Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameProfessor Dr Charles Montague FLETCHER CBE, FRCP, MD , 719
Birth1911
Death1995
EducationEton and Trinity College Cambridge. St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
MotherMary “Maisie” Frances CROPPER , 410 (1881-1975)
Spouses
Marriage24th October 1941
ChildrenCaroline Anne , 723 (1949-)
 Mark Walter , 726 (1942-)
 Susanna Mary , 727 (1945-)
Notes for Professor Dr Charles Montague FLETCHER CBE, FRCP, MD
Noted expert in respiratory disease. Presenter of the Television series “Your Life in Their Hands” (1958-65)about surgery. One of the founders of ASH-the Council for Action on Smoking and Health-the antismoking campaign. ASH was set up under the auspices of the Royal College of Physicians to make non-smoking the norm in society and to inform and educate the public about the death and disease caused by smoking. Charles Fletcher was its first Chairman.

Responsible for the Royal College taking up the issue of smoking and healt and in 1962 publishing the landmark paper “Smoking and Health”

This is taken from the ASH website:

“The idea originated in 1958 when Dr Charles Fletcher, a maverick who outraged many in the profession with his television series on surgery, Your Life in their Hands, spoke to Dr George Godber, then a Ministry of Health medical officer, deploring the Ministry’s complacency.  Godber proposed that they each approach the new President of the College, Robert Platt, to suggest a committee on smoking and health.  Platt agreed readily and took the chair himself.  Things moved slowly, however, and in the interim the forthcoming report was used as an excuse for continuing inaction by the Ministry, not least in dismissing a cogently argued paper from the Scottish Office that proposed a much more interventionist policy.
 
The report came out on 7 March 1962.  Written for the ordinary reader, it gained wide press coverage and for once the industry, quixotically given an advance copy by the College, found that their spoiling press release and counter-report were given comparatively little attention.  Cigarette sales fell and filter brands became more popular.  The Financial Times said in a leading article that, although tobacco tax accounted for 14% of total public revenue, ‘the financial aspect of the matter must firmly be given second place.  The tax on cigarettes must be raised - not by a small amount . . . but by an amount so large as to risk an actual loss of revenue.’
 
Within days Enoch Powell, the Minister of Health, was subjected to tough Parliamentary questions and BBC TV broadcast a hard-hitting Panorama programme.  Richard Dimbleby quoted Powell’s statement in Parliament that the report ‘demonstrates authoritatively and crushingly the causal connection’ between smoking and lung cancer and quoted the report’s finding that the risk of lung cancer for a smoker of 20 cigarettes a day was 16 times that of a non-smoker.  Dimbleby, who was to die of lung cancer within four years, said he had quit his 40-a-day habit just six weeks earlier.  Sir Robert Platt and John Partridge, managing director of Imperial Tobacco and chairman of the tobacco companies’ joint committee, were interviewed by Robert Kee and clashed sharply.  When Partridge called for more research, Platt hit back that the research had already been done - on living populations.  Partridge defended tobacco advertising - ‘to young people?’ - ‘Yes indeed . . . but not to children’ - but found himself in difficulty when asked why children should not smoke if there was nothing harmful in it.
 
The Government’s reaction was slower.  Despite having an advance copy of the report for four months, they had no position prepared beyond a decision (at Treasury prompting) to omit from their initial reaction any reference to ‘discouraging’ adults from smoking.  Lord Hailsham as Lord President of the Council (and so in charge of the Medical Research Council) chaired a Cabinet committee to consider the report’s recommendations.  The committee was supported by an interdepartmental committee of officials.  Hailsham, a non-smoker, was enthusiastic: he had already shown himself worried at the Ministry’s complacency two years earlier, and now he had in Powell a minister of health who was equally critical of the industry and keen on effective action: a cynical Board of Trade official recorded that Powell had ‘clearly swallowed the Report hook, line and sinker’ and that ‘Lord Hailsham holds very strong personal views on the subject to which he intends to give free rein.  In particular . . . he says that [the tobacco companies’ response to the Report was] deliberately dishonest and wicked from start to finish’.  Hailsham and Powell, however, were struggling against a huge weight of prejudice and inertia.
 
The Royal College had made seven recommendations for Government action.  These were scrutinised by the interdepartmental committee, whose chairman Hailsham briefed in detail how to approach the task, throwing off suggestions and questions in profusion.
 
