previous [1692] Government removed this provision when they abolished the relevant Maximum Prices Order. My Department consistently receive complaints about unscrupulous shopkeepers who break packages of cigarettes and sell them singly. Single cigarettes are a particular attraction to children with limited money and a desire to experiment with cigarettes. The provisions of section 4 of the Bill will outlaw this undesirable practice and together with the other provisions of the Bill should go some way towards reducing teenage smoking.

Section 5 of the Bill gives to the Minister for Health the power to determine what additives are used in tobacco products and to prohibit specific additives which he thinks are particularly injurious to health. At present, a voluntary agreement exists between my Department and the Irish tobacco manufacturers which achieves the objectives of section 5 of the Bill. However, this agreement does not extend to importers of tobacco products and the statutory provisions set out in section 5 will ensure that the Minister can treat imported and Irish manufactured products similarly. With a general movement by both smokers and the tobacco industry towards low tar cigarettes and the general development of tobacco technology, an ever growing list of additives and tobacco substitutes are being used in tobacco products. It is imperative that the Minister for Health should have statutory power to control these additives in the interest of public health. Just as statutory powers exist in relation to the use of additives in foodstuffs, it is necessary that the use of additives in tobacco products should also be controlled.

Section 6 of the Bill deals with the ever growing range of products know as oral smokeless tobacco products. These are a range of tobacco products largely developed in the USA and Scandinavia which are designed to be used by being placed in the mouth and sucked or chewed. These products contain high levels of nicotine and this is absorbed through the mouth. They are highly addictive and are often marketed at people who wish to give up smoking but who [1693] cannot break their addiction. The section is thus preventative in this context and further strengthens our controls over under-age smoking contained in section 3.

A wide variety of these oral smokeless tobacco products have been developed and promoted in North America, Scandinavia and more recently within the European Community. These products are being promoted to young people as an alternative way to enjoy tobacco and it is estimated by the World Health Organisation that about 10 million people, most of them teenagers, in the United States of America are now using these products.

These products cause serious health problems. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organisation, has determined that there is sufficient evidence that these products cause oral cancer. The use of these products also causes serious dental damage. Continual use can cause white patches, known as leukoplakia, to appear on the gums. Some of these white patches may subsequently become cancerous. The use of these products can also cause dental damage due to a receding of the gums where the tobacco regularly comes in contact with the mouth. In June 1987 a World Health Organisation Study Group on smokeless tobacco control recommended a “preemptive” total ban on the importation, production and sale of all types of smokeless tobacco.

As Minister for Health, I am deeply concerned at the potential availability in this country of the type of chewing tobaccos which are being promoted in other countries at young people as safe alternatives to smoking. The scientific and medical evidence relating to the range of oral smokeless tobaccos, including chewing tobaccos, is such that it would be remiss of me as Minister for Health not to provide comprehensive legislation protecting the public against these products. A number of other countries where these products were recently introduced have taken similar action to protect public health. The use of certain forms of [1694] smokeless tobacco has been prohibited in Hong Kong, Israel and New Zealand. The UK Government have now announced their intention to ban certain smokeless tobacco products under their Consumer Protection Act. The Federal Government in Australia have also announced a similar intention.

In 1985, when it was first proposed to import some of the new smokeless tobacco products into this country, the then Minister for Health made an order prohibiting their importation under the Health Act, 1947. This order was subsequently challenged in the High Court and in a judgment delivered in September 1987, Mr. Justice Hamilton found the order to be ultra vires the power of the Minister under the Health Act, 1947. The public health basis for the Order was not an issue in the judgment.

Section 6 of the Bill currently before the House is intended to restore the effect and intention of the previous Order and to ensure that no other smokeless tobacco products can be promoted in this country. To allow forms of nicotine addiction which are not yet established in the country to be promoted, particularly to our young people, would be irresponsible of me as Minister for Health. To allow new products and products not widely used, which are known carcinogens, to be marketed would be indefensible.

While this provision received cross party support in the Dáil a number of Deputies sought to have the existing brand of domestically produced chewing tobacco exempted from the provisions of the Bill. However, I indicated that the exemption of any specific oral smokeless tobacco could not be justifed on health grounds and an exemption of a specific class of an oral smokeless product would leave the legislation wide open for exploitation. Given the current developments by the tobacco industry internationally of new forms of tobacco consumption I have no doubt that any gaps in the law would encourage the development and promotion of the products exempted.

The remaining provisions of the Bill are of a more technical and routine nature, providing for the enforcement of [1695] the Bill. Section 9 of the Bill is included to amend the procedures whereby summary proceedings may be brought under the Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) Act, 1978. The revised section will make it easier to take summary proceedings under that Act. Sections 10, 12 and 13 are standard provisions and section 11 simply repeals the relevant sections of the Children Act, 1908, which will be replaced by section 3 of this Bill.

In conclusion, I would reiterate that I am bringing this smoking control legislation before the House as a major piece of public health legislation. The smoking controls proposed in the Bill are designed to minimise the risks of passive or involuntary smoking and to provide a healthier smoke-free environment.

They will also help to deter young people from smoking by conveying the idea that non-smoking is the normal majority behaviour. They will provide support to the majority of smokers who wish to give up smoking and who want smoking to be confined to special smoking areas. The provisions of the Bill will introduce a type of smoking control which has broad public support among smokers and non-smokers alike.

This broad public support was well reflected in the general welcome which all parties gave to the Bill in the Dáil. Indeed the debate in that House was most constructive and supportive. I look forward to similar broad based support for the Bill in this House and commend the Bill to you.

Mrs. Fennell: Information on Nuala Fennell  Zoom on Nuala Fennell  On behalf of Fine Gael I welcome this Bill to the Seanad and I assure you that it will get the same broad and constructive response that it got in the other House. Its aim is to reduce the number of smokers in our society and to eliminate so far as possible the health risks to which non-smokers and smokers are subjected. It is a commendable primary prevention move.

This Bill will be a useful tool to encourage healthier habits and a cleaner environment for all. In the past 30 years we [1696] have learned a great deal about the effects of smoking, drinking and indeed of the illeffects on our health of taking tea and coffee. Nowadays anyone who smokes must know full well that they are damaging their health and very likely bringing forward the date of their deaths. It is an awesome thought and as a life time non-smoker I am baffled at how smokers can continually rationalise this to themselves.

The Minister's Second Stage speech gives us very good background statistics and creates, so far as I am concerned, a terrific back-drop for the measures he is taking and justifies them. We learn that deaths from smoking related illnesses accounted for 52 per cent of all deaths between the ages of 35 and 60 in 1982, we learn that smoking is associated with a very broad range of diseases from coronary artery disease to cancers in the mouth, trachea, throat, pancreas, bladder and kidney. We learn that smoking is the single most important cause of death in middle age. Each year about 480,000 days are spent in hospital as a result of smoking related illnesses and the cost of this hospitalisation is in excess of £50 million.

Smoking, therefore, has vast negative effects. Section 2 spells out fairly clearly the places likely to be the subject of the prohibition subsequent on this legislation. They include theatres, cinemas, concert halls as well as public transport. As there are already some restrictions in these places I think it should cause no great problem to extend them even further. It was interesting to note that 56 per cent of Irish smokers agree that smoking should be confined in public places and I am quite sure that non-smokers — and they represent two third of the Irish adult population — would all wish to have a total ban on smoking. This wish is not motivated by anything other than self preservation.

We know, as the Minister has again said, that non-smokers can become ill through breathing in air which contains other people's smoke. This passive smoking is damaging. Indeed we, the non-smokers, breathe in unfiltered smoke [1697] which comes from the end of a lit cigarette without the filter barrier and it is more dangerous than that which is inhaled by the smoker. Evidence shows that about a third of the cases of lung cancer in non smokers who live with smokers is attributable to passive smoking. It seems to me that more young people from 13 upwards are smoking than there were years ago. In my youth smoking by young people was severely criticised by our elders. In fact it was a taboo habit. They forbade it because it was improper and infringed the code of conduct at that time. This attitude by adults has changed but it was an attitude that warned off young people. They were afraid of the sanctions that would be imposed if they were caught smoking. That code of conduct has changed in more recent years with the more liberal concept that young people should make the choices for their behaviour with all the facts and information available to them. Unfortunately, I think the health factor will not be a strong deterrent to these young people. A much more potent deterrent will be when smoking becomes thoroughly antisocial. It is moving in that direction.

In any gathering or group nowadays smokers are a very small minority. They can feel very ostracised by their lack of numbers and, indeed, it encourages them to abstain temporarily from smoking. What happened in Australia in their anti-smoking campaign is interesting. Every public place is subject to a prohibition order. If anybody breaks it they are fined. There are no arguments, no excuses or appeals. The penalty is applied. My son who is a smoker was there on holiday this year. He said that when he adapted to the Australian situation he realised that almost the only place he could smoke without such guilt was in the lavatory. He maintains that the almost total ban on smoking made him think very seriously about it and took away normal enjoyment sensations. He realised fully that he was smoking only to feed his habit. When he returned to Ireland he gave up cigarettes and battled on for two weeks without them. He was so disorientated and so distressed from withdrawal symptoms I [1698] am afraid he had to take them up again because he is studying very intensely and it did not help his concentration. He is now a reluctant smoker and like many others he loathes the habit and resents the fact that he cannot give them up.

This is an area that needs much more thought and action to help chronic smokers to kick the habit. The Department of Health should give a lead and initiate programmes based on the best possible international evidence of success. The campaign against smoking has to be two-pronged, first, to prevent new smokers — and here we are almost exclusively focussing on young people — and secondly, to wean smokers off the habit. Prohibiting the chewing of tobacco is going to cut off one source of therapy used by a lot of people who want to give up smoking. We need to begin to think in terms of getting programmes under way, using advertising and every form possible to try to help people who are trying to give up smoking. We now have good cause to again regret the abolition of the Health Education Bureau. In all their operations they were nowhere as successful as they were in their anti-smoking campaigns.

The Minister may say that the new health promotion unit in your Department is active and involved. I am afraid there is no visibility of that. We neither hear nor see anything of them. It is very regrettable that the high public awareness created by the “knot” programme has been lost. I feel it is vitally important to be consistent in such campaigns. Cigarette advertising is, I feel, still seductive. Anti-smoking advertisements are needed to counter their effects. It should have a high priority.

Finally, I would pose the question: how do we get more people in leadership or decision making roles to abstain in public or give up smoking altogether? Doctors in huge numbers are one profession that toed the anti-smoking line as soon as evidence of health risk emerged. Sports people are another group. I know that this is very effective. If a sports champion or an achiever says, directly or even indirectly, that he does not recommend [1699] smoking and that he would advise people not to smoke if they want to achieve in sport, this is hugely effective and influences young people. Teachers have a very important role. Can some incentive be given to encourage teachers to give up smoking or, alternatively, can smoking be banned in all schools and college premises? I particularly condemn those schools which have so called smoking rooms in them. I would see this as giving a clear message to young people that, “it is all right to smoke so long as you are doing it in this particular space, room or building”. There should be no such thing as smoking rooms. Smoking should be outlawed in schools. Every effort should be made to make schools and colleges smoke free zones. I wonder if, when the Minister is replying, he would indicate if this is his line of thinking, whether he is going to make colleges smoke free and ban smoking during the school day.

Finally, this is a very good measure. It is long overdue and I trust that it will be properly implemented.

Mr. Cullimore: Information on Séamus Cullimore  Zoom on Séamus Cullimore  I would like to compliment the Minister on bringing this Bill before the House. The Bill deals with one of the great public health problems of our time. Medical evidence has proved beyond doubt that smoking is causing serious health problems. Statistics prove that over 100 people die each week in Ireland from smoking-related illnesses. Between the ages of 35 and 64, 52 per cent of deaths are caused by smoking-related illnesses. The cost in financial terms to the Exchequer is in excess of £50 million. This is not to mention the hardship and sufferings caused to many individuals and families.

The Bill is particularly welcome and does not only deal with direct smoking but with passive smoking. Passive smoking is now an area of major concern to the general public. Many people are extremely worried about the implications of people smoking in their company. Dr. Risteárd Mulcahy, one of the most respected cardiologists in this country, has stated “that smoking is the single [1700] greatest evil affecting the Irish people. When we think of the problems we have in this country such as unemployment, the Northern situation, the national debt and when we see a man like Dr. Mulcahy saying that this is one of the greatest problems that this country faces, it surely brings home to us that something has to be done in this area. I would like to see a ban imposed on smoking in all public places — in pubs, restaurants and on public transport. Results collected from the surgeon general in the US prove beyond doubt that smoking is now associated with lung cancer, cancer of the pancreas, cancer of the bladder, bronchitis and spontaneous abortion.

Section 3 of the Bill deals with supervision of automatic vending machines. The owner of a machine for the sale of tobacco who permits the machine to be used by persons under the age of 16, shall be guilty of an offence. I welcome this provision but it may be very difficult to enforce. Section 4 of the Bill deals with persons who illegally sell cigarettes singly. Many of us started smoking because of the availability of single cigarettes. The removal of this provision by the previous Government brought many complaints from parents and constituents to politicians. It is very wrong that youngsters should have access to single cigarettes which makes it so easy for them to develop this terrible habit of smoking. Section 6 of the Bill deals with the ever-growing range of products known as oral smokers tobacco products. These tobacco products are used by being placed in the mouth and chewed and they are highly addictive. I believe that they are even a greater danger to people than smoking cigarettes.

Many people are concerned about pollution in the atmosphere. Many people are concerned today about people smoking in public places. Let me ask the Minister to consider extending the ban to all public places. The degree of cancer from smoking is certainly related to tar content. Let me ask the Minister to consider making a provision in the legislation to compel cigarette companies to reduce the tar content in cigarettes.

[1701] In conclusion I would like to compliment the Minister again and wish this Bill a speedy and effective passage through this House.

Professor Murphy: Information on John A Murphy  Zoom on John A Murphy  I am glad to welcome the Bill. A few weeks ago in the House we dealt with the Intoxicating Liquor Bill. On that occasion I spoke as an expert on the subject having devoted, and continue to devote, quite a large amount of my time and leisure to the consumption of spirituous liquors. I speak also as an expert on this matter; unfortunately, I have acquired an expertise that enables me to talk with some authority about smoking.

I belong to a generation for whom smoking was almost inevitable, it being regarded as the grown-up and smart thing to do. I smoked continuously from the age of 16 or 17 until eight years ago when I succeeded, after an heroic struggle, in quitting tobacco smoking immediately. I take credit in this case. Senator Fennell is perfectly right. It is enormously and indescribably difficult to give up cigarette smoking. In fact, I was consoled by reading somewhere that the psychological and physical hurdles to be overcome in giving up cigarette smoking are no less than in kicking a hard drug addiction. That is the dimension of the problem.

I count myself fortunate that I have been able to kick the habit. I am fortuante that I seem to have escaped the major consequences of long years of addiction and even more fortunate that I can now enjoy the delights of country walking. Indeed, last weekend I tramped the length and breadth of Oileán Cléire. I would not have experienced that exhilaration, I am quite convinced, if I continued to smoke cigarettes. If I had continued to smoke cigarettes I would not be here today. For that some of my colleagues would be profoundly grateful, but that is another story. I may confess that I still hanker after the odd cigarette: it is an addiction which you never quite get rid of. Therefore, I speak from experience. I can exhort smokers that it is possible and that there is a life after cigarette smoking.

