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Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will state the outcome of discussions with the tobacco industry on relevant matters covered by the Government strategy on smoking and health.

I have put a number of requests to the Tobacco Advisory Committee, representing home manufacturers, and to the Imported Tobacco Products Advisory Council, representing importers, and agreement has been reached as follows:

Control of substitutes and additives. (a) Companies will follow and comply

with the guidelines on testing and marketing products containing tobacco substitutes and/or additives promulgated by the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health (the Hunter Committee) in its first report and in any subsequent revision of these guidelines which are agreed by the industry to be reasonable after consultation by the Department.

( b) Companies will notify the Department of additives and/or substitutes to which the Hunter Committee has given its consent for commercial use, and will inform the Department which of these are included in products at the time when the products are marketed for sale to the public in the United Kingdom.

( c) Companies will similarly notify the Department when any changes are made to the information given under ( b).

( d) 1st October 1977 should be the date from which products containing approved additives can be sold to the public provided that the Independent Scientific Committee has been able to reach decisions by 31st March 1977 on all submissions that it received before 28th February 1977.

Cigarette packets and advertising.—(a) The industry will include the following warning on packets and in advertisements that currently carry a reference to the warning:
"HM Government Health Departments' Warning: Cigarettes can seriously damage your health"

(b) The warning will appear in its present position and area on cigarette packets and advertisements and will be printed in the same type size as at present.
(c)The new warning will appear on packets as fast as is practicable and in all advertising currently carrying a reference to a warning as soon as a substantial quantity of cigarette packets bearing the new text is available in the shops. The timetable for implementation will be agreed between the industry and the Department.
(d) The industry agrees to negotiate with the Advertising Standards Authority a strengthening of the code of practice governing cigarette advertising with a view to eliminating advertisements of a kind which have hitherto prevented Government endorsement of the code.
Tar yields.—(a) The industry agrees to discontinue forthwith the advertising in Press, posters and cinemas of cigarettes yielding 29 mg or more of tar—i.e., those in the Government "high tar" group.
(b) The industry agrees to discontinue by 31st December 1978 the advertising in Press, posters and cinemas of cigarettes yielding 23 mg to 28 mg of tar—i.e., those in the Government "middle to high tar" group.
(c) The industry will introduce no new brand of cigarettes yielding 23 mg or more of tar, neither will any existing brand have its tar yield intentionally raised above 22 mg.
(d) The industry will use its best endeavours to ensure that no brands of cigarettes will appear in the "high tar" group of the Government tar tables after 31st March 1979.
(e) The industry will maintain its policy of devoting a disproportionate amount of advertising in relation to total sales to the promotion of cigarettes yielding less than 17 mg of tar—i.e., cigarettes in the Government's two lower tar groups.
(f) The industry will continue its long-standing policy of reducing, as far as is compatible with consumer acceptability, the tar yield of cigarettes.
Duration.—In view of the need, which Government have recognised, for the industry to have a clear programme within which it can work, the entirety of these arrangements, including the voluntary control of substitutes and additives and the revised code of advertising practice when agreed, will stand for at least three years. The industry recognises that the Government intend to amend the Medicines Act 1968 to enable them to control, if the need arises at any time, the use of tobacco substitutes and additives in smoking products in the United Kingdom.