Denormalisation

Denormalisation of smoking and smokers in Ireland

Itmac fully supports the rights of adults who have made the informed choice to smoke. We believe that smokers and non-smokers can and should co-exist in an inclusive environment that acknowledges and accepts individual choices and the right to take part in a legal activity.

We do not agree with any policy approach aimed at targeting smokers just because they smoke.  Smokers constitute nearly a quarter of the population and represent a large part of the electorate. For this reason, Itmac objects to them being marginalised by society simply because they are smokers.

Itmac views on proposed denormalising legislation

Itmac will always consider legislation which is evidence-based and is proven to effectively reduce smoking consumption. We do not, however, accept moral-based policies aimed at denormalising what is a legal activity. Adult smokers are aware of the associated health risks and make informed decisions to smoke.

For example, Itmac does not accept the proposal from the Irish Government to enact a vending ban. Vending sales are age-verified as are those in retail shops and research is available to demonstrate that the level of compliance is almost 100%.

Itmac believes that regulation is not always the answer. Education and information campaigns can also play a part as we have seen in other sectors and in other countries.

Recommendations

  • Itmac believes the rights of adult consumers who make an informed choice to smoke a legal product should be protected
  • Itmac would welcome a more inclusive policy-making process on tobacco to include both smokers and the industry.
  • As responsible businesses manufacturing legal products for existing adult tobacco consumers, we request fair, proportionate and evidence-based policy
  • Smokers are adults and public representatives should represent their rights as well as those of non-smokers
  • Itmac is proud to support Forest who speak on behalf of adult smokers

1 Healthy Ireland 2016 Report states a 23% smoking incidence
2 2016 research conducted by Tobaccoland