[1702] To some extent I speak with the fanaticism of a convert and certainly with that peculiar revulsion which the ex-smoker feels in an atmosphere of cigarette smoking. It is one of the peculiarities that those who have never smoked cigarettes do not find a smokey atmosphere quite as objectionable as those who have smoked cigarettes and have given them up. Even if I were still smoking cigarettes I would be totally in favour of this Bill. The Minister is right. I am sure the statistics are right, that smokers as well as non-smokers are in favour of the principles underlying this Bill.

Our smoking is part of a temperament which has a low awareness of the environment, which is very strong on individual rights, which is even part of a communal generosity and fraternity. I have been offered cigarettes late at night by total strangers on the strength of our common nationality: “here take one, aren't we all Irish”. It is a communal habit. It is also great company. We must not underrate the attractiveness of tobacco and cigarette smoking. We have a very large task on our hands here.

The lack of awareness of the environment, pollution, and so on, are part of our temperament. The reluctance we have in public in confronting unpleasant situations is more of our national temperament. It has good sides and bad sides. In other countries people have no hesitation whatsoever in confronting someone who is violating a law against smoking in a public place. Other Senators and the Minister have spelled out the dimensions of the scourge. I do not want to go over that ground again, except to say that perhaps there are even more dramatic ways of putting it.

The most recent issue of a journal called World Health and Smoking puts the hazards of cigarette smoking in the following quite startling ways. For example, it cites the fact that 1,000 people per day died from the consequences of tobacco smoking. That is the same as if two Jumbo planes carrying 500 passengers each collided in mid-air and there were 1,000 fatalities every single day. It has that dramatic dimension. [1703] Death from tobacco-related diseases outnumbers all other causes of death from the following sources: road accidents, heroin, cocaine, fires, suicides and AIDS. A mother who smokes exposes her small baby to much greater risks than if she did not smoke, not simply from the normal passive smoking risks but the risk of cot death, that most tragic hazard of young infant life, is two and a half times more probable in the case of mothers who smoke. That is another startling statistic from this recent journal World Health Smoking.

These are the kind of lurid statistics which should be projected before the public. We must also take another matter into account. It is not considered a right thing to refer to differences of class and education but the fact is that heavy smoking is related to categories of class and educational levels. Any anti-smoking campaign should take proper note of that fact as well. There should be a new publicity campaign on radio and television. I also deplore the passing of the old Health Education Bureau campaign. Some of this, however, was rather innocuous. Looking back at it now and in the light of the horrors that we have just been talking about, it seems it was a bit genteel to be saying “if you smoke cigarettes you might not get a place on the Kerry team” or “your girlfriend might not find your kisses just as winey as they would be if you were not smoking”, although, come to think of it, this is not a field on which I am an expert. That might be a very material consideration to put before the public. What I do regret is the passing or phasing out of these. We must introduce a new series of anti-smoking slogans.

Also, I have to say in this place that I congratulate — I am sure it is all right to mention him by name — Mr. John Bowman, the radio and television personality, for his courage in turning down an award which was sponsored by a tobacco company. In fact, I find the whole idea of a tobacco company sponsoring awards for journalistic excellence to be a bit sick because of course they have no real interest in the standards of [1704] journalism. What they are really interested in is gaining a spurious respectability for themselves and in circumventing the advertising ban on tobacco.

We have seen in recent times in the United States the power of the smoking lobby and of the tobacco-vested interests and the withdrawal of hefty advertising moneys from those who were involved in the ban of tobacco by airlines. The tobacco companies can exercise their muscle where it really hurts when it comes to advertising. Like all great vested interests, they are totally ruthless. In our case let us hope the Minister will be able to resist the blandishments and pressures of tobacco companies when it comes to implementing the regulations under the new Bill.

The main principle behind this Bill and behind our whole approach to smoking cigarettes in public is that the non-smoker has an absolute right to enjoy a non-smoking atmosphere subject to no conditions whatsoever. A smoker has no right to smoke in public. He has every right to do what damage he or she wants to do to himself, but not at the expense of others. I hope this is the principle that will be in the front of the Minister's mind when he comes to make the regulations under this Bill.

While I welcome the Bill I must say I would much prefer more specific provisions by way of definite mandatory and statutory provisions for the prohibition of smoking in specified areas. The Bill is a bit vague in that regard. The Minister may make such regulations as he sees fit under the Bill. We can only wait and hope that the regulations will be effective. I also would like to see a total ban on smoking in schools as has been suggested by Senator Fennell. I see no reason that there should not be a ban in primary and secondary schools and, indeed, to a large extent in third level institutions as well. Are they not also largely funded by public money? Certainly, the real problem is with the young people and the teenagers. Senator Fennell is perfectly correct to note the alarming increase in smoking [1705] among young people again in recent years.

In this country it may have to do with levels of frustration arising from the malaise of unemployment and, perhaps, even the running sore of the North and the general sense of frustration. For whatever reason, anybody with eyes in their heads can see the remarkable and regrettable increase in smoking among young people. I know young people, for example, who only five years ago were railing against their elders for smoking and who are now hooked themselves. This is the area that we have to contend with. It is the most important area. Therefore, I agree with Senator Fennell that the teacher is of enormous influence here. The good example and the bad example are paramount. I see no reason that schools should not be totally non-smoking areas. It would have a massive impact, I am convinced, on young people to have this kind of spectacular example in front of them.

As for hospitals, it seems to me to be a total nonsense to permit smoking in any part of any hospital. An institution which is devoted to the restoration to health of its patients surely cannot condone the presence of smoking anywhere within the hospital environment particularly, I would suggest, in kitchens and canteens where hygiene alone should be a consideration. I hope the Minister will have the courage to make regulations enforcing these dramatic — and they would be dramatic — prohibitions on tobacco smoking.

I was interested that Senator Cullimore felt that public houses should come under the general rubric. I agree in theory, but in practice we can hardly attempt the impossible. I see no reason why sections of public houses should not be reserved for non-smokers. Certainly, sections of restaurants are so reserved. This is becoming a practice anyway, but I think it should be made more universal.

In the Bill also vehicles are mentioned such as trains, aircraft and buses. All we can say here is that we hope there will be a new and determined campaign to give non-smokers their rights in these areas [1706] of transport. The present position about trains, for example, is that although smokers constitute only perhaps 35 per cent of the adult population, frequently you will find that only one-third, if that, of a train on a mainline service is reserved for non-smokers so the proportion seems to be perverse. This should be settled. The way to go about it is to bring about a situation where, on a railway platform, travellers should have to look for the smoking carriage instead of, as at the moment, having to look for the non-smoking carriage. It is the smoking carriage that should be the “aberrational carriage”, and that is not so at the moment.

The first reservation I have about this Bill is that I find it vague. I am not happy that we are allowing it to the discretion and power of the Minister to make these new changes in public behaviour, as it were. I would much prefer to see it spelled out. Secondly, how can we be sure that these new regulations will be enforced? The Minister in his speech talked about existing practice and he says “I would expect on the basis of existing controls on smoking that there will be not be any great difficulty in getting public cooperation with regard to these controls”. He is talking about the fine not exceeding £100. I cannot see what grounds he has for this extremely optimistic statement. I have to say in my experience in recent years that there is an increasing awareness in the public at large about public smoking. It is becoming increasingly infrequent now to see people knowingly violating the smoking prohibitions on trains. I am talking about a situation of maybe five or ten years ago. I find even when people light up in non-smoking compartments and if you point it out to them, your risks of being subjected to verbal and physical abuse have been diminished in recent times. There is an improvement in that regard. I am still not happy about who is going to enforce the new regulations. Will there be notices affixed to the windows of train carriages saying, there is a fine of £100 “if you smoke”? What guarantee does that give us? In this Oireachtas we passed a law [1707] some years ago providing for a fine of £800 under the Litter Act. As far as I am aware, that is mostly a dead letter.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  No.

Professor Murphy: Information on John A Murphy  Zoom on John A Murphy  Certainly it has not brought about the kind of anti-litter situation we hoped it would. Has the law on tighter control of dogs brought about any improvement in the number of dogs running wild and the fouling of footpaths? It seems one of the major problems we have in this country is enforcing our laws. I mentioned some weeks ago the phrase used in a particular circular sent to Deputies and Senators hoping that in a certain situation there would not be over-reliance on enforcement of the law. We have to get away from that attitude. On a train, for example, who is going to enforce the new laws? Will it be the ticket collector? Will he have the time? It should not be left to individuals to draw attention to the fact that the laws are being violated. No single person should have to risk that kind of invidious position. When the Minister is replying could he say what grounds he has for being so optimistic, and how he proposes to have these new laws enforced. I would prefer a Bill with more specific provisions so that when the law was violated we could point to the offender and say: “you are breaking that particular law”, instead of talking about regulations which the Minister may or may not make. With these reservations, I warmly support the Bill.

Mr. McKenna: Information on Tony McKenna  Zoom on Tony McKenna  By mhaith liomsa, chomh maith leis na Seanadóirí eile, fáilte a chur roimh an mBille seo agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis an Aire as ucht an Bille a chur os ár gcomhair. Like other Senators, I give a very warm welcome to this Bill. As outlined in the Minister's speech, the statistics are absolutely frightening in relation to smoking related illnesses. I share the same experience as Senator Murphy because I am a reformed smoker also and it is said that there is nobody as stringent in applying the law [1708] and objecting to other people smoking cigarettes as one who smoked and now does not smoke any more.

The difficulty in trying to highlight diseases and illnesses arising from smoking is that people, for one reason or another, and because they just do not want to think that much about it never think that what is said refers to themselves; illnesses can affect other people but not them. I wonder if it would be feasible to do a survey in relation to — are there any statistics available? — the number of people who tried to give up smoking at a particular time and failed? I would imagine that the numbers who did try and failed are very, very great indeed. That is the huge difficulty in relation to smoking.

One could go on ad infinitum in relation to the problems that are associated with passive smoking and other Senators have mentioned public places, planes, trains and buses. What always amazes me in relation to planes in particular is that you have non-smoking areas and smoking areas and statistics have proved, in fact, that passive smoking is far more dangerous to people than actual smoking itself. If you happen to be in the area that divides the non-smoking and smoking areas, you are in actual fact in a far worse situation than if you were in the smoking area. That always gives me cause for concern. I feel very strongly that in any public transport or in any public places smoking should be banned totally because passive smoking is detrimental.

I agree with Senator Murphy and Senator Fennell about children smoking and the banning of smoking in schools. However, I feel we will have to do a little bit more than that. We will have to have a positive attitude in trying to prevent children smoking in schools because the one thing I have learned as a teacher of some years is that you very rarely succeed when you tell children: “Do not do this” or “Do not do that”. You have to encourage them and point out to them in a very positive way why they should not continue to smoke. I am sure Senator [1709] Murphy would very readily agree with me that banning smoking will not get rid of the problem in schools. I would find it extremely difficult at third level — I am not familiar with the workings of third level — to implement the regulation in relation to the banning of smoking in those areas because students, both at second level and third level, would find ways around smoking if they wished to do so. We will have to create an environment in which those students will be encouraged not to smoke and at all times point out the illnesses and the difficulties associated with smoking.

I disagree somewhat with Senator Murphy in relation to trains and the fact that ten or 15 years ago you could suggest to somebody who was smoking in a non-smoking carriage in a train that there was a non-smoking sign there and that they should not be smoking. Only last week coming up on a train I had occasion to point out to a person that it was a non-smoking carriage and I was told in no uncertain terms what to do with myself. Ignorance is involved also. We have to educate the people to the fact that, if they want to injure themselves in a certain way, they are not entitled to injure other people's health.

I feel very strongly about fines and the regulations imposing fines on people who are found smoking in non-smoking areas. I agree totally with Senator Murphy in regard to the application of the regulations. It is a lack of consideration for others that encourages people to do things like smoking in areas where the signs say they are not entitled to do so. The fines suggested should be imposed in a very effective way. I wonder exactly what system will be used to implement those regulations because it is extremely important that we should be seen to do that.

This brings me on to the question of serving cigarettes to children. I find there is a difficulty there also in implementing the regulations. Although there is a fine of £2 for people who serve cigarettes to children under 16 years of age, very rarely have I found that regulation enforced. I do not know of any case where that [1710] regulation was implemented. It is important that, when a fine is being increased to £500 for shopkeepers or others found serving cigarettes to children under the age of 16, that regulation should be very effectively implemented and people should be made quite aware that they cannot serve cigarettes to children under 16 years of age. In many cases children of that age and younger collect the groceries and buy the groceries on behalf of grandparents or parents and so on, and invariably on the grocery list will be cigarettes. I wonder how exactly you get around that difficulty. I am anxious to know how the Minister will try to get around that problem.

As other Senators said smoking is very addictive and it is very difficult to overcome. No matter what type of regulations are in force and no matter what type of statistics are put forward to show the serious effects on health of people smoking, there will always be people who will smoke. However, it is extremely important that those who do not wish to smoke are not put at risk by the people who want to smoke. I do know if anybody in the House has ever heard of or listened to a record by an American comedian about Sir Walter Raleigh ringing up the British to say that he had made this fantastic discovery of the tobacco leaf. He was explaining, supposedly over a bush telegraph to a British official about this fantastic discovery he had made: you get this leaf, roll it up, put it into your mouth and set fire to it. To a community of people who had never heard of smoking before, it must have been absolutely unbelievable that someone would get a leaf, roll it up, put it into their mouth, set fire to it and set fire to themselves as well in the process.

There was a little bit more thought in that send-up of Sir Walter Raleigh than many would have appreciated because, if you just think about it, that is exactly what we are doing to a very large extent. Smoking over a period of time affects us in a terrible way, perhaps in a more serious way than that individual had anticipated in his send—up of Sir Walter Raleigh. I would have imagined that, if [1711] you set fire to the tobacco leaf, and it burnt you you would never do it again but the unfortunate thing about the cigarette is that it does not affect you so quickly in that way.

I think this incident has a message for us and what we have got to do is try to encourage as many people, particularly young people not to smoke. I agree with Senator Murphy when he says that whereas five or six years ago many young people had turned against smoking, now for whatever reason, whether it is pressure in relation to examinations, the pressures in relation to the points system and so on, I do not know, but many of these young people are now smoking again. That is a tragedy. What we have got to do is encourage those people to see exactly the very harmful effects that smoking has on them. It is in those formative years, between 11 and 13, as the Minister mentioned in his speech and even a little bit later that people become addicted and once you become addicted it is extremely difficult to get off the habit.

I agree that what we have to do is launch another very forceful campaign of anti-smoking slogans. It is extremely important that we create the environment where people are left in no doubt whatsoever of the harmful effects of smoking. I hope that our schools, particularly, will be absolutely inundated with slogans to create an anti-smoking environment in all of them. Mention was made about banning cigarettes in schools and I will just refer to that again. Quite a number of second-level schools do ban smoking but I think it should be a policy, and I would ask the Minister to consult with the Department of Education in creating a policy, whereby cigarette smoking would be banned in all schools, particularly in all second level schools.

Hand-in-hand with that we should have a campaign of very strong anti-smoking slogans so that the pupils and students would be made quite aware of the very harmful effects of smoking. I sincerely hope that if that type of campaign was implemented it would bear fruitful results.

[1712] Again, I commend the Minister on bringing forward this very essential piece of legislation. It is more overdue and I cannot imagine anyone who would not be in favour of that legislation except people with vested interests. I commend the Minister and I give the Bill my full support.

