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Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, as one of the few Members of your Lordships' House to be born after 1955, I have had the experience of growing up alongside some very fast-changing attitudes to smoking in this country. I am delighted that we have now come to the stage where, I believe, public opinion is much in favour of introducing the measures set out in this legislation. It is extremely important to remind ourselves of the point made at the start of this debate, that ventilation is not a suitable alternative.
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When I was 12, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer; he also had asthma. I spent many years trying to go with him to a restaurant or pub, or trying to enjoy some kind of experience of social life outside the home. That was virtually impossible, even where cigarette smoking was supposedly banned and ventilation was in place. So, I really want to add my support to those of your Lordships who have reminded us of what the experts have to say. In spite of modern developments in ventilation systems, I do not believe that they are good enough to warrant supporting such an amendment.

I also want to make a point about the strength of medical evidence. Yes, it is true that there are statistics and damn lies, and so on. Yet we must recognise that while there may well be much diversity of opinion in the research community, it is really time to accept that the balance of medical opinion is very clear on this subject—that passive smoking costs lives. In fact, I think we can agree that we are losing one life every week in this country because of passive smoking. We have to listen to what the medical profession is telling us.

My final point is that I am delighted that the Government took time to consult fully last summer and that the Government strengthened the Bill. I do not feel that we should hang our heads in any way about the development of the Bill. I am so proud that we are here today discussing the potential step forward in public health that this Bill represents. Cancer is the single biggest cause of health concern in this country. If we can make smoking in enclosed public places a thing of the past, it will be a huge benefit to all of us in this country. I am not just talking about non-smokers, but smokers who would like to give up—and do not forget that the majority of smokers would very much like to give up. There is nothing worse than sitting in a pub watching all your mates having a fag when you are trying to give up. I have had experience of that.

Please can we reject the amendment today? Please can we make this Bill as strong as possible and as enforceable as possible? Let us not argue any further about the strength of medical evidence on this subject.

Lord Jopling: My Lords, listening to the debate, I am struck by the fact that relatively few of those who oppose the amendment are prepared to discuss the important issue of choice. I was not sure how my mind would end up on this, but my instinct at the beginning of the debate was to support the amendment.

I do not need any lessons from anyone on the dangers of smoking and lung cancer. At the end of my first year at university I had a pleural effusion and spent 12 weeks in hospital. At the end of that period, the professor of thoracic surgery who had looked after me said, "Do you smoke?", and I said, "Yes, I do". He said, "How many?", and I said, "I do not know; I suppose 20 or 25 a day". He said, "You should not". I said, "Obviously my father has been talking to you and saying that this is a good opportunity to get the boy off smoking". He said, "No, I swear to you that I have not talked to your father at all about it. One of our students in the university"—this was in Newcastle,
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and the noble Lord, Lord Walton, knows this story—"has just written a thesis where he claims to have found a connection between smoking and lung cancer". This was in 1950. He said, "I have not been through it properly myself yet, but I think it is extraordinarily impressive. You have finished the first year of a science degree and you will understand most of it. I will give you the thesis to read". I read it in bed, and I was so horrified that I said, "I shall from this day stop smoking". I have never had a cigarette since the day I put down that thesis in 1950. I do not need any lessons on the danger of smoking and lung cancer.

I was hugely puzzled by the argument made by the noble Lord, Lord Monson, that most of us here were born before 1955 and were brought up in smoke-filled rooms but we are all here. That seemed to me a good argument for claiming that passive smoking does not kill 100 per cent of those who are exposed to it. It was a very strange argument. I detest smoke-filled rooms; I find them most unattractive and most irritating. When it comes to whether I believe that passive smoking is dangerous or not dangerous, or over-dangerous or only marginally dangerous, and I have to choose between my noble friend Lord Wakeham and the noble Lord, Lord Walton, on the evidence that I have read my mind comes rather towards the noble Lord, Lord Walton. I understand very much the dangers of passive smoking.

