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Smoking (Health Risks)

Volume 981: debated on Friday 21 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement of his response to the World Health Organisation's designation of 7 April as a day on which Governments are asked to co-operate in an effort to eliminate dangers arising from cigarette smoking.

My right hon. Friend and I welcome the World Health Organisation's decision to focus attention this year on the issue of smoking and health. We are fully committed to the WHO's aim of reducing and eventually eliminating the toll of preventable disease and premature death attributable to smoking, and we shall continue to reflect this commitment, both in our response to the WHO day and in our longer term policies.Our plans to secure appropriate publicity for the day itself include the preparation of taped features by the Government's chief medical officer and myself for broadcast on local radio, which will describe the dangers of smoking and the Government's response to this problem; releases to the press and to other media asking them to draw attention to the day in appropriate ways; and requests to those responsible for health and health education at local level to seek publicity for the day. Also, as part of the international exchange of information and experience on the issue of smoking and health, I shall address the WHO Director-General's conference "Smoking or health: the choice is yours" in Geneva and a similar conference in Oslo shortly after WHO day.