Mrs. Bulbulia: Information on Katherine Bulbulia  Zoom on Katherine Bulbulia  Like other Senators who have spoken I am particularly pleased to welcome what is a major piece of public health legislation. I commend the Minister on his initiative on following through what was clearly established thinking in the Department of Health and in bringing forward this piece of legislation to the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Minister's speech was quite simply a superb one and I would compliment those involved in its preparation. It clearly and succinctly gives us the very latest statistics in research and in analysis of the problems. One could not quarrel with any aspect of it.

I have noticed, listening to other Senators, that there is a tendency here to make certain declaratory statements about one's own habits in the area of smoking. To be fair, at the outset, I should do the same. I am somebody who, through force of circumstances or for whatever reason, has never put a lighted cigarette to my lips and I have always had an aesthetic disinclination for cigarette smoking, long before there was any information or evidence of the health outcome and negative effects of smoking. Aesthetically, I find the whole thing absolutely displeasing and I am quite intolerant about cigarette smoking. As somebody who is normally speaking as a tolerant person, I must admit to an feeling of absolute intolerance vis-á-vis cigarette smoking.

People should not be equivocal about cigarette smoking. It is time they nailed their colours to the mast on this one, come out and stop being polite. If someone asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” People should be prepared to say “Yes, I do, actually”. I would encourage more and more people to have the courage of their convictions and come out with it [1713] and not to say “Ah, sure it's all right; it does not matter” in the usual sort of polite way in which we deal with things here.

I think there is a disease called tobaccoism. Cancer, emphysema, chronic obstructive airway disease, cardiograph killer disease, all of these are sequent to tobaccoism which is the disease. Frequently in health care politics we tend to focus on the wrong target but in today's debate and with this piece of legislation we are, for once, focussing on the correct target. As a society, we have not really woken up to the seriousness of the tobacco health hazard. It is quite simply a deadly drug addiction and one that has gained a certain acceptability in our society. We are slowly coming around to the realisation of its deadly effect and of the urgent necessity to take steps to ameliorate its effects and in time to eradicate it totally. As other Senators have said in the context of their contributions to this debate, cigarette smoking exerts a heavier toll in terms of lives and resources than do cocaine, heroin, AIDS, traffic accidents, murder and terrorists attacks combined. That is an American statistic and I have no reason to believe that it is any different in this country.

I do not think we have yet mounted a national campaign to combat this, appropriate to the size of the problem. We have had campaigns; we have had quite a good campaign in the “knot” series which Senator Fennell referred to, but appropriate to the size and scale and the effects of cigarette smoking, I do not think we have had a national campaign of sufficient significance, impact or strength and I hope that this legislation and the regulations accompanying it will perhaps be the necessary spur to the Minister, to the health educational promotions section of the Department to launch yet another campaign.

Hundreds and thousands are devoted in this country and throughout the world to cancer research. What is needed is a parallel war on the causes of cancer. I praise the work of the society for the prevention of cancer, the Irish Cancer [1714] Society. I would love to see them combining with the Department in this parallel war on the causes of cancer. I feel strongly that we have to declare an all-out war and I would love this measure to be even more comprehensive. I shall be very interested indeed in seeing the regulations and note that they must come before the Houses of the Oireachtas. I expect we will have a continuing debate when they do come before us. I hope the Minister, when replying to Second Stage debate, will indicate how soon he thinks the regulations will come into the House.

I am speaking personally here because of my own prejudice and my own bias which I feel has been reinforced by the information, statistics, research and the analysis, we should increase tax on all tobacco products. Every budget should hike those taxes and hike them to a considerable extent. It would be a very interesting exercise to determine how much every packet of cigarettes smoked costs our economy in disease and deaths. I believe the smoker should pay whatever that amount is. We are filling our hospital beds with diseases which are a direct outcome of cigarette smoking. The smoker should pay for the cost of it. The revenue from tobacco taxation should be earmarked for the prevention and treatment of chronic tobaccoism. There should be a direct relationship between the revenue yield from tobacco and the money expended on prevention and treatment of the tobacco-related diseases so that in the public mind there is a very clear correlation between the two. That is part of the battle against cigarette smoking.

I am disappointed in one respect in relation to this Bill and that is that it does not refer to what I believe is tobacco advertising on television. I know that technically and actually speaking, we do not appear to have tobacco advertising on television. Nobody comes along with a ciagrette in hand extolling the advantages and delights of a particular cigarette but in practice the massive tobacco industry sponsorship of sport means that virtually every day the public are exposed to such products, for example, Embassy snooker, Marlboro motor racing, Benson [1715] and Hedges tennis and Carrolls' golf. This is called subliminal advertising and the message is coming across. The tobacco industry has succeeded in circumventing the rules and regulations which have been brought in.

I would urge RTE to change its attitude to the televising of sporting events sponsored by the tobacco industry. They should be part and parcel of this campaign. They should not in any way collude with it and to my mind there is a certain collusion. By moving into sports sponsorship, the tobacco industry has used such broadcasts as a massive marketing opportunity. We should be alert to that and aware of it. We should try at all times to point it out and let people see what is actually happening.

I commended John Bowman for his disinclination to accept a Benson and Hedges award when I spoke on the Finance Bill in the area of taxation on tobacco. I do so here again. It is important that people of his stature in our community are unafraid and unashamed and unequivocal and that they voice their displeasure when they see the sneaky way in which the tobacco industry seeks to inveigle itself into the public forum and to give itself a certain spurious respectability.

Research in the United Kingdom and in this country indicates that while smoking overall among adults has declined, some 41 per cent and in the case of Ireland some 49 per cent, of school leavers are smoking. That is absolutely horrifying. The beautiful young bodies of our boys and girls are being polluted by smoke. It is abhorrent and distasteful and I would do anything to stop that from happening. It is almost like a death wish and it is done in a thoughtless, careless, unthinking way. We cannot do enough to put the facts before people and to explain.

I see a certain difficulty in coming out with a total prohibition and a certain negative attitude. Young people like facts, information and argument. We have to give them that. The adult population, the Minister for Health and the [1716] Department of Health owe the young people of this country at least that much. Recent research has indicated that 75 per cent of secondary school children see cigarette advertising on television, and children make up a large part of the audience for televised sport which relates back to my earlier point. The Government should put restrictions on tobacco advertising in sport.

Senator Fennell spoke about the importance of example in all of this. She indicated that major sporting figures should be encouraged or invited to be upfront about their either having kicked the habit or their disinclination to smoke or dislike of it and to link their sporting achievement with their smoke-free habits. The same is true of high achievers in all areas. Politicians, too, should be prepared to be open and to crusade a little in favour of no cigarette smoking. They should give example in all of this. Teachers, too, have been referred to in this debate. They would be important exemplars before young people.

Reference has been made to smoking rooms in certain schools. It is a rotten, cowardly capitulation on the part of school authorities to allow smoking rooms in schools. I do not approve of it and I think it is weakness. I hope that more and more schools that have such a nasty little corner will consider closing it and insist that the pupils should at least have sufficient discipline not to smoke in the school. Perhaps coming out of the school they may be seen lighting up as they are waiting for the buses and walking down the roads but at least within the school premises certain standards should be expected of them and adhered to.

I enjoyed Senator John Murphy's contribution. I thought what he had to say was telling, open, honest and courageous. It is rather poignant to hear him talk about how he himself kicked the habit. Again, I commend him for being so upfront and forthright. Reference has been made to passive smoking. So many of us have to endure that. As Senator Murphy says, we who do not smoke have an absolute right to have a smoke-free [1717] condition. The quality of the environment for the non-smoker is of tremendous importance.

It would be very difficult to eradicate smoking in third level establishments. Perhaps one could make a case there for common rooms, smoking rooms or recreation centres so that smoking would be confined to certain areas of the institution. There should never be any smoking in hospitals. I can remember a time when people leaned over the cribs of new-born babies with cigarettes in their hands and in their mouths. That was just simply totally unacceptable and quite appalling. Health premises are referred to in the legislation and I am very pleased about that.

We do need a new series of anti-smoking slogans. I hope the Minister will go after the brightest and the best and seek to get a new campaign on the road in tandem with this legislation and the regulations which will flow from it. One slogan I particularly like because it is a positive one is: “Thank you for not smoking”. There is an inbuilt assumption that, of course, you are not going to smoke. It is so much better than “No Smoking”. It is clever and it has a certain sort of politeness that I find appealing.

I look forward to a detailed discussion of this Bill on Committee Stage. Once again, I would just express my total and wholehearted support for this Bill and say how very glad I am to hear it debated here today. I wish it a speedy passage through the House and an even speedier enactment and enforcement.

Mr. O'Callaghan: Information on Vivian OCallaghan  Zoom on Vivian OCallaghan  There is not really a lot remaining to be said because everybody here was quite supportive of the content of this Bill. I merely rise to endorse everything that has been said and to say that we should recognise that this is merely a mechanism on the ground whereby the Minister will launch a further assault on the people who continue to assault us, the non-smoking population.

Professor Murphy highlighted the main thrust of what I would like to say. Having put this Bill before us today it is important [1718] that the Department would again go on the defensive because despite the statistics and despite what cigarette companies would have us believe, that there has been a reduction in income from the consumption of cigarettes, I still think that cigarette companies are winning this war. Statistics will prove quite definitely that young people still continue to take up this habit at an early age. On the other side of the coin young people are also acutely aware of the necessity to improve their lifestyles. There has been a big surge of interest in health food, for example, among young people, quite often the same people who are smoking. This highlights the type of double standard that exists and the effectiveness of the insidious onslaught that multi-national cigarette companies still make on the population of practically every country in the world. It is not enough to just put legislation on the Statute Book, we must go on the defensive as well. There are definitely areas from which we should seek assistance and support.

Last evening in the course of the lottery debate reference was made to the unique interest which the people have in sporting activities. This was illustrated in recent weeks with the huge success of our soccer team in Germany. There was national support for that team, even from people who have never in their lives been at a soccer match or who have never supported that game. The mere fact that we had a successful sporting team representing this country abroad was a shot in the arm for the entire State. That is an indication of the type of interest the people of this country have in sport. This is the one area that the Department should focus much more significantly on and they should harness the support of sporting organisations.

Recently a youth club in my own area carried out a survey on smoking and what absolutely astounded me, although I had a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, was that the incidence of smoking among young girls is much higher than among young men. I suspect that this stems primarily from the fact that there is a great lack of adequate sporting facilities for [1719] young girls in most parts of rural Ireland, in the rural towns and villages. The concentration on sporting activities tends to be on the main field sports for boys or young men. As a consequence the energies of young girls quite often are not harnessed by sports clubs. One of the reasons why the level of smoking by young people is much higher for girls than for boys is that boys have become aware of the fact that if you want to be a successful athlete or field player you must not smoke. That message is certainly getting through quite significantly. The lack of organised sporting facilities for girls is reflected in the fact that they do not have a great interest in being fit because they are not involved in team games. This is something that sporting organisations need to examine. Many national sporting organisations in Ireland purport to represent the entire population but they do not organise facilities for girls. There is a great imbalance in this and I suspect it is reflected in the higher incidence of smoking among the female population.

There is also a lot of cultism attached to smoking. There is a nonchalant, indifferent, passive attitude to smoking. Advertising in this area is no longer allowed. Senator Bulbulia referred to this matter. In other forms of advertising the cool clean hero, as it were, always smokes. I have no doubt that this is a form of insidious advertising. We should remember that, particularly in the huge film-making conglomerates in the United States, large shareholdings are held by the multi-national cigarette companies. Reynolds in particular are very big in the film-making industry simply because it gives them an entré — obviously they are in the business of making profits — to an international audience, whether on television or on film. They create the scenario whereby it is permissible to smoke and it is the in-thing to do. The fact that up-market, suave people always smoke creates a certain cult. One only has to look at the drink advertising to realise that the focus is also on those types of people. We have seen, particularly in recent times, advertising for a large range [1720] of ciders, for example, which have been introduced on the Irish market. The person in the advertisement is always of a laid back disposition, immaculately dressed and smoking. This undermines everything we are trying to achieve here. The nettle must be grasped. It is not enough just to put legislation like this on the Statute Book.

I had occasion to travel in the States recently and I was astounded to find that Pan American airlines allow no smoking on their aeroplanes on any internal flight in the United States. They advise you at the airport that if you want to fly with Pam Am you may not smoke. That is innovative and courageous. I am quite sure they will lose custom over it but in time this gradual evolution will take its toll. Announcements are made, as part of the ritual regarding safety regulations on airlines that there is an automatic $500 fine for anybody who interferes with the smoke alarms in the toilets, that is an indication of the lengths to which the smoker will go to have his “drag”— he will go into the toilet and dismantle the smoke alarm.

The smokers in our midst should be on notice that there are people in this world who are starting to take the initiative and are going on the offensive. That is a classic case in point and there is need for more such action of that. Senator Murphy was absolutely correct when he said that smokers are not entitled to invade the airspace of non-smokers. They should not be allowed to do so. I am in the pub business and one only has to clean up a pub after closing time to see the disarray that is created by smokers, apart from the pollution of the airspace. It is quite extraordinary. One never realises when the pub is full at night the extent of the take-over by the smoking population. This is something that will have to be addressed. With the evidence that is coming to hand of the impact that smoking has on the non-smoking population, employees in public houses or unions, on behalf of their members, will be seeking protection in these places. They are constantly subjected to this danger to their health.

[1721] An extraordinary case has been highlighted in the United States recently where a husband is suing one of the multi-national cigarette companies for the loss of his wife 11 years ago because it has been proven that she died from cigarette cancer. That case has not been resolved yet but it is an indication of the awareness in the world of the effects of smoke on the health of non-smokers. In spite of that, there is evidence that young people are smoking cigarettes in increasing numbers. We are not necessarily winning this war despite this great awareness that cigarette smoking is the most serious health hazard at present.

I congratulate the Minister on recognising the obvious dangers that are inherent in the development of chewing tobaccos. It is not a new phenomenon in other parts of the world but is relatively new here. I have no doubt that this is another obvious area into which cigarette companies will divert their activities. In parts of the United States, particularly in the mid-west and places like Wyoming and Colorado, it is very much the in-thing for men, young men in particular, to chew tobacco. It was also practised by the troops during the Vietnam war. It became a kind of cult to chew as a cow might chew. It is most welcome that the Minister is taking the initiative in this regard and is not going to allow it.

As I said at the outset, everything that I had intended to say was substantially covered by the other speakers here this morning. Everybody has welcomed the Bill. However, I agree with the point made by Professor Murphy that it is a little vague. It is important that we are satisfied and convinced at the regulation stage, that we are going to go to war on this matter. Some of the recent surveys indicate that young people are starting to turn back to smoking. It would be tragic if we were to fail to grasp that nettle. I would subscribe to the proposal that it is inconceivable that any school would consciously allow children to smoke, especially second level schools.

I recollect that during my own boarding school days you had to get written permission from your parents in order to be [1722] allowed to smoke. The people charged with the responsibility of running first and second level schools at least have a responsibility to stop children from killing each other and yet they will not stop them from killing themselves. The initiative must be taken in that area. If young people want to smoke outside the school gate that is up to them, but at least we could prevent it in schools. I respectfully suggest to the Minister that he should examine this and, if necessary, legislate to ensure that smoking in schools is not allowed. That is being done in the area of hospitals. Obviously that is very welcome. I welcome the content of this Bill. I can only hope that it is the first phase in a new assault in this area.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  Some of the comments of the previous speaker make me think of the problems in this whole area. He mentioned the efforts of Pan Am in this regard. It is interesting to note that they have now announced that they are going out of business. If one was to link that with the prevention of smoking one would wonder as to whether you can be too restrictive in this area. The only place where we can be sure that there is no smoking is in Heaven. I understand it is allowed in Hell.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  And in the Seanad Chamber.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  No smoking is allowed in the Seanad Chamber but outside the door it is allowed. However, if this legislation is enacted as it is the Minister could restrict smoking outside the door. I wonder how that would be accepted. As a person who smoked originally but who has managed to “kick” the habit, I must recognise that people who smoke have rights. That does not mean, though, that they have the right to infringe on other people's rights to be in a non-smoking area. We must realise, as legislators, that we are living and legislating in a society which likes a certain amount of freedom. The more you legislate for the curtailment of that freedom, the more you defeat the purpose of what you are trying [1723] to do. The Irish people love to live dangerously and if we legislate to stop them doing so, they will defy it. That has been proved in every area in which we tried to interfere in their rights.

