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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4571

Mr Hayden asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

(1)   Did the recent Annual Report of the Department of Health stale that during the past 25 years it has become increasingly apparent that cigarette smoking is a major cause of ill health.

(2)   Has his attention been drawn to a claim in the recent Annual Report of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria that control of lung cancer now requires Government intervention to remove cigarette smoking on the one hand and to increase smoking education programmes on the other.

(3)   Can he say whether cigarette manufacturers in Canada have agreed lo cease all radio and television advertising after 1st January, 1972, as a result of concern expressed by the Canadian Government and the serious threat lo public health caused by smoking.

(4)   Has television and radio advertising of cigarettes and smoking in the United Slates ceased for similar reasons.

(5)   Can he say in what other countries of the world radio and television advertising of cigarette and tobacco smoking has been stopped (A) voluntarily and (B) compulsorily.

(6)   Does he still defend and uphold the right ot television and radio advertising of cigarette and tobacco smoking on the basis that it is profitable to these media of communication: if so, why docs he enshrine the right of profit-making ahead of the interests of public health.

Sir Alan Hulme - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   The Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board has informed me that this claim was made in the recent Annual Report of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, although the actual reference in the report was to the removal of cigarette promotion rather than the removal of cigarette smoking.

(3)   I understand that the Canadian Government has decided to prohibit all advertising and promotion of cigarettes from January next year.

(4)   The United Slates of America have already banned cigarette advertising on radio and television.

(5)   The ban which has been placed on cigarette advertising in certain overseas countries appears to vary somewhat from country to country. From information available to me there are currently some 13 countries in which a ban on cigarette advertising has been imposed to some degree; in some cases the ban applies only to television advertising, in other cases to television and radio and in a few cases to all advertising media. Although I am aware of only 13 countries applying a ban, the honourable member has no doubl noticed that the most recent Annual Report of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria suggests that cigarette advertising on television is now banned in 17 countries, including Britain, America and Canada; the ban in the case of Canada is, of course, to apply after 1st January, 1972. I am not in a position to provide any accurate information on whether the ban on cigarette advertising in the countries concerned was applied voluntarily or compulsorily, although 1 understand that in the case of Denmark the ban on cigarette advertising on radio, television and in the cinema, was voluntarily applied.

(6)   This portion of the honourable member's question presents an opportunity for me to correct a wrong impression which seems to have been gained from an answer I gave recently at Question time on this subject. Initially it mu-i be understood that the question of any controls on cigarette advertising or distribution is basically one for my colleague, the Minister for Health, and his department. The mailer has been considered several times by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the implementation of some of the recommendations made by that body is a matter for Slate Government* \s far as the Federal Government is concerned, the Cabinet has carefully considered the submissions made to it, and has firmly decided that the situation is best handled by tin education cam>\ i"n regarding the hazards of smoking, and by a voluntary agreement regarding some forms nf advertising.

It follows therefore that the production and marketing of cigarettes is an entirely legal operation, and to ban their advertising on radio and television only would be ah act of discrimination against some media, to (he very great advantage of others. In the United Slates, for instance, two surveys have recently been published showing the startling increase in the advertising of cigarettes in magazines since such advertisements were banned in the broadcast media. Such advertising in most leading magazines increased by well over 100 per cent compared with the same period the previous year, and in one case the increase was 533 per cent.

In the light of this information it is apparent, that any action to ban cigarette advertising on radio and television would only have the effect of very substantially redistributing advertising income among the media, which depend on that revenue for existence, without bringing about any change in the total volume of such advertising 1 should add that the voluntary code governing the advertising of cigarettes, recently revised by the industry, in consultation wilh the Department of Health and the Control Board, appears to have achieved its object in that no advertising of this nature is now broadcast or televised in proximity to programmes which are addressed to young people.

It is not for me, of course, as PostmasterGeneral to determine the matter of any health hazards which may accompany the smoking of cigarettes. What I am attempting to do is to put forward the argument that discrimination in respect of one section of the advertising media - because it is one over the which the Federal Government can exercise some controls - cannot bo justified.

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