That brings me back to the amendment. Few noble Lords in the debate have referred to choice and liberalism. There are so many things in our lives in this world that we tolerate that are dangerous; for example, alcohol and dangerous sports. I could go through a whole list of things that we tolerate. The noble Lord, Lord Russell-Johnston, has proposed this amendment, which I think is worth giving a try. It could work, if there are properly physically separated areas, and if there is proper ventilation. It is no use noble Lords saying that ventilation may not work. The Act, if this were agreed, would say that there would have to be a ventilation system. It is worth while us giving this a try. I suspect that we shall be talking about smoking and smoking bans for decades. This will just be the first stage of it. Therefore, I think it would make sense for your Lordships to agree to accept this amendment as a first step forward. If it does not work, at some future time we or our successors can come back to this issue and negate the effects of this amendment. I hope that your Lordships will give it a try.

Baroness Cumberlege: My Lords, I declare an interest as a trustee of Cancer Research UK. It is the biggest cancer charity in the world and it employs more than 3,000 scientists, doctors and nurses, mostly in this country but also abroad.

I was very interested in some of the points put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, that in fact doctors are not always right. Of course, that is absolutely true. I do, though, draw a distinction between doctors and negligence in hospital—when they are taking firm action in operations, anaesthetics, drug giving, and so on—and those who are doing
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research. When it comes to the scientists and researchers, it is the body of opinion that matters. It is also the credibility of the individuals who do the research, produce their reports and have their work peer-reviewed. Cancer Research UK has recently had two Nobel Prize winners: Sir Paul Nurse and, as of Saturday, in the Queen's Birthday Honours, Sir Tim Hunt.

I want to address the very narrow point made by my noble friend Lord Jopling on ventilation. Cancer Research UK is absolutely convinced, and its research shows, that ventilation systems may remove the smell of smoke but they cannot effectively remove the harmful chemicals that it contains. Levels of air flow equivalent to those produced by tornadoes and wind tunnels, would be needed for ventilation systems to remove the smoke effectively.

On a practical basis, systems can cost tens of thousands of pounds to install, and they are difficult and costly to maintain. This can be a particular burden for non-profit-making private members clubs, and others. Reports have shown that many proprietors leave their ventilation systems switched off, because the running costs are so high. Recent research in venues in Sydney, Australia, has shown that designated no-smoking areas in hospitality venues provide at best partial protection, and at worst no protection at all, against the damaging effects of second-hand smoke. I have all the references for what I have said, but I will not bore the House with that right now.

If it is a question of choice, then ventilation certainly has to work. I am absolutely convinced that it does not.

4.15 pm

Lord Rea: My Lords, I had not intended to speak, because of my voice. However, I disobeyed medical orders—my own—to speak in this debate, because it is such an important topic. I also had not expected that on the very first amendment we would be talking about the Economic Affairs Committee chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham. Since, however, a discussion on that committee has occupied a certain amount of time in this debate—it is not a short debate but a quite long debate—it might be worth pointing out to your Lordships that of the 13 members of that committee, two were former Chancellors of the Exchequer, two professors of economics, and six, possibly seven, had links to commerce and industry. Not one member, however, had any professional experience in medicine, nursing or public health.

Furthermore, the committee appears to have overlooked evidence that demonstrates the harmful effects of passive tobacco smoke. I want briefly to mention one or two people who gave evidence. The first is Caroline Flint, who was then the Minister for public health. In relation to exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, she quoted the study which found that in adults lung cancer is up 24 per cent, an increased risk of heart disease is up 25 per cent, and that the risk of heart disease increases substantially even at low levels of exposure to second-hand smoke. Perhaps more
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significantly—much has been made of this, albeit statistical, evidence, and two of the expert advisers to the committee were statisticians—the committee heard evidence from Sir Richard Peto, one of the most eminent epidemiological statisticians in the whole country. He said that, if there was proportionality, you would expect to get up to a 20 per cent excess from inhaled environmental tobacco smoke. He said that that was what you saw in the average of all studies. So I think that the composition of the committee, and perhaps the views of the chairman, eminent though they all are and excellently written though the report is, may be slightly biased.

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