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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2443

Senator GEORGES (Queensland) - Could I make the point that Senator Marriott for 18 months heard evidence that revealed the dangers of cigarette smoking. I am referring to the evidence that was produced before the Senate Select Committee on Drug' Trafficking and Drug Abuse, of which he was chairman. That evidence was what actually frightened him - no less than that - into a position where he decided that he would give up cigarette smoking. Because of that evidence he became aware that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health - not hazardous, but dangerous to health. He became aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking and he made a personal decision not to smoke. All that we are suggesting is that the message which Senator Marriott received as a result of this evidence is the message which should be given carefully and clearly to everyone who smokes cigarettes, whether he be young or old. If a message saying that cigatette smoking is dangerous to health is flashed across a television screen, the person who reaches for his cigarette packet because he sees a cigarette advertisement at that moment on television will think again. The weakening and watering down of the warning, which took place in the House of Representatives ought not to be tolerated here. Cigarette smoking is dangerous to health, and the Minister himself, by the details and figures that he has given, supports this claim. It is dangerous to health - not hazardous to health. 'Hazardous' is merely an extension of 'cautious'. Our amendments states that the warning should read:

The National Health and Medical Research Council warns that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health.

Perhaps we could substitute the words medical authorities' for the words National Health and Medical Research Council', but to my mind the most important consideration is whether we should use the word 'hazardous' or 'dangerous'. On the evidence that has been placed before the Senate during the past day, I think the word should be 'dangerous'. I appeal to honourable senators, especially to the independent senators, to consider that at this moment they have the chance of putting an effective warning against cigarette smoking on television advertising. If honourable senators support what the Government has proposed they will be supporting an ineffective warning compared to what Senator Douglas' McClelland has proposed. It may be many months or even years1 before- we' contemplate" issuing a more 'serious warning. In the meantime', many young people and many older people will be encouraged not only to start but also to continue smoking cigarettes.

Let me make the point clear: Cigarette smoking is addictive. Once started, in spite of the will of people, cigarette smoking has the capacity to drive them to further smoking. Any person who smokes cigarettes can tell you exactly how difficult it is to give up smoking. 1 feel that this question ought to be considered seriously. I stress again that at this moment we have the opportunity of insisting on a reasonable warning being given against cigarette smoking. I appeal to honourable senators to support the amendment rather than the Government's proposition.

Senator MARRIOTT(Tasmania) - Mr Temporary Chairman, I wish to make a personal explanation. Senator Georges has unwittingly misrepresented the facts. This time last year I was in hospital preparing to undergo ear surgery. My doctor would not operate because of the state of my health, caused, he said, through excessive smoking. I gave up smoking for that reason. I felt so well after a week, and then I remembered the evidence given to the Senate Select Committee on Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse. 1 have kept off smoking. My medical authority caused me to give up smoking.

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