This Bill provides for the prohibition and restriction on the consumption of tobacco products in designated areas and facilities and for the restriction on the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 16. It makes provisions in relation to the importation, manufacture and sale of certain tobacco products. First, it is already illegal to sell cigarettes to people under a certain age. It is understood and accepted that we have failed to enforce that prohibition; children have been able to buy cigarettes. Much as we all like to condemn children for smoking — we would all, as parents, like to take very restrictive action against our children who smoke in school — the reality is that they do smoke and will continue to do so. If we think we can stop them, we are living in cloud-cuckooland. We are living in an illusory world if we think that by legislation we can restrict all these undesirable things.

The Minister is taking onto himself powers to designate certain areas in which it will be an offence to smoke. I do not think anybody would object to that, provided that at all times there is a balance. Some people are either addicted to or like to smoke and they are entitled to dispose of their own lives in that way if they want to. A number of years passed before we became aware that there was a problem. Now, 38 years after the discovery that smoking is a health hazard, we expect everybody to suddenly stop smoking. Some of the evidence documented here is irrefutable. It shows that almost 100 people per week die from smoking or smoking-related diseases. Nobody would refute that but we would find it hard to relate it to some of the 100 or 110 year olds who say that they smoked and chewed tobacco all their lives and it never did them any harm. They probably drank very strong liquor in the process, including poteen. All these things are supposed to be bad for you but there are [1724] examples which make it impossible to reconcile the statistics with what happens in some cases. Having said that, we must realise that smoking is a major health hazard but not necessarily for everybody because some people seem to have survived everything except the addiction.

Drink is condoned in some way as being socially acceptable in this country. In another debate Senator Ryan said that all the time we complain about our drinking habits while we spend most of our time participating in the pleasure of having a drink. We introduce legislation to allow extended drinking hours and we complain about people when they get drunk. The reality is that cigarette smoking is considered to be an addictive drug but it is possible for people to give it up. Drinking does not necessarily affect everybody in an addictive way. Not everybody becomes an alcoholic and many people enjoy having a drink. We cannot prohibit the sale of drink. The Americans tried that but failed. People turned to illicit and secret drinking because there was a certain element of danger and glamour to it.

We all know that hard drugs are addictive and should not be condoned in any way. There is now the added risk to health of AIDS. I wish the Department would be vigilant, too, in the prohibition of hard drugs and in cracking down on drug pushers in this city and throughout the country. Drug abuse is a major risk to health. I merely want to bring some sort of balance to the debate. The companies involved in the manufacture of cigarettes are major employers still in this country. Possibly 1,000 people are involved in the tobacco industry and that cannot be closed down overnight because we want to legislate for a beautiful, perfect society. We cannot expect that all the areas that we frequent should be smokeless areas because we do not smoke. From the limited knowledge I have of this industry and from speaking with people involved in the industry such as Carrolls, I know that tobacco companies have been conscious of the drop in demand for their products and the changing attitudes in society to smoking. [1725] That company have been for a number of years diversifying into other areas of job creation and re-employment of their workforce. They became involved in the Fieldcrest product in Kilkenny, the textile industry which, unfortunately, was a failure. They put approximately £10 million into that project as a diversification of their products, and their assets. They are to this day involved in mariculture in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta and indeed with CTT in the promotion and sale of products. The company are conscious that the time will come when the number of people smoking will be significantly reduced from what it is now. It is becoming more unacceptable to just pull out a packet of cigarettes and smoke without as much as saying: “Do you mind if I smoke?” The situation is improving and I think the Department have played a role in this.

We have set a headline in restrictions on advertisements on radio and television and on the actual tobacco carton itself. If people are any way conscious of their health they will see that it is definitely a health hazard to smoke. Other countries have not achieved that kind of standard. Because this health warning was not displayed in America a husband considered that the manufacturer of the product was negligent in not advising his wife that her health was at risk from smoking. One part of that claim has been successful. It has been determined by a judicial process that there was negligence because the tobacco company did not display the appropriate warning.

We have advanced from that. We have put restrictions on advertising and products must be identified as being dangerous. We have made a major breakthrough in this area. I hope that in the actual operation of this legislation there will be a balance because otherwise we will lose the battle. The Irish, by their very nature, object to restrictions being placed on what was once considered a freedom of choice. We can all pontificate as to what is good for everybody but sensible adults should have the freedom to make up their own minds.

Nobody in this House would condone [1726] widespread smoking in hospitals but what is going to happen in the area of acute psychiatric hospitals where the vast majority of patients are handed cigarettes everyday by nursing staff on the understanding by the hospital boards, administrators and psychiatrists that they are in some way helpful to the patients? As a result of this legislation will there be a total restriction on smoking in psychiatric institutions? If that is the case, other more severe drugs would have to be given to these unfortunate people to pacify them and help them get through the day. We should realise that that is what is happening in psychiatric hospitals today.

People from all walks of life smoke — politicians, church people, medics, nurses and all sorts of advisers. They smoke because they get some element of enjoyment or peace from it. Otherwise they would not be wasting money on cigarettes. As Sir Walter Raleigh said, you roll a weed, put it in your mouth and light it. It is the actual drug, the nicotine, which creates some of the addictiveness to smoking.

Everybody in this House knows that smoking is quite dangerous. What we are saying is that there will have to be a balance. First, we should set out an educational programme on smoking. The Department should highlight the risks involved and they should convince parents, students and teachers alike of those risks. If we prohibit smoking we will find that people will want to break the law. The imposition of fines is not an acceptable way of dealing with this matter. We want to ensure that the legislation we pass is accepted and complied with.

That brings me to the point made by Senator Murphy that if we bring in new regulations the question will arise as to who will implement them. If we just put up a sign we do not know that people will take heed of it. How many people honour a “no parking” sign? One is almost tempted to park in front of a “no parking” sign because there will probably be a vacancy there. There should be facilities in all public places for non-smokers. The balance should be redressed. As [1727] Senator Murphy said, at present there seem to be many facilities available for smokers. If you cannot find a seat in a non smoking area of a train, for example, you realise how unpleasant it is to be in a smoking area, particularly if you have given up smoking and you want to try to avoid it.

I will be proposing an amendment to section 2 to enable people who want to have a cigarette to do so without intefering with other people. If we legislate in any other way we are heading for trouble. The question of chewing tobacco was mentioned. The only association the vast majority of us have with chewing tobacco is when we see the cowboys chewing it, whether they be from Colorado, Texas or wherever. Fortunately, it is not a very popular pastime with Irish people.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  It is catching on.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  Is it?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  People in South Tipperary may not chew it.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  They may not but they still smoke. I will deal with this section of the Bill that refers to this matter. I have no objection to the prohibition of the importation of some of these special smokeless chewing tobaccos, particularly the one known as Gold Band. I do not think anybody could defend the widespread use of importation of these tobaccos. Their banning was desirable. This section, in addition to banning their importation, also bans the actual manufacture in Ireland of a chewing tobacco which is exported. As Senator Norris has said, it is obviously used in some form or other by some people. This section actually prohibits its manufacture. I understand that the Minister for Health, Deputy O'Hanlon, said in the other House that he was not going to exclude the manufacture of pipe tobacco. I am talking particularly about chewing tobacco. I do not use either of the two products.

Can the Minister tell me if there is a [1728] difference between chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco? If there is, will the persent manufactures of chewing tobacco, which is not Gold Band and there is all this talk about, be allowed to continue manufacturing and exporting it? Quite a number of people are manufacturing it and there are quite a lot of people involved in the company employing them. I want to have a balance in the legislation. That is why I am looking for a definition and the Minister might, in his Second Stage reply, confirm whether my interpretation of chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco is wrong or if there is a definite difference. Will this section preclude the manufacturers from making it? If so, at least the manufacturers should be warned. They are already conscious of the drop in demand for some of their products and have been taking action to redistribute their workers into other areas and redistribute some of their assets.

Generally speaking, I have no objection to areas being designated non-smoking areas in theatres or other places that we like to go to and where we want to be free of being contaminated provided that there are facilities to those places for smokers, no matter how small or restricted it might be. That is important because if we do not have something like that we will have a lot of suicides on our hands. Many people could not go for several hours of the day without a cigarette. If we do not accept that we are not living. One needs to have a drag on a cigarette if one is getting on a Pan-Am plane. It may be that because passengers could not have a cigarette on Pan-Am plane that they want out of business. Nobody has any objection to restricted areas.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  It was the deregulation of fares, if the Senator is being serious.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  Obviously Senator Norris is also more conversant with air travel than I am.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  The answer is to fly Aer Lingus.

[1729]Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  I will be interested to hear Senator Norris's contribution on this legislation. I do not think we should be too restrictive in areas in which there is already an acceptance of people's rights. If it was a sin to smoke it would be different. It would be much easier to legislate for something that is sinful but because it is not sinful but is considered to be bad for one's health it is going to be extremely difficult to legislate in this area. I say that with all due respects to everybody in the House.

As a person who has managed to give up smoking, it is my view that people who cannot give it up should not be crucified. They should have some opportunity in some building, or in some part of a public building which the Minister is now taking upon himself to designate, to smoke. If they do not have their facility then we will have inoperable legislation on our hands. It could not be put into force and, certainly, could not be patrolled by the staff we have in the public sector in view of the Government's total commitment to decimate the public sector. There will not be any officials left to implement any legislation unless people will abide by the provisions as a gesture to mankind. I would be doubtful about that, too. We are all right when it is ourselves we are talking about but if there is anybody else involved we do not care. It is a pity that that is the sort of society we are now living in. Let us try to legislate for that kind of society and not be too restrictive. I hope the Minister will be responsive in his reply to us.

Mr. Norris: Information on David P.B. Norris  Zoom on David P.B. Norris  I am very sensitive of the dangers of talking on this subject which has, indeed, as Senator Ferris indicated, quasi-religious overtones. In particular, I am reminded of the great dramatist, Christopher Marlowe, who was done to death by the agents of Queen Elizabeth's secret service for saying, among other things, that “they who love not tobacco and boyes be fools” and that the holy communion should be administered in a pipe. For those irreverent blasphemous remarks he was actually done to death. I will confine myself within a much less [1730] controversial area. However, I should like to take up first of all some of the things that were said, in a descending order of seriousness.

With regard to the question of chewing tobacco, I am slightly shocked that many Senators from both sides of the House appear to be unaware that this is, in fact, a traditional Irish pastime. If they were unaware of it they should turn to the pages of James Joyce's great novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man where in the scene, reflecting very accurately the political turmoil in the period of the Parnell controversy, a Mr. Casey explains how down in Arklow one day, having addressed a meeting at which Parnell was present, a middle-aged harridan bounced along in the dirt shouting abuse at them and eventually this was more than Mr. Casey could take. He told the assembled company at the Christmas dinner that he held his peace until that woman called Mrs. O'Shea a name that he would not sully the Christmas board nor his hostess's ears with. He said he leaned down to her and having:

(saving your presence, ma'am) a quid of Tullamore in my mouth... I bent down to her and Phth! says I to her like that. Phth! says I to her like that, right into her eye.

The response was:

O Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I'm blinded! I'm blinded and drownded! I'm blinded entirely.

That little ancedote indicates, at least among the politicos of the last century, that the chewing of tobacco was indeed something that was fairly well known. It also extended to Cork where it was among the sins recounted by Frank O'Connor against his grandmother. That is just a lighthearted interlude but it shows that chewing of tobacco existed in this country. I certainly was unaware of its dangers and I am not fully convinced of them. It does not seem to me to be as dangerous as smoking which clearly has a correlation with cancer of the lung.

Probably the most important factor here, with regard to the chewing of [1731] tobacco, is one that I am extremely pleased to see that the Minister is addressing, the really serious situation with regard to passive smoking. While I respect very much the views of Senator Ferris with regard to the right to freedom of individual choice, and the right of citizens to damage themselves by pursuing ill-advised courses if they so wish, at the same time when it comes to smoking we have of recent years become keenly aware of the dangers of passive smoking.

I note that in his speech the Minister draws the attention of the House to the fact that of those non-smokers who contract cancer of the lung, 25 per cent have contracted it as a result of passive smoking. That draws the distinction very clearly and allows the State to intervene on behalf of those citizens who do not wish willy-nilly to be condemned to a slow, painful and horrible death by virtue of the selfishness of other citizens. It seems there is a very clear reason for that, even taking into account the sensitivity to people's individual human rights. I am very glad indeed that the Minister has taken this on board.

I note also that the Minister has established a unit within the Department of Health and an overall advisory council on health promotion made up of a broad representation of experts in appropriate sectors. He said the increased emphasis which he has placed on health promotion is an attempt to create, through public policy, an environment which is protective of, and conducive to, healthy living. Again, I welcome this but I welcome it having condemned the abolition of the Health Education Bureau. It seems to me that this would be a prime area in which the HEB could and should have been involved, particularly alerting people to the dangers of passive smoking. I will return to this because a great deal was made about the possibility of having smoke-free areas in restaurants and aeroplanes. Whatever about restaurants, it is completely impractical to have a smoke-free zone in a little cigar shaped metallic funnel that flies in the air because the amount of air that is being polluted is so [1732] limited. I fly quite a lot and I am an occasional smoker but I dislike smoking intensely when I am not doing it myself and I object strongly to other people doing it.

When I am in one of my non-smoking phases and I am in an Aer Lingus or any other aeroplane and the non-smoking seat that I am in is directly behind the smoking section, the existence of the non-smoker area is demonstrated to be a complete and utter nonsense because you are then clearly a prime target of passive smoking. The only thing to do in these circumstances is to ban smoking altogether. It does come as a bit of a shock to the smoker. The first time I came across it was about a year ago when I was flying from New York to Montreal. I asked to be seated in the smoking area and I was told there was no smoking area because it was a domestic flight lasting under two hours and smoking was banned. I survived that although I was addicted to nicotine.

In the interests of other passengers on the plane it is no harm to put people through this slight discomfort so that their health will not be damaged in this particularly unpleasant manner. I agree wholeheartedly with Senator Bulbulia about the need for courtesy, however, with regard to smoking. One of the most effective ways of inhibiting people from smoking is the kind of notice that I have also seen in taxis, first in North America but now increasingly in Dublin, that says, “Thank you for not smoking”. It draws the venom of the smoker. It is important, as Senator Bulbulia said, to be honest if one is asked the question: “Do you mind if I smoke?” and to say, “Yes I do” if indeed you do.

I was reminded — and I will tidy up this story slightly in the interests of decency — very clearly of the immortal retort of Stephen Behan at the funeral of his mother in Dublin many years ago when a passenger in the funeral coach leaned across and said: “Stephen, do you mind if I smoke?” and he said: “Mind if you smoke?, I dont gave an ‘expletive’ deleted if you burst into flames”. That [1733] was not a particularly polite way of dealing with it. It was not perhaps the appropriate response. The appropriate response is: “Yes I do” and I say this as a tutor in university.