• The first recommendation was for public education.  The Scottish Office proposed a £1 million campaign (about £13 million today) with a steering committee including representatives from the BMA, TUC, industry, education and so on.  The committee recommended instead a £50,000 (about £650,000) three-year campaign using free media - posters, film-strips, leaflets and bookmarks made available to local health authorities.   Three of the Ministry’s posters were banned by the poster industry’s Joint Censorship Committee who would not accept any statement that cigarettes caused (as against might cause) cancer. 
The modest ambitions of this campaign were dictated not just by frugality with public money: the committee believed any mainstream advertising by the Government would be swamped by the £11 million advertising budget of the industry.  There was also fear that the industry would embark on a counter-advertising campaign and ‘it would be difficult to justify to public opinion what would be bound to appear as a conflict between Government policy and the tobacco companies’ - a telling betrayal of officialdom’s closer identification with the industry than with the public. 
 
• The second recommendation was for ‘more effective restrictions on the sale of tobacco to children’.  The committee recommended ‘as a political rather than a practical gesture’ that fines be increased but rejected raising the minimum age to 17 or 18, controls on vending machines in public places and banning sales of fewer than ten cigarettes.  They undertook a long examination of the idea of revocable licences to sell tobacco but rejected it on grounds of impracticality and administrative workload, sticking to this view even when Hailsham’s ministerial committee asked for further consideration.
 
• The third was for restriction of tobacco advertising.  There was already pressure in Parliament for a ban on cigarette advertising on the new commercial television channel, but the officials’ committee thought such a ban unreasonable if advertising in the press and on hoardings remained unregulated.  Capping the industry’s advertising spend would be ‘an invidious task’, while a complete ban would lead to demands for the same treatment of alcohol.  Altogether, it was best to seek voluntary measures by the advertising media and the tobacco industry while ‘keep[ing] the threat of legislation in reserve’.
 
• The College next recommended wider restriction of smoking in public places, which had long been sought by the National Society of Non-Smokers - now transformed into Quit.  The committee was half-hearted at best, but Hailsham’s committee insisted on more sympathetic consideration. 
 
• Increased taxation, especially on cigarettes - the fifth recommendation -  was rejected.  Only a ‘very substantial’ increase would have any effect, and that would ‘heavily penalise’ the ‘lower social classes’, raise the cost of living and stimulate wage claims.  When Hailsham’s committee commissioned further consideration of the matter, the Treasury held out, citing the unfairness to the poor and to women (who could not switch to pipes or cigars) and the risks of evasion and of political unpopularity. 
 
• The least considered recommendation of the College report was the printing of tar and nicotine yields on cigarette packets.  The companies had already pointed out that the report itself said that no claim should be made that any brand was safer than any other, and the College had to admit that there was ‘no scientific reason behind their recommendation’.  The officials rejected it.
 
• Lastly the College recommended investigating the value of anti-smoking clinics.  This was within the sole competence of the Ministry of Health, who proceeded to gather the scanty information available and to encourage health authorities to start some trials.
 
Hailsham’s committee reported to the Cabinet in July 1962.  A Board of Trade official later recorded gladly that ‘with the exception of Lord Hailsham, Ministers, and especially the P.M., were pretty firmly agreed that they were not anxious to stick their fingers into this very difficult pie save to the limited extent of giving the “all clear” for the health and education campaign’.  With such scanty results Hailsham had to concede there was no basis for the parliamentary statement he had planned.
 
The immediate fruits of the College report were therefore confined to a £50,000 publicity campaign and the beginnings of cessation clinics. But the report had started a number of hares.  One was the first voluntary code on advertising, prepared - in words recognisable today - by the Independent Television Authority.  Hailsham promptly persuaded the companies to apply it in all their advertising, and the Advertising Standards Authority, then just formed, was commissioned to administer it.  Work on cessation gradually spread and expertise accumulated.  When the US Surgeon-General’s report was published in 1964, the committee of officials resumed its work, forcing fresh consideration of all the rejected proposals.  The idea of tobacco control was becoming familiar and less easy to dismiss.  Random amateurism born of ignorance was yielding to a professional approach, and when Labour took power in 1964, Kenneth Robinson as health minister quickly won agreement to a ban on television cigarette advertising. 
 
The prevailing inertia, however, was not fully overcome, and seven years later the Royal College of Physicians was driven to produce its second report and to encourage the formation of Action on Smoking and Health as a ‘ginger group’ to put pressure on the government.  Nevertheless, we can look back on the original report as a turning point.  It did more than all the Government’s previous efforts over twelve years to educate the public about the dangers of smoking.  It introduced the idea of a comprehensive programme of tobacco control.  And it forced acceptance in Whitehall that there was a need for real action on smoking, rather than merely the appearance of action.”

In 1970 the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) presented a report to the 23rd World Health Assembly on "The limitation of smoking". The paper was prepared by Professor Charles Fletcher of the Hammersmith Hospital, and Dr Daniel Horn.  It called for an end to cigarette advertising and promotion, among other recommendations.  As a result, the WHO Assembly banned smoking at meetings and affirmed the health hazards in strong terms.
 
See Dictionary of National Biography
Last Modified 2 Jun 2007Created 6 Jan 2019 using Reunion for Macintosh