A pro-smoking group based in Cork has hit out at a recent survey which shows one in five Irish people have less sympathy for people with lung cancer compared to people with other forms of cancer.
John Mallon, director of the smokers' group Forest Ireland, said the stigmatisation of smokers needs to stop.
"For years politicians and public health bodies have sought to make smokers social outcasts so it's no surprise that some people have less sympathy for people with lung cancer," he said.
"Smoking bans, plain packaging and punitive taxation are all designed to denormalise smoking and shame the consumer with the additional result that some smokers are reluctant to seek medical help.
The Irish Cancer Society also responded to the survey calling for global action to reduce stigma around lung cancer so that people are not discouraged from reporting their symptoms.
Mr Mallon said the worldwide anti-smoking rhetoric stigmatisation of a perfectly legitimate habit needed to stop.