We have been talking about smoking in educational institutions. In my folly as a civil libertarian — even when I was not smoking myself — I used to allow students to smoke in tutorials until I noticed on one occasion, having asked the perfunctory question: “Does anybody mind if Miss X smokes?” that Miss Y was rapidly turning green. It emerged tha she was a rather shy student and she did not like to say that she objected to smoking but she had chronic asthma and she suffered quite a serious attack as a result of passive smoking. From then on, I made an absolute rule that in my classes people are not allowed to smoke. Once this is clearly established and once the person taking the class does not smoke, then everything is perfectly all right.

I would, however, say that there has to be some degree of equality in these matters. It is absolutely absurd for somebody taking a class in an enclosed space to say the students must not smoke but that he or she will because he or she happens to be the figure in authority. It is much worse in terms of setting an example if the person in charge of a class or a responsible situation smokes. Mention was also made of a case in America which is currently being processed through the legal procedures of that country in which the husband of a woman who had died of cancer of the lung has sued for damages as a result of her death. Although part of the significance of this was drawn out by previous speakers, one of the most significant elements was missed. It is an element that indicates the deep cynicism of the tobacco industry.

The element that was not drawn to the attention of the House was the fact that it was not just that they did not put warnings on the cigarette packages, it was the fact that very early on in the fifties the particular tobacco company being prosecuted in the courts became aware of the dangers to health. This was made clear by the disclosure of documents which [1734] indicated that the company had started a process of diversification. It was not just that they did not put a warning on the cigarette packages; it was the fact that they deliberately concealed information, made financial provision to diversify out of what was a dangerous industry and, at the same time, continued actively to promote the consumption of this dangerous and additictive drug. That seems to be an utterly cynical attitude with regard to health.

Cancer of the lung, emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most horrible diseases because the patient is left gasping painfully for breath and yet this industry went on actively promoting the consumption of these products and they promoted them in particularly insidious ways. I will go on at length about the manipulation nowadays of advertising through sports promotion except to say that it is the utmost cynicism to promote something that damages health, that has been demonstrated to have the most seriously damaging impact on health and to promote to the young, through sports and health, is really the nadir of cynicism.

When Senator Bulbulia says that smokers should be made to pay, that the piper should pay the tune so to speak, it is not sufficient to say that smokers should pay through increased tax. There should be a levy on the profits of the tobacco companies. I hope the Minister will consider this because it is absolutely obscene that there should be profiteering on illness. That is basically what it is. If the Minister was capable of catching those people who are promoting hard drugs in the inner cities, I am quite sure he would do more than impose a levy on them. The Government have seen it — and I welcome this absolutely 100 per cent — to put a levy on the banks. If you can levy the banks, which I suppose from one point of view are a relatively clean operation, I do not see why the tobacco industry should not be levied in the same way. It seems that this is the kind of measure that would add even greater teeth to excellent legislation which I completely welcome.

I hope there will be other tidying up [1735] exercises as well because the consumption of tobacco is so deeply built into our civilisation that we sometimes do not realise the way in which it has inveigled its way into our midst. I can sympathise as a piece of folklore with quite a lot of what Senator Ferris was saying about having a gasp on an old fag before you get onto a plane and so on, that there is in our culture this whole notion of smoking and so on, to such an extent in fact that I understand — and I am prepared to be corrected on this if I am wrong — that in the calculation of the cost of living index the price of cigarettes is included. This seems to be extraordinary because, in other words, we accept that it is a kind of staple item, a necessary element of our consumption.

The perception of cigarette smoking has changed so radically during my lifetime that this is no longer acceptable. When I was growing up it was a manly thing to do; it was part of peer group pressure to smoke cigarettes. At the age of six I not only smoked cigarettes; I smoked several of my uncle's cigars and I was not punished. I developed a considerable taste for cigars and my mother pleaded that I should not be punished because she said: “He will have his own punishment in about 20 minutes when he is violently ill.” In fact, I relished the experience and continued until recently to smoke cigars. It was part of our culture. People were unaware of the dangers in terms of health but we are aware of them now.

I come back again to the cynicism of the tobacco companies. I would like to hammer this home because it not only affects humans; there have been a series of the most disgusting experiments on animals conducted by the tobacco industry in attempts to find less harmful mixtures of tobacco and so on. These unfortunate animals have been strapped down and forced to consume and inhale huge quantities of cigarette smoke to find out the rate at which they will contract cancer. I hope Ireland will never again be used for this kind of obscene experimentation by tobacco companies.

[1736] I would also like to make a point about the response of tobacco companies internationally when their operations are curtailed. It is like the drug problem in Dublin: when the concerned parents make one area of the city inhospitable for the pushers it has a kind of displacement effect and they move off into another area. I understand that many of the international tobacco conglomerates who have been finding that their market is diminishing in the more advanced, sophisticated and the more mature consumer societies have commenced a process of dumping their tobacco products in less privileged Third World societies. They also make use of the fact that there is, not just no restriction on tobacco promotion through advertising in those countries but actually an encouragement because it brings in revenue. This is utterly cynical.

With regard to the question that was raised about the manufacture for export of certain tobacco products which might be banned here — I think Members were talking of particular kinds of chewing tobacco; I was not quite aware of this but it was stated in a previous speech — I would welcome the principle of this very much because it is a principle that has also underlain our attitude towards Sellafield. I would like to think that this whole international concern about the effect of exports, whether they are radioactive materials through discharge or nicotine products being manufactured in a jurisdiction where it is illegal to consume them or to market them, would extend — I hope the Minister will communicate this to his colleagues because it is not directly his jurisdiction — to the matter of mercury soap. I will not go into that in detail except to say — my colleague Senator Brendan Ryan indicated to me that he intended to raise this on the Order of Business today — that the export of mercury soap from England has been made illegal. It is not illegal here and we are actively manufacturing it in County Wicklow. I hope the principle that is apparently contained in a certain clause in this legislation will extend honourably to this other matter.

The confining of smoking in urban [1737] public transport, which is a feature of this Bill, is something that is very much to be welcomed, I, in particular, welcome it because it seemed to me always in the past to be most unfortunate that people were allowed to smoke on the tops of buses and the non-smoking compartment was the lower deck of buses. Everybody knows, particularly in the city of Dublin, that the principal pleasure of travelling by bus is to be afforded the privilege of looking into other people's bedrooms, backgardens, side passages and so on. I consider it a noxious discrimination that non-smokers were debarred from this very considerable privilege.

I welcome the Bill. It is an excellent piece of legislation. Despite the reservations that were conscientiously entered by Senator Ferris with regard to the control of people's choice and option in the matter, cigarette smoking is dangerous. The Minister's speech has been well prepared and its argument is cogent with regard to the risks to health. The numbers are so horrifying and at the moment it does represent a more serious immediate threat to health even than AIDS, for example, about which we read so much in the newspapers, although I believe that we will eventually reap the whirlwind there too, as the Minister knows. In the light of all those things it seems to be only rational in the interests of the general community good that the right of the individual in this case should no longer be seen to be paramount and should suffer some diminution so that the rest of the community may not suffer from the ill-effects of this unfortunate habit which is highly addictive as not only James Joyce, to whom I referred earlier, knew. His friend, Italo Svevo, the author of “The Confessions of Zeno,” a novel which, to even James Joyce's astonishment, concerned itself entirely with the travails and problems of a man attempting to give up smoking. When Italo Svevo, or under his real name Ettore Schmitz, was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1930 — he was Jewish — his wife, who was Roman Catholic asked him if he would like her to get him a priest and he said, “no, I would like a [1738] cigarette and this time it really will be the last cigarette”. That indicates the degree of addiction that is involved. I may say that I am now five days, 13 hours and 26 minutes off the weed for the umpteenth time. I hope the strain of participation in Leinster House will not drive me back to them. I would like to end by congratulating the Minister on an excellent piece of legislation which, with very few reservations which have been generally rebutted, has been welcomed on all sides of the House.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I noticed a certain clarity in the Senator's voice today and I did not know the reason.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  It is always very difficult to follow Senator Norris. Having been at some racetracks recently in Dublin and listened to what the Senator said, I believe that some of the greyhounds I saw running must have gone through the terrible smoking experiment. Both Houses of the Oireachtas have passed the air pollution Bill. We did so because we were of the view that pollution in the air was causing certain health risks to people. Now local authorities are empowered to create smokeless zones and that is being done in the Ballyfermot area of Dublin. If we were told that air pollution was causing ten deaths per week I am sure we would have enacted that legislation years ago. The most frightening aspect of the Minister's speech is that 16,000 deaths per year are related to smoking and 5,000 deaths which are directly due to smoking, that is, 100 per week. The legislation which we are debating today is long overdue.

My father who used smoke more than 80 cigarettes a day died at a very early age. Certainly, that had a very profound effect on me and I never had a wish to smoke. It is very important to encourage young people at an early age not to smoke and to give them good reasons why they should not smoke. I must congratulate teachers on the way that they can educate children on the dangers of smoking. It is at the formative ages, between five and nine years of age, that one can have the [1739] most profound effect on children. If children get the right message at that early age there is the possibility that they will not smoke during their lifetime. I am glad the Minister has included in the Bill provisions in relation to the sale of cigarettes to children. I must confess that I was not aware that it was an offence to sell cigarettes to children under 16 years of age. I am sure many people who sell cigarettes are not aware of that. The Minister is making that clear in the Bill and I hope it will have the desired effect.

In the past shopkeepers have allowed children to buy cigarettes singly, opening packets and selling them one by one. I note that the Minister is proposing to end that terrible practice because children do not have very much money and would not have the price of a packet of ten or 20 but might have the price of one or two cigarettes. They are encouraged to start smoking at that early age if they can avail of that facility. I am glad to see that that loophole will be closed.

The Minister also stated that the sale of cigarettes through vending machines will have to be supervised. I have grave reservations about that section. How does the Minister hope to operate that? If the sale of cigarettes through a vending machine has to be supervised why not have the cigarettes sold by the person who is supervising the vending machine? We should do away with the vending machine altogether, and make it totally illegal to sell cigarettes in this way. Then we would have real control.

Section 6 deals with the ever growing range of oral smokeless products which are designed to be sucked or chewed. They are highly addictive, and I understand they have serious effects and can cause mouth cancer. Other Senators have said that this has been an old tradition in the past in Ireland, but a new product came on the market — I think it was called Gold Band — and it is a great credit to the former Minister for Health, Deputy Barry Desmond that he moved immediately to see that this product would never be on sale in Ireland.

I was watching that very entertaining [1740] show “That's Life” one night which deals with variety and serious subjects, and the presenter was dealing with this problem. This product was on sale quite openly in England to young children. There was a media campaign to encourage young children to avail of this product. The programme was trying to prevent the sale of this product and the presenter mentioned that its sale was prohibited in the Republic of Ireland. I understand also that there was a challenge to the ruling of the Minister in the High Court and it was found to be ultra vires to the Health Act, 1947, but the Minister under this section of the Bill restores the effect of that order, which was made by the then Minister and I am glad to see that has happened.

A new dimension of smoking is passive smoking. I do not think people were aware in the past of the danger of passive smoking. We have figures not to show that people who are involved in passive smoking — people working in offices, or in public places with people who smoke heavily — can be more seriously affected than the people smoking because smokers have the advantage of having the filter to reduce the impact, but people in that vicinity have to accept the full impact of the smoke, which can be very upsetting and cause serious health risks.

The principal purpose of the Bill is to designate public areas where people cannot smoke. It is very encouraging that this should be in the Bill at this time, because the public are anxious for this kind of legislation, indeed, they have prohibited smoking on a voluntary basis themselves. I do not drive. I travel by bus and while in the past I was not anti-smoking, while not smoking myself, recently I found it very difficult to board the top of a double deck bus due to the heavy smoke. Recently, as we are all aware, CIE made the gesture and asked the public not to smoke on the top of double deck buses. I felt at the time it would not work, people would not comply with the request, but to my great surprise people have, and you very seldom find anyone smoking on the top of a bus now. That also applies to taxis [1741] and other means of public transport. As I said, the public wish to have smoking areas controlled.

What has been mentioned in the House here today by a number of speakers — I have been conscious of it very much myself, too, of recent times — is the increase in smoking by teenagers. I do not know what the reason for this is, but the extraordinary thing is that I find there is a higher increase in teenage girls smoking. I feel the dangers of smoking should be pointed out to them.

It is in the interests of the Department of Health to promote programmes that show the effects smoking can have on the public because, as we know, we have to deal with the medical problems that smoking causes and this is surely a heavy drain on the Department of Health's budget. Some of that money could be spent on a programme to educate the public about the dangers of smoking. This is a very appropriate time to do it.

I welcome the measure before the House. I accept what Senator Ferris said, that it is important that we allow people to smoke. There is no way of totally prohibiting people from smoking and what we must do in our legislation is to encourage people as far as possible not to smoke.

Mr. O'Shea: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  In broad principle the Labour Party support the Bill. To digress slightly from what I meant to say, my colleague. Senator Ferris earlier introduced the moral dimension into this question. It put me thinking back to my schooldays when we had the green and red catechisms. I recall that the fifth commandment in the old catechism went something like this: we should take reasonable care to protect our own life and health and reasonable care to protect the life and health of others. I think my memory is fairly all right there, and as a smoker I stand indicted on both counts because I am not taking proper care of my own life and health and those who breathe the smoke that I let into the atmosphere when they are in close proximity are passive smokers and I am [1742] offending against the other side of the commandment.

As a teacher who smokes, it presented a certain problem to me as to how I would present my smoking habit to children. Like all areas, honesty is the best policy. I pointed out to the children under my care that I was addicted to a drug and that I found it very difficult to get off that drug. I told them often the story about Mark Twain who, when somebody said to him that the hardest thing in the world to do was to give up smoking, said: “nonsense, I have done it hundreds of times”. I found myself in that position as well. It is important with children to go back to the origins of one's own smoking when one is teaching in school and I must say I welcome very much the provision in the Bill that cigarettes can only be sold in units of ten or over. My introduction to smoking in a lot of ways was the corner shop where you could pick up one cigarette for one and a half old pence in those days.

It was very important for me anyway to underline to children that the smoking I was involved in for quite a number of years was the result of peer pressure. Senator Norris referred to this earlier. For a long time my schoolfriends and I did not inhale the smoke, we were sucking it into our mouths and blowing it out without inhaling it. But as time goes on one becomes more adept at inhaling cigarettes and the time is reached when one has become addicted and as years go by it becomes more and more difficult to break the habit.

My colleague, Senator Ferris, dealt with the rights of smokers. This is an area that we should approach with a certain sense of pragmatism and common sense because, in essence, a smoker except for the effects of passive smoking, is the person who is basically affected, but addiction to alcohol causes suffering for a great number of people who surround the person who is addicted. Families go short and so on. I believe that if the Minister is too rigid in the way he implements the powers available to him under this Bill, it may in essence prove counter productive. One of the reasons [1743] we have not solved the drug problem in this country is that it is extremely difficult for the Garda go get to the actual source — Godfathers of the drug scene.

Like every forbidden fruit, it tends to go underground and in that situation, like what happened during prohibition in the United States, an industry grows up around it. I suppose in many ways, the emergence of the Mafia as the strong organisation it remains today in the United States, owes a lot to the time of prohibition and the vast amounts of money that was available in those days to those who were prepared to supply what was then illicit alcohol.

