A champion of smokers’ rights in Ireland has begun a two-week tour of the country.
John Mallon, spokesman for the smokers’ group Forest Eireann, will visit pubs and bars in Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Ballyhaunis, Westport, Letterkenny and Dublin.
He will speak to publicans and consumers, inviting smokers to have their say on issues such as the public smoking ban, graphic health warnings and smoking in cars.
He will also distribute copies of Forest Eireann’s ‘Smokers’ Manifesto’ which calls on the Government to “treat one million adults with the respect they deserve”.
Calling for greater tolerance and common sense on the issue of smoking, Mallon said:
“I represent the rights of adults who make an informed choice to smoke tobacco in full knowledge of the health risks associated with this legal product.
“I respect the rights of non-smokers but I do not believe that it is necessary nor desirable to deny smokers their own rights. We seek compromise and accommodation for all tastes and opinions, not denormalisation, social exclusion and different treatment for a substantial minority of the population.
“While the smoking ban has been claimed as a success, it has forced the closure of over 1,000 pubs with all of the job losses that entails. The number of smokers has risen from 23.5% of the population to 29%. Also, the artificial inflation of tobacco pricing has given criminal elements a huge profit motive for their activities, something we regret on many grounds.
“Given that smokers contribute an extra £1.5Bn a year above and beyond all the other taxes they pay, we are asking the Government to look at the regulations that currently insist that a perfectly legal smoking room must be open to the elements and is therefore cold, wet and draughty in our climate. There is no medical, moral nor economic reason why this should be so.”
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John Mallon’s tour schedule – 12-26 October 2011:
Wednesday 12th October – Cork
Thursday 13th October – Waterford
Friday 14th October – Kilkenny
Monday 17th October – Tralee, Co Kerry
Tuesday 18th October – Limerick
Wednesday 19th October – Galway
Thursday 20th Oct October – Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo
Friday 21st Oct October – Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Tuesday 25th October – Dublin
Wednesday 26th October – Dublin
John is available for interview throughout the tour. Telephone 085 219 3245.