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Cigarette Advertising

Volume 413: debated on Wednesday 22 October 1980

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3.6 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their attention has been drawn to a cigarette advertisement which appeared in the press last July, offering a "superb English 5 inch silver-plated dish … save £7 against recommended price when you send 10 pack inserts plus £1·50 "; and whether in their discussions with the tobacco industry they will voice strong disapproval of such enticements to people to smoke cigarettes.

My Lords, my right honourable friend is aware of this advertisement, whose content conforms with the provisions relative to promotional offers in the existing voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry. The Government and the tobacco industry are currently negotiating on what should follow this agreement. Both parties are agreed that the details of the negotiations should remain confidential until a conclusion is reached. While, therefore, I can confirm that the promotion of tobacco products is among the subjects under discussion, I must ask noble Lords to await the announcement which will be made on conclusion of the negotiations.

My Lords, I am much obliged for that reply, so far as it goes. But, as the advertising of cigarettes is under a partial ban, does it not follow that such advertising as is permitted ought to show a good deal more restraint than is the case in this example?

My Lords, as I know the noble Lord knows, a voluntary agreement was entered into by the previous Government in 1977 which came to an end in March this year. It has now been continued until such time as the new agreement is reached. The particular advertisement, about which the noble Lord spoke, conforms, as I said, to the many detailed provisions of the agreement.

My Lords, has my noble friend the Minister any information as to how many inserts there are in each packet of this particular brand of cigarettes? If there is only one, would it not cost, anyway, about £7 to buy 10 packets?

My Lords, my noble friend is quite right. Although this advertisement might appeal to someone who is already a steady smoker, it would certainly not appeal to anyone who was thinking of taking up smoking, since that person could buy the dish more cheaply in a shop than by buying 10 packets of cigarettes and paying £1·50.