My colleague, Senator Ferris mentioned the situation in Dundalk. I was speaking this morning to Deputy Michael Bell who comes from the constituency in which Carrolls operate. He pointed out, and I am sure the Minister lives a lot nearer to Dundalk than I do and would be very much aware of this because of the proximity to the Border, that Dundalk in many ways has suffered very badly commercially.

Deputy Bell has had discussions with the unions there. He pointed out that the workforce at Carrolls has decreased from 500 to 250, and the workforce is presently in decline. My colleague, Senator Ferris, and I would like to reiterate it, referred to the chewing of tobacco. Certain types are becoming more popular in this country, the ones the Minister mentioned in his speech coming in from Scandinavia and the USA, but I understand that the traditional product produced by Carrolls in Dundalk is not one in great demand in this country, the bulk of it goes overseas. As Senator Ferris said, the industry here in Ireland has accepted the fact that the Minister is going to succeed in what he is aspiring to do, that is to work towards the eventual elimination of the smoking habit. The company I referred to invested, I believe, £10 million in a textiles project in the south east which unfortunately became unstuck. They are involved in Bradán Mara with Údarás na Gaeltachta which provides 100 jobs. I believe that plant is among the most [1744] modern there is, probably the most modern in the world. They are also involved with Córas Tráchtála in the developing of a direct marketing or mail order type operation in the USA. The bottom line is that of the products they will be offering, half will be manufactured in this country and these will be high priced products.

I am a smoker and accept that I should not be smoking. Many people over the years have given me all the arguments and these arguments were excellently underlined today in the Minster's introductory speech. I know I should not smoke. I believe there are two things I should ask the Minister to do. Let us not be too draconian in how this legislation is implemented. We will have an amendment down on Committee Stage regarding the rights of the smoking fraternity. The other relates to the industry; I think it is fair to say, and the Minister would agree, that there are honest and real efforts being made by that industry to provide alternative jobs and I would ask that he would give the industry sufficient breathing space to wind down the production of tobacco products and allow them to diversify into other products to make good the jobs that are being lost.

Finally I ask him once again to reconsider the position regarding the traditional chewing tobacco produced by the firm in Dundalk which, in the greater part, is exported from the country. The Bill would preclude or make illegal the manufacture of it but the export would be going to countries where the legislation of these countries allows the import of that product.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Not often do I take issue with my colleagues in the Labour Party but I am astonished at the use of the phrase “the rights of the smoking fraternity”. I do not accept that they have any rights, I must say, except to smoke in private, away from me as far as possible, and incidentally my wife is a heavy smoker and I would not concede any rights on that issue because of that.

I do not think that people can insist on imposing on me large quantities of smoke [1745] which is liable to do me probably even more harm than it will do them. One of the most frightening discoveries that the Minister has alluded to about passive smoking is that the non-inhaled part of the smoke from a cigarette is more lethal than the inhaled component. I want to make it clear that any more than I think people who sell hard drugs have rights, people who smoke cigarettes have no rights other than the fact that those of us who do not smoke are going to at least allow them to smoke somewhere in a transition period until we manage to get rid of this obnoxious habit once and for all.

I think there are a number of things that could be said about smoking. If I can start by saying that one of the things I have always associated with vice is that whatever is wrong with it, at least it is attractive and pleasant. Most of the classic vices of humanity to do with the sins of the flesh or to do with drink at least have the one thing in common, that they were at least enjoyable, people actually enjoyed doing them. I cannot even associate that much with the vice of cigarette smoking. It seems to me to be inherently self-destructive. It is only beneficial because people are actually addicted to nicotine. It contributes nothing to human health, happiness or social activity and indeed does quite the opposite.

I am utterly and totally intolerant of cigarette smoking. I see no argument in its favour. I utterly reject the argument that we must somehow protect the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry has contributed nothing but damage and harm to humanity, and as Senator Norris said earlier, it is currently endeavouring to transfer that harm away from those of us who have been educated about the damages of cigarette smoking to those who at an earlier stage of their economic development are not as aware.

There is a lot of well documented evidence about the intensity of the lobbying of the tobacco industry, the intensity of their determination to attempt to persuade people that the medical evidence is not as damaging as it actually is, to persuade people in less sophisticated [1746] countries to take up the habit that many of us are fortunately learning to do without. There is so much that could be said about smoking and all of it is negative.

The only criticism I have of this Bill is that it does not go half far enough. Smoking is something that should be restricted to consenting adults in private. I do not think that smoking should be seen anywhere anybody else has to be. People who smoke should be left to smoke and do themselves harm only in places where nobody else has to be. Where anybody else has any reason to be present, smoking should not be permissible. It should be unacceptable. Part of this is a question of legislation, part of it is a question of those of us who do not smoke, and do not want to smoke, becoming somewhat more vocal. I do not want to give the impression that I go around demanding that people stop smoking, I am talking in terms of a general value of society——

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  You would have some trouble at home.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  I have a lot of trouble at home on that account but that is part of life, I have to live with it. If someone told us that somebody was going to introduce something for sale that was going to do the devastation that cigarette smoking does in terms of the number of deaths, illnesses, damage to life expectancy, all of that not only would the product not be allowed in the marketplace but the person who tried to sell it would probably be locked up, because of the enormity of the crime that he or she was attempting to perpetrate against society. It would be regarded as a serious social crime to try to get people to consume something which was such a guarantee of so much harm and so much illness to them. We have been conditiond to put up with something that the objective evidence, our own experience and everything else says is utterly and totally unhealthy.

The complaints of the tobacco industry need to be taken with a substantial grain of salt. Since the Health Education [1747] Bureau began its campaign against smoking a number of years ago there has been a drop in cigarette consumption which has been reduced from 40 per cent of the adult population to about 33 per cent. In that period they have not made an enormous effort to accept the reality. They have spent a considerable amount of time trying to prevent those of us in the Oireachtas from taking action against cigarette smoking. We were lobbied about the levies on advertising and were told why these inhibitions on the freedom of comment and the freedom of the individual, etc. Every step of the way, the tobacco industry have resisted attempts to actually get through to the population just how damaging, how unhealthy and how life threatening cigarette smoking is. I cannot think of anything in our society that is so utterly negative in what it does to people. I cannot think of any redeeming virtue of cigarette smoking other than the fact that people who are addicted to tobacco have to keep on satisfying that addiction.

People lobby about the quality of our environment and about air pollution but the single greatest air pollutant that most of us have to put up with is tobacco smoke. If we are prepared to talk about stringent regulations on the ESB in terms of emissions from Moneypoint or stringent regulations about car emissions, as we all think these are very fashionable things, we should all think this through and think about the sort of stringent control we should put on human emissions which are equally life threatening, equally damaging and equally offensive to the environment.

The whole question of why people smoke is something we do not understand. I do not think anybody fully understands why so many people can be so well aware of the threat to their health and still continue smoking; is a matter of addiction and how they actually begin to smoke. The Minister mentioned a figure of close to 50 per cent of young people who admitted to having at least tried cigarettes. It is a matter that we ought to [1748] pursue further because it raised interesting questions about whether people actually make free choices in terms of purchasing items such as cigarettes, or whether all sorts of insecurities are stimulated, challenged or are brought into people's experience by the sort of advertising that is used.

There is no doubt about it that where advertising is permitted and where it still exists, themes of virility, feminine attractiveness and sophistication and all that, is used to persuade people. I cannot think of anything more hostile to the image of a fit, virile man than a cigarette anymore than I can think of anything more at variance with the image of an attractive woman than a cigarette. Both are the direct antithesis of that which they claim to actually emphasise. My own feeling is that cigarette advertising should be banned completely. I do not believe in banning the product because that would give a certain romanticism to it. Banning cigarette advertising would need to be done on a European rather than on a national scale because of the fact that so many of our publications, magazines, are imported into the country. The first small quibble I would have with the Bill is that it does not go far enough. I have a number of quibbles like that.

What is the position of restaurants? One of the most offensive things for somebody who is in a restaurant is to have somebody or a half a dozen people at another table breathing clouds of offensive smoke in one's direction. It is both offensive in terms of a meal and in terms of one's health. I know some people like to smoke at a meal and some people do not. I happen to believe that those who do not smoke have the right not to have that sort of noxious substance imposed upon them against their wishes. Therefore, I would suggest to the Minister that the whole question of smoking in restaurants and public houses needs to be addressed. To go into a crowded pub on a fine summer's evening and to be suddenly confronted with a cloud of smoke that pervades most public houses is a real challenge to any feeling of good health that one has. Therefore, I think a [1749] question should arise where people who do and do not smoke congregate and like to congregate as to whether smoking should be tolerated there, or whether people who want to smoke should be given a little room on their own and let them smoke themselves to death if they wish. I do not think they should be allowed to impose it on anybody else.

There is a question about where cigarettes are sold. I do not know the present position but there used to be a sign that a place was licensed to sell tobacco. I do not know if people still need licences to sell tobacco. If they do, first of all we should make people pay a fairly substantial sum for the right to sell tobacco. The question of a licence to sell tobacco ought to be addressed in a similar way as the licence to sell alcohol. I do not think, for instance, that shops near schools should be allowed a licence to sell tobacco because of the fact that a large number of young people frequent them. I know that the Bill makes it illegal to sell cigarettes singly but I think this could be supplemented by removing cigarettes from the places where young people congregate. If the licence is not there it should be introduced. If it is there it should be enforced and should be enforced in a much more restrictive way.

There is the serious question regarding cigarette vending machines. The Minister in his speech said they have been banned in Cyprus. I think we should announce that in ten years' time, so that those who are involved in that business get the time to get out of it, that we are going to ban cigarette vending machines. I know the Minister intends to make it compulsory that these should be regulated but I wonder how feasible it is to regulate cigarette vending machines? The reason in another more controversial area why vending machines for contraceptives were never accepted in this country was precisely because nobody believed they could be supervised and that any regulation about who would have access to them could not be enforced. If it was true about contraceptives, it is true about cigarettes. Cigarette vending machines [1750] are almost the regular way in which cigarettes are sold in many places. It is a much easier way for the proprietors of premises to sell them. I think there is a good case for banning cigarette vending machines.

We should also consider in the context of the EC, a decision that no form of State aid, no form of State subsidy either explicit or implicit should be available for investment in the tobacco industry but I would be quite positive about investment in alternative areas of activity. The EC as a Community should decide that we will not by any implicit or explicit incentive encourage new investment or reinvestment in the tobacco industry. We have to clarify our minds on this fully and there can be no argument for continuing to support an industry which does such enormous harm.

It is quite extraordinary that we talk so much about the problem of alcohol in this country — it is quite right that we should — but far more people die directly or indirectly as a result of tobacco than as a result of the consumption of alcohol. It needs to be said that alcohol, of itself, is something pleasurable and enjoyable when consumed in reasonable quantities. Tobacco, of itself, is life threatening and unhealthy however small the quantities that are consumed. It is also a fact that those of us who do not choose to drink do not have to have drink imposed upon us by anybody else who drinks whereas those of us who choose not to smoke have to live with the prospect of having cigarette smoke imposed on us by others. Therefore, there is a fundamental difference and the difference is that tobacco is inherently unhealthy and destructive. My only quibbles with this Bill, and I will qualify them, are that not necessarily everything I want to be done should be done now, but that I suspect that some of the things I would like the Minister to contemplate doing would require additional legislation. Perhaps it is a pity that he did not take the powers to himself to do all the things that need to be done. Perhaps I misunderstood the Bill. I look forward to the Minister's reply. That would be my only quibble with him.

[1751] There has been a lot of equivocation about cigarette smoking, just because it exists. If it did not exist it would be made illegal before it even started but because it exists we tend to be equivocal about it. Probably the single greatest thing we could do to improve the health of a community would be to get rid of cigarette smoking. If we could persuade people to take exercise and to stop smoking that, more than any investment in hospitals, medical care or anything else, would transform the quality of health of large numbers of people. They are inexpensive things to do.

The tobacco industry has launched a campaign and is continuing to launch it. Members of this House were still being lobbied as late as this morning by agents of the tobacco industry about the alleged damage to jobs that could be caused by this legislation. I do not think there is any point in equivocating. Of course, if we are successful every factory that produces cigarettes is going to close down. I think that is an inevitable and a necessary consequence of the evil that is cigarettes. We must accept it but we must do our best to ensure that those workers are provided with alternative employment. We must do nothing in response to the attempted blackmail which would perpetuate or lengthen the period over which people will see smoking as an acceptable activity.

I would hope, though it is probably optimistic, that by the time I come to retirement cigarette smoking will be something my grandchildren will ask me about with some amazement and wonder how people could ever have done it, given how inherently evil and unhealthy it was We look back 100 years ago at the sort of insanitary practices that people took for granted and we wonder how they could ever have done those things. I hope that in another 30 or 40 years people will look back and wonder how it is that grown adults, allegedly in the full possession of their faculties, could do something so offensive and so utterly self-destructive. That will be the view I have. [1752] I hope the Bill will enable the Minister to do everything that is possible to achieve that and, if not, I hope he will introduce another Bill quickly to allow him to do it.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  I will be very brief in what I have to say this evening. I am not going to regale the House with my own particular experiences with tobacco. As somebody who has not smoked a cigarette since I was 18 or 19 years of age, my bona fides will be reasonably clear on this matter.

May I say at the beginning that Senator Ryan made the point about the lobbying by various groups. Surely he would accept, as we all accept, that every interest group and every group of people in the country have the right to lobby and to put their case. Because one group does so and one may not agree with the objectives of the group, that does not undermine or in any way mitigate their right to do so. On that question, I think that the success of this particular lobby can be gauged from the fact that there is virtually no support in either House for their objectives. What I have seen of the lobbying has been well done and professionally done, but it certainly seems to be out of tune with the majority opinion as expressed in both the Dáil and in this House.

I find myself very much out of tune with this legislation.

Senator:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  I have listened to my liberal colleagues from my own party and on the Indepentent benches. I find coming from them cries for greater regulations, more control, more sanctions, more prohibition, more State interference and more interference in the rights of the individual. Listening to my good friend Senator Ryan, I felt I could have been back with Cromwell's Puritans, such were the moral sanctions thundering from him and his overwhelming and passionate desire to make us all good, whether we want to be good or not. The sort of heaven Senator Ryan would have [1753] us all inhabit would be one in which we were sanctioned and regulated and where, in fact, we did not have the opportunity to do what was wrong or deviant, if that word can be used here any more. I find myself speaking on this Bill somewhat as an old-fashioned but incorrigible liberal.

I do not like this legislation. I applaud very much the objectives of the Minister. I recognise his concern and his sincerity. I recognise the very humane set of values he brings to bear on the discharge of his duties in the Department of Health. I also recognise the scale of the problem. I recognise the extent of medical and scientific evidence upon which this legislation is based. I recognise all of that and I accept it. What I do not like are the methods in parts of this Bill.

Unlike Senator Ryan, I think this Bill goes too far. I, personally, prefer a régime of education, persuasion, of cajoling and of reason. I prefer that to a régime of coercion and prohibition. My big quibble with this Bill is that in certain areas only the element of prohibition, rather than the element of restriction, is introduced. As I say, it is this almost philosophical point which lies at the root of my personal feeling of unease about this Bill. I often wonder what the great parliamentary liberals of this State — and I am including people like Seán McEntee and James Dillion — who believed that the role of the State should be a restricted one and that the State should not over-interfere, would feel about this legislation. I feel they would see it as a dangerous set of powers to give to any Minister or to any set of officials. It is on that point that my opposition to this legislation rests.

