This film is part of Free

Smoke Your Own!

Joe Margrove grows and cures tobacco for his own pleasure.

Current affairs 1975 6 mins

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Since 1944 it is legal to grow 25lbs of tobacco for one's own consumption. Del Cooper reports from Rockwell Green near Wellington and interviews Joe Margrove in his garage workshop and sees him curing the tobacco he grows for his own consumption. An allotment with 500 plants is enough to yield up to 54 kilos of tobacco but growers pay tax on their yield. Adverts in the 1970s encouraged pipe tobacco and cigar smoking but cigarette advertising was banned on UK television in 1965.

As early as the 1880s the anti-smoking lobby campaigned successfully to forbid tobacco sales to under 16s with a clause in the 1908 Children's Act. By 1950 Richard Doll and Austin Bradford Hill established the link between smoking and lung cancer by publishing research in the British Medical Journal; they went on to establish links to other cancers and cardiovascular disease which took a long time to permeate through society into government-backed public health campaigns. Rolling tobacco and cigars were not banned in advertising until 1991 and in 2005 there was an EU-wide ban on sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco firms. E-cigarettes are also coming under stricter regulation.