So what’s going on here? One thing we were particularly interested in investigating was the role of stigma.
Tobacco denormalization is interesting, in comparison to the prevention and treatment of other substances, in that it explicitly endorses stigma rather than working to mitigate the stigma of the substance and the substance user. Smoking has come a long way from the glamorous and sophisticated image that it once conveyed.
Anti-smoking sentiment is now quite pervasive, raising debates among some scholars about the ethics of tobacco denormalization’s use of stigma as an explicit public health strategy. The stigmatization of the smoker is illustrated in studies of anti-smoking sentiment and the negative stereotypes that are now frequently attached to the smoker, such as “weak-willed”, “outcasts” and “lepers”, and abusers of public services.4, 5