I know I am in a minority in taking up this particular point. I certainly can accept large sections of this Bill which are designed to remove the discomfort which non-smokers feel in the presence of smokers. I can applaud every single step that is taken to ensure that non-smokers are protected as far as possible, [1754] but I believe that smokers, too, have rights. I would share Senator Ryan's objective. I would like to see a situation where our grandchildren would talk about smoking as if it was something which was some sort of historical curiosity. Indeed, we may well be moving somewhat in that direction if one looks back at the old advertisements for the 1920s and the 1930s and at one in particular where a lady is seen with a cigarette saying that she can smoke 40 Craven A a day and does not have the trace of a cough as a result of it, and where the people in top hats and so forth were always seen with cigarettes.

If we look back at the so-called society photographs, or photographs of politicians there was a difference in the twenties, thirties and the forties. Invariably, large numbers of them were seen smoking cigarettes. They were photographed with cigarettes. Today very few politicians want to be seen smoking cigarettes. Certainly at functions and so forth, the people who are smoking will put the cigarette in one hand and the glass of gin and tonic in the other behind their backs while the cameraman is hovering about. Apparently it is not good to be seen with these things. There has been a great change in public attitudes and public opinion.

I would share Senator Ryan's objective that we would reach a stage where smoking would be very much a thing of the past and would be roughly at the same stage that snuff taking is at the present. I do not believe we are going to get that way by the type of blanket prohibitions which are included in part of this Bill. I am saying to the Minister to have restrictions by all means and to have education and heavier taxes. He could double the taxes on cigarettes and on tobacco. I do not care if he does that. It is all to the good. If the Minister wants to have smokers wearing some sort of an armband, fair enough. Let them wear the armband so that people can be warned of their presence. It is prohibition which I do not [1755] like. There is an element in this which allows for total prohibition in certain areas. It is that which I worry about.

I am also a bit concerned about the rights of those who chew tobacco. I have not met a person for many years who chews tobacco, but I am told there is a small, hardy minority of people who still chew tobacco, under this draconian legislation their rights are being infringed. Perhaps their aim might be a little bit uncertain at times when there is not a spittoon handy but I do not see these people infringing the rights, even of Senator Ryan.

I would ask the Minister again to look at the rights of the tobacco chewers and to think a little bit that perhaps this legislation may go a little bit too far. I have put down a number of amendments which I will be discussing on Committee Stage.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Yesterday when I spoke on the Forestry Bill I expressed the view that the fact that there seemed to be such amazing all-party consensus of approval for it made me very, very suspicious of the Bill. In fact, I was using the same standards for looking at this Bill until Senator Manning got up to speak. I now feel reasonably happy that the Bill is satisfactory and we should all be able to welcome it with open arms.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  With the zeal of the reformed——

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  It was refreshing to hear that the only vice Senator Manning does not indulge in is cigarettes. He can correct me on that.

I would like to give this Bill a general, principal welcome but not a particularly detailed welcome. The sort of welcome it has got in both Houses of the Oireachtas is indicative of a very significant shift in public opinion about smoking. The tobacco companies, despite all their lobbying, the articles they have commissioned and all the research [1756] they have done, have probably lost the propaganda war about smoking. They put up a pretty good fight. They were probably on a losing wicket anyway. Some of the interesting figures which the Minister quoted in his speech this afternoon would indicate that the tide has turned against smokers. Fewer people are smoking. Fewer young people want to smoke. More significantly, smokers themselves express a very strong desire not to smoke. In that way we are certainly moving in the right direction. Legislation is necessary, but I believe what successive Governments have done, what individual people have done, has pushed back the demand for cigarettes. That does not mean that this Bill is unnecessary. It is absolutely necessary. It is a very good Bill.

The Bill is based on the principle which all good, old-fashioned or new fangled Liberals believe in, which is that you have the right to do what you like to damage yourself but not to damage other people. That is a basically sound principle. People's private behaviour is something with which the Government should not interfere, but if what they are doing is harmful to others the Government have a right, on behalf of those other people, to interfere.

I know about the problems of cigarettes. I was a very heavy smoker. I was smoking up to 100 cigarettes a day for a very long time. I fully understand the real problems which smokers have. It is a serious and difficult addiction. It is as hard an addiction to dispose of as any other addiction. Many doctors will tell you that smoking is harder to give up than heroin or any other hard drug. It may not be as harmful, but it is certainly a very serious problem. Those who continue to smoke do not deserve to be ostracised, or to be looked down on, or to be disapproved of. It is a matter of great sympathy. They have developed a habit which they will find it very difficult to give up.

The Minister's Bill is very relevant. I [1757] remember quite simply, as a heavy smoker, that it certainly affects your life. I felt a great reluctance to go to the theatre because I could not smoke at the theatre. Quite often I felt a great reluctance to go to dinner in other people's houses, simply because it was bad manners to smoke in their houses without permission and they did not want to give it. I felt a great reluctance to go to formal dinners where you were not meant to smoke. Indeed, it could be given as an explanation for my non-attendance in this House in the past.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  The Senator is scraping the barrel now.

Mr. Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  It was certainly a deterrent and it was an incentive to get out on certain occasions because smoking was not allowed in this House. I want to underline the fact that smokers have a real problem about prohibition and about where they smoke and where they do not smoke. If these regulations, which are not very specific, are enforced by the Minister here today, they will create more problems for those people who smoke. There will be plenty of areas and plenty of activities in which they will no longer be allowed to indulge. On balance, I think that is fair because they are harming their fellow citizens by smoking. We should realise that his Bill will discriminate against smokers in a fairly heavy way. They will feel the effect of it because they will be deprived of doing things and going to places to which they would normally go. So long as the House is aware of the fact that it is discriminating against these people, I think the Bill should be passed.

From some of the speeches one might not think that the House was totally aware that there was very scant sympathy for smokers and that they were people who were, to a certain extent, outside the Pale. I do not think we should regard it as that. This Bill is a measure which is here to protect those who do not smoke.

[1758] The House concentrated a good deal on the ministerial regulations during the past two or three days. Instinctively, I do not like ministerial regulations because they give the Minister involved too much discretionary power. I do not see why this Bill should not put down, in black and white, exactly what is intended. Section 2 gives certain categories of places where the Minister may use the powers in this Bill. They are very wide categories. If we give the Minister these powers we will put him, first, in a too powerful situation and, secondly, into an invidious situation. The whole principle of ministerial regulations, where we can put down specific rules in black and white in legislation is fair enough. We could quite easily ban cigarette smoking in specific areas, make it law and make it amendable only by law.

I am objecting to the principle of giving the Minister or any other Minister these powers. It makes this Minister and any other Ministers in the future subject to unfair pressures. It means that the Minister has discretionary powers which he can use, subject to further lobbying and further discretion. It would be far easier if this Bill were passed in this House with all that is going to be embodied in those regulations in it. Then there would be no further discussion. There would be no further lobbying. There would be no further pressures brought to bear. I think specifically of the tobacco industry, not because I have any axe to grind with it because if I was involved in the tobacco industry — if I was a shareholder, which I am not, or in any way involved as a businessman — I would see these regulations and I would continue to lobby after these regulations are passed by this House, because it gives me that scope to do so. It is a pity the Minister has done this, because he leaves that opening for those sorts of pressures.

The Bill also leaves openings — I underline the fact that it does not apply to this Minister in particular — for politicians from all sides of this House, now [1759] and in the future, to lobby for specific exclusions in theirs area or in their business. By the very nature of things politicians from all sides are constantly involved in lobbying for specific, identifiable causes. As a result of these regulations, we will have an opening left for politicians to lobby for favours and Ministers coming under pressures which, in some cases, could be irresistible. That is a danger which is of a more general sort in fact than what is specifically attached to this Bill.

We have seen a large number of Bills going through the House which are subject to ministerial regulations. In all cases this is open to the sort of pressure and corruption which I would prefer not to see and which would not be there if as much as possible was encompassed in the legislation itself. This Bill will be here for many years to come probably. Those regulations will be there. Future Ministers will be subject to that sort of pressure for maybe 20 or 25 years.

There is a certain amount of humbug about the introduction of a Bill of this sort in the Houses. Whereas the Minister's speech, and nearly all the speeches involved, welcome this Bill which is there to protect the health of non-smokers — and we all welcome it for that reason — little has been said in this debate about the amount of revenue which actually comes to the Exchequer from cigarettes. That other side of the balance sheet has not been mentioned. It is imperative that we recognise the real power of the cigarette industry. The amount of revenue which comes to the Exchequer from cigarettes is probably indispensable to the Government at this stage. It would be very difficult for the Government, even if we wanted to, to dispense with that revenue.

What Senator Ryan was saying — and I think many of us are in sympathy with it — is that he would like to see cigarettes phased out and that the ultimate objective of this country, European countries [1760] and of the international world should be that the whole tobacco industry would really be a thing of the past. The tobacco industry, as far as we know, is something which is harmful to human beings and harmful to their health. The honest answer to that is that the tobacco industry has got such a grip on our society and on people and on Governments that nobody can really give it up. The Government are just as addicted to tobacco as are individual smokers. It would be brave and courageous and enlightened if the Government had a future plan for the cigarette industry, to phase it out. It is all very well to say that the Government will take as many preventative measures as possible.

What the Government, I suspect, are doing is accepting cigarette smoking as a fact of life, but reducing it to an acceptable level which does not really affect its revenue too much. It would be a brave decision for the Government to say: “We disapprove of cigarettes and we want to see them phased out completely and utterly”. There are several ways of doing it, but it involves a fundamental rethink to do that. It also involves a fundamental moral rethink as well because it may also infringe on the liberties of the individual. What Senator Ryan was saying was correct in that we should aim towards that objective. We should aim towards that objective in a fairly concrete way without expecting it to happen overnight. We should look at the revenue.

I do not know what the revenue is from tobacco and I should know having come to this House. It is far heavier than the estimated £50 million that it costs to treat those affected by it, and maybe the extra £50 million for ancillary reasons. It is far heavier than that. If we go too far in this we would start phasing out anything that is unhealthy for people such as eating cream. We would be infringing the rights of the individual to an excessive extent. One very eminent member of a former Government advocated to me quite [1761] recently that it was an appalling infringement of the rights of the individual. He also went on to say that he believes that heroin and other hard drugs should be allowed freely to circulate on the streets.

There were two reasons for that: one, because of the infringement of the individual and, second, because he thought less damage would be done if it was on the ground. This area is something that we should think about. I would be in favour of phasing it out. I see the real dangers in not allowing people to do the damage to themselves that they want to. I see the real virtue in the argument that all of these particularly harmful drugs should, as a principle, be allowed on the streets. This is something we should look at. It is certainly not the attitude we see in this Bill and I approve of the Bill.

The Bill, while it is laudable in its objectives and while its particular impositions are probably too light in some ways, has what appear to be some very basic flaws. The first basic flaw is the element of enforcement and detection. I really do not see any provision in the Bill for the enforcement of these particular rules. It is a bad law which is made which cannot be enforced. We have in the area of drink and tobacco a lot of laws which traditionally have not been and cannot be enforced. Everybody remembers, if they are honest, as a child buying cigarettes in ones and twos which is now outlawed in this Bill. Shopkeepers openly and universally are allowing children to buy cigarettes. It is going to be very difficult to prevent this sort of behaviour in the near future. It is all very well legislating and expressing official disaproval of smoking in certain places or of young people smoking, but I do not see too many signs of the likelihood of this legislation being enforced.

I know the Minister will say — and quite rightly — that all Departments are understaffed at this time and that there is no money left in the Exchequer to police this sort of Act. We have a real [1762] difficulty here, but it should be recognised. Take a particular area, which is the area of children not being allowed to use vending machines. That will be impossible to enforce. Vending machines would be something that most young children would find interesting and experimental. That Bill will not be enforced unless it is carefully and thoroughly policed by the Minister, his Department or by the Department of Justice. What may happen in this case is that if these rules are not enforced a gradual abuse will grow up with these rules. I would hate to see that sort of development. It will set back the sort of thinking on cigarettes and abuse of this sort in the country.

I welcome, not like Senator Manning, the ban on oral smokeless products. I welcome them quite simply because as the Minister says in his speech, that they are proven, as far we can prove, to cause cancer. I cannot see any reason whatsoever why you can possibly encourage these types of things to come into the country when they are as harmful as that. I can see the liberal thinking about old fashioned freedoms, but I see very little point in exposing people to something new which is proved by those who know more about it than ourselves to be harmful. It seems that these particular oral smokeless products are recognised by many medical researchers to be cancer-producing. That is the final and only argument about whether they should be allowed. I would have thought that it was quite simple that there is no point in allowing them in, if they are going to do nothing but damage.

Senator Ryan said earlier this afternoon that cigarette smoking itself would have been banned if we had known what its effects were when it came into existence. It is since about 1945-1950 that we really realised the appalling damage it can do in terms of multiple human diseases. Had that been know in advance, before cigarettes had been invented and come on the market, the extraordinary damage that smoking would do to human [1763] health they would have been banned. I suppose a cynical Government, had they known they would have collected so much revenue, might have been in two minds about it. On balance Governments have been responsible about this and would, in fact, have banned cigarettes had they known what their effects were going to be. That is not the case, will not be the case and that cannot be the case now. To introduce new and highly damaging products would be foolhardy when we have the chance to prevent it.

Finally, I resent the arguments put forward by the tobacco companies that a great deal of employment is involved and that to scale down in any way will involve unemployment. That is a highly emotional, very seductive argument which is very difficult to counter. It is especially difficult for politicians in different areas to counter it. It is a form of political and emotional blackmail to say this because politicians must react to that sort of argument. We have to ask, if we are going to take note of that argument: at what price can we have employment? We cannot have employment at the price of other people's health. Otherwise, if we take that principle to its logical conclusion, we could have an opium or a heroin factory just outside the door here giving massive employment to many people. It is a spurious argument and one which I would urge my fellow politicians to stand up to. I know it is difficult for them. I do not have that sort of problem in my constituency but I recognise that it is much harder for them to stand up to it if the tobacco industry is operating in their constituency.

In general and principle I would like to welcome this Bill. I hope the Minister will be prepared to look at amendments on Committee Stage. That may involve going back to the Dáil, which Ministers seem to be somewhat reluctant to do for some reasons. It has been a constructive debate. In general the Bill is a good Bill [1764] and one more stage towards a more healthy country.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I suppose that, in referring to the problems of job creation associated with the tobacco industry, this kind of legislation creates a problem for somebody who might be representing somewhere like Dundalk where there are many jobs dependent on the tobacco industry. Apart from that, most people take a very clear and simple view that tobacco smoking damages the health of the nation in general and therefore we should legislate against it. I do not know if anybody referred to it earlier, but there is a very interesting comic record of somebody who is supposedly Sir Walter Raleigh on the phone from Virginia in the Middle Ages or in the 17th century, phoning back to base in London. The conversation is sort of one-sided but it is like this: “What are you up to now, Walter? You want to send us back some particular product or some particular commodity?” The story at this stage is that poor old Walter is not feeling well, maybe overtired, or emotional, or whatever because he cannot be serious with his next suggestion. He wants to send back a cargo of leaves. They put down the telephone at the other end and say: “Poor old Walter is not too well, obviously. The sunshine in the colonies is getting to him. He wants to send us back a cargo of leaves and we should indulge him somewhat”.

At that point they say: “Walter, what do you think we should do with a cargo of leaves?” He says “You take each leaf and dry it and roll it up and then you stick it...” and somebody interrupts and says: “Do not tell us, Walter; let us guess this one. You stick it in your ear? No, better again, you stick it in your mouth. OK Walter, but what do you do with it when you stick it in your mouth?” He says “Then you light it”. At this stage the general view is that poor old Walter has lost his marbles. Eventually he tells them that not only do you light it but that you [1765] inhale the smoke and take it into your body. Unfortunately they tell him to send back a cargo and they will have a look at it.

It sounds so incredible, but if you think back only ten years ago, the idea of somebody ringing up and saying: “Would you send me over a tanker ship full of Irish water?” it would probably have sounded just as unimaginable. Somebody saying ten years ago that within a decade we would have a public company whose sole objective would be the sale of Irish water abroad would seem incredible. Nowadays, if somebody said: “We can sell bottles of Irish air” it would probably sound just as incredible. Who knows what might happen next? I have heard a proposal that square footage of the old sod might be sold abroad. The power of advertising is everything.

In regard to this legislation, there has been confusion on some of the points made about interference with personal rights, etc., particularly Senators Manning's presentation where he said that as an old-fashioned Liberal he found that this smacked too much of State interference. I certainly know his party's view on a sort of hands-on status thing he would find very difficult. We should look in more detail at this legislation which has to do with the common good. It certainly is quite clear to me that we have to have this type of legislation. I will deal, as I go along, with how effective I think it might be.

At a recent conference I attended in the Council of Europe on the question of drugs abuse, the question came up about the effects of smoking in public places. While the Irish, English, German and particularly the southern Europeans who must be the world's greatest smokers were talking about the effects or otherwise of public smoking and whether or not it might be banned or legislated against, the people from the Scandinavian countries, particularly from Sweden, found it totally incomprehensible that in this day and age [1766] people would even consider smoking in public. They have reached that level of maturity where, not only do they not need to legislate against smoking in public places in some of the Scandinavian countries but, in fact, it would be unthinkable for anybody to light up a cigarette in a public place. Really that should be the objective. The objective should be to get the results of this legislation without having to legislate for them. I do not know whether that is possible but that must be the objective in the long term. In other words, our objective must be to make this legislation redundant as quickly as possible when there is no longer any need for it.

Times do change. It is correct and as responsible to consider legislation in this area as it is in many others. The Minister gave some quite appalling statistics on the effects on general health and mortality rates of smoking. I will not repeat them but that is the kind of information not enough people have. The facts speak for themselves. If the number of deaths on the road each year were at the same level or range as those associated with smoking and tobacco, there would be outrage in the community. We would probably almost consider banning cars from the roads if that was what it took.

The number of deaths on the road is very small compared with those which are associated with, arise from or develop from smoking. Still, I do not think Senator Manning would say that, by encouraging speed limits, or setting up stop signs, or by asking people to drive on the left hand side of the road, we were interfering excessively with the rights of the individual. We would consider it to be commonsense. This legislation is an attempt to apply commensense to the regulation of our lives. I can go down through aspects of it and say I disagree with that, or this, or another part of it. In general the legislation has to be welcomed. More than that, the proposal to have the legislation is to be welcomed; the initiative that brought forward the [1767] legislation is to be welcomed. For that, I congratulate the Minister. Even if I were to find fault with every section of the Bill, I would certainly support his right to bring it before us. Not only that but there is need to have such legislation before us.

I have in my office an advertisement for the public sale of heroin, an advertisement dated 1914, by a company which is one of the major international drugs companies to this day. It was advertised as a cure for various minor ailments like influenza and depression. The argument that we should never legislate for passive smoking and tobacco is just as relevant as saying we should never have criminalised or regulated the supply of heroin. I know that there are some lunatics — and I would call them nothing else — in Europe and apparently in Ireland in the last couple of weeks who have talked about the decriminalisation of drugs. They are people who have no understanding whatsoever of the effects of hard drugs and their availability etc. One of the proposals in the European Parliament is that heroin should be on sale on street corners and street corner shops, with tobacconists and newsagents selling it. Making it freely available would in the long term decriminalise it and there would be fewer people dying from it, it was suggested. That is absolute nonsense.

In the same way as we regulate for the movement of dangerous substances, this in what we are talking about here. We are talking about the effects of a dangerous substance in the same way as we would legislate against air pollution or to control the cleanliness of the air — and I would ask for that. Similarly, we would make certain demands in order to prevent contagious or infectious illnesses I think this is what we are talking about here. If somebody is smoking in a room or a number of persons are smoking in a room and this leads to the passive inhalation of the smoke and consequently creates damage to the health of people who are not smoking, it seems to me there is no [1768] conflict of rights there. We are not saying to the smoker: “You may not smoke”. We are saying to the smoker: “You may not smoke where it can damage the health of other people”.

We have already tried in previous legislation by the stamping on each package of cigarettes, “This is damaging to health” or whatever the slogan is, to protect smokers from themselves. Now what we are trying to do is protect the non-smoker. We are trying to do it in such a way as not to interfere with the rights of the smoker. Talking about smokers' rights is almost like saying people have the right to suicide or the right to control their own lives or the right to regulate whether they live or die. There is another huge area there and I do not propose to get into that. I think it is important to see this legislation in the context in which it is presented. It is not presented in the sense of restricting those people who indulge in smoking. It is meant to protect those people who do not smoke. That is really what it sets out to do. Going through the Bill we find there are efforts made particularly to control the supply of tobacco to young people, to non-smokers. I think that is a wasted effort. I do not think it will get anywhere: my views on this kind of thing are well known. I do not believe, and I say it ad nauseum, that we will solve in any way drugs abuse or misuse by trying to control the supply. We have a certain duty to control it at a general level but there is no way we can say we will take every person in Ireland under the age of 14 and we will now start off on a project to ensure that they can never get their hands on a cigarette and therefore they will never smoke. That is utter nonsense. It does no work. It is the weakest part of the Bill.

A recent report from the European Parliament in the same area of the control of drugs, talked about asking the farmers of Bolivia and Peru and places like that not to grow the coca leaf but to grow vegetables and everything else and they would be guaranteed a market for those [1769] vegetables in Europe. It has no chance of working, of course. Nobody is going to do that because there is no demand for those vegetables in Europe. They only give one-twentieth of the income that the coca leaf would give to them. It just does not work.

Even if you stop the supply of drugs people will find another drug. There are plenty of them. One example — about alcohol rather than tobacco but it is relevant — I saw a situation within the last two years where the supply of alcohol to young primary school children was stopped. The source of supply was stopped and it was stopped successfully for a month or two but now the same children in the same area are drinking happily every night. They are drinking now because the drink is being supplied to them by their older brothers or sisters who, over age 18 go in and buy it and sell it of a profit to the younger ones. Young people will get around legislation like that. I see the good intention of it but it is purely a good intention and it will not work.

Trying to control the supply of a substance and in that way, hoping that the people will not abuse it, does not work. It is not the supply we need to look at; it is the demand. We need to ask why are people smoking. Why are they approaching cigarettes and how do we go about preventing it? What this Bill approaches is to try to get them out of the ambience of smoking, to try to get smoking away from the places where they are likely to be, such as schools, and I will make a passing reference to that in a few minutes. It seems to me that instead of trying to control the supply we should address ourselves to the demand. We should ask why do young people smoke or why does any person smoke and what are we doing about it. Instead of trying to restrict access to tobacco we should educate people away from the use of tobacco. Instead of trying to criminalise in certain ways passive or other smoking we should try to educate people away [1770] from inflicting the results of their bad habit on other people.

I know that the Minister could stand up and say he agrees totally with what I am saying and I have no doubt about that. That would be his own personal view. I suppose this legislation for that reason represents a certain fatalism. I have no doubt that, were I sitting where he is sitting, I would talking in similar terms because I am talking about a Utopian concept, as I said at the beginning of my contribution, working to make this legislation, however good it is, redundant, unnecessary, something that we can take off the Statute Book at some stage. That can only be done by a massive programme of preventive education.

There is — and Senator Ross touched on this — a mass of conflict for Government in this. The Minister will deny this, I have no doubt. It we were to lose tomorrow morning the income we get through the imposition of taxation or duty on cigarettes we would certainly be in a fair mess financially next year in trying to balance the books of the State. We are now in a situation where, as a community in the sense that the Government represent the will of the community, we are opposed to the use of cigarettes. We think they are bad for the health of the nation, if such a thing exists, and that we are therefore trying in every sense possible to stop the use of cigarettes, to stop people from smoking. On the other hand, we are dependent on the revenue which derives to the Exchequer from people smoking. The more successful we are in this effort to stop people smoking the less our income will be. In trying to justify that, we do things like organise major programmes of preventive health education.

This is an absolutely “no win” situation. I think the money we spend on advertising to tell people to stop smoking is wasted. I do not think it works at all because the tobacco companies have about 100 times — I could not put my finger on the precise figures today but [1771] they are easily enough found — the amount of money available for advertising their product that the Minister will have at his disposal to organise campaigns against smoking. We are in a totally “no win” situation.

I firmly believe that we should put an end to advertising for smoking. It should be forbidden. The advertising of cigarettes should be forbidden. I do not believe drink should be advertised on RTE or on television. That is something that we cannot live with any longer. It should just be taken off despite the regulations that are there. It certainly is to me important that we would look down the road and, in looking down the road, say that we can no longer tolerate a situation where it is quite legal to push and promote an activity which is so seriously damaging to the health of the nation.

We look at the potential damage of Sellafield. There was unanimous agreement in this House that we oppose it. Smoking is potentially as damaging to the health of the nation. I do not think, therefore, that we should be allowed to place advertisements in publications in order to get people more involved in such a negative habit. I could develop that at some length.

I want to refer also to the question of the regulations in schools. I was interviewed about two years ago on Ash Wednesday at the beginning of the campaigns against smoking. I thought they were excellent campaigns because they directed the nation's attention to the problem. That kind of prevention campaign is better than the long-term placing of advertisements. That is my personal view in terms of the impact on people. I was interviewed in my capacity as school principal about my view on the campaign against cigarette smoking, trying to make Ash Wednesday a no-smoking day. I gave my views on it fairly trenchantly but towards the end of the interview John Bowman asked: “What would your view be on smoking in schools for instance? [1772] You are in charge of a school with 300 pupils in it. What would your view be? Would you insist that smoking would only taken place in the staff-room of your school?”. My answer to him was in a sense rather jocular but there was a lot of commitment in what I was saying. My answer to him was: “John, if I had my way, they could smoke everywhere in the school except in the staff-room because those of us who do not smoke are there, and must put up with the effects of the smoking”. The worst time of the day for non-smoking teachers — because teachers do not smoke in classrooms; neither would I be recommending that they should smoke in classrooms — is when they come into the staff-room for their break times and those who smoke feel this great, intense need for a cigarette and those who do not smoke have to suffer during that period. I often wonder whose rights are infringed.

I agree with the idea of regulating tobacco in schools. Because there are adults, teachers, involved, you will note that this would also put extra pressure on those in control, the teachers etc. to see that this legislation was implemented. The response of teachers will be: “I wish the Government would take as much care to make schools a little bit less stressful and a little bit less difficult so that there would not be as great a demand, certainly by the teaching staff, for cigarettes or some form of drugs in order to calm them down at the end of the day's work or during the breaks”.

In relation to the various restrictions that are in the proposed legislation I do not believe that they are restrictions on personal rights. I do not think anybody would say that they put such demands on the smoker as to be an interference with him or her going about their normal day-to-day work. I think, however, that in terms of what this is likely to achieve, it will raise by one more notch the awareness of ordinary citizens to the dangers of smoking. If it did nothing more than that it would be very useful and very [1773] welcome legislation. There are sections here and there that I would not be completely happy with. I certainly compliment the Minister on bringing forward this legislation and seeking to address a problem within the constraints that any Minister for Health will work under at any particular time. It is long overdue legislation. As a non-smoker I welcome the fact that the Government sets out to protect my space as well from those people who seek to pollute the air around me. It will be seen in general as progressive legislation.

Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  First, I thank the Senators for what has been a very constructive debate on this legislation here this afternoon. I would like at this stage to go through some of the points that were raised and to respond to them. Perhaps I can take them in order. Senator Fennell mentioned the experience of her son in Australia recently and the point she made underlines the fact that when you do apply certain conditions you achieve the results which you wish to achieve. We have seen the example here in our own country where, voluntarily, both on the DART and on Dublin Bus there is now no smoking. That is in advance of this legislation.

Senator Fennell also mentioned that the functions of the Health Education Bureau had been transferred to the Department of Health. I was surprised when she said that she was unaware of the new Health Promotion Unit and what they had been doing, because in the short period of six months they have taken the intitiatve in three major campaigns. There is the Cleanwatch campaign aimed at improving the standard of food hygiene, one that is looking for co-operation between the vendor and the customer and has the support of all the various interest groups in the country including Bord Fáilte, the vintners, the grocers and hotels federation. I would have thought that particular programme did get a lot of publicity at the time and [1774] I am glad to say it is working very effectively, which is evidenced by the number of cleanwatch stickers that one sees in the food outlets. Hopefully, in that campaign people will look for those stickers when they go to a food outlets to ensure that the vendor is supportive in looking for better food hygiene.

The Health Promotion Unit were involved along with the Commission of the European Community and the Irish Cancer Society in the Information Week against Cancer in May and would be very much involved in the programme for the European Year against Cancer in 1989. A third project that the Health Promotion Unit have been involved in is the provision of a major programme for those involved with drug abusers and those who abuse alcohol and it is hoped to have 200 convenors trained by the various health boards by the end of this year. At the present time the Health Promotion Unit are planning a major campagn aimed at tobacco consumption which it is hoped to run later this year and they are researching the best nature for that campaign. In relation to the role models such as sports persons in the fight against tobacco consumption, the current tobacco legislation is such that the use of role models in advertising is prohibited. The Health Promotion Unit is considering all possible approaches such as the use of role models in the anti-smoking campaign but for the promotion of tobacco they are prohibited. As regards smoking in schools, section 2 (c) of the Bill provides that the Minister may make regulations to ban or restrict smoking in any part of the school. I agree entirely with Sentors Murphy and Fennell that teachers should be encouraged not to smoke cigarettes.

Senator Cullimore mentioned the possible difficulties in enforcing section 3 of the Bill relating to vending machines. Senator Ross also referred to vending machines, as I said in my opening address, the section is drafted to ensure that vending machines are properly [1775] supervised in relation to the sale of cigarettes to young persons. When drafting the Bill there were three options open to me: to do nothing, to ban the use of vending machines altogether or to provide for the proper supervision of the machines..

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I do not know about the Minister, but I certainly do not want an election. There is a division in the other House and I am sure you will all want the Minister to be there. Could we have a sos for ten minutes?

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  I wonder would the Minister rather leave his response on this until next week and we will proceed to Committee Stage then. It would be unfair to bring the Minister back this evening. That would be a business-like way of dealing with the matter, if it is suitable to the Minister?

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I would be glad to do that next week. Perhaps we could take the various points in conjunction with or in advance of Committee Stage.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mr. Ferris: Information on Michael Ferris  Zoom on Michael Ferris  Will the Minister be available on Tuesday?

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Yes.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  It is my understanding that it has been decided not to take Committee Stage of the Forestry Bill this evening.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  I believe that is the understanding here also.

Mr. J. O'Toole: Information on Joe John O'Toole  Zoom on Joe John O'Toole  I have just contacted the Whip's office and he has confirmed it.

Debate adjourned.

[1776]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  When is it proposed to sit again?

Mr. Farrell: Information on Willie Farrell  Zoom on Willie Farrell  On Tuesday, 5 July at 2.30 p.m.

Sitting suspended at 5.05 p.m. and resumed at 5.20 p.m.


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