How Forest works
Forest is not a membership organisation nor are we run by committee. We are, quite simply, a lobby group whose role is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco.
We do that by communicating with politicians and the media on a variety of tobacco-related issues including public smoking bans, tobacco displays and vending machines, tobacco duty, cross-border shopping and plain packaging. Other issues include the 'denormalisation' of smoking and threats to ban smoking in private vehicles and in outdoor areas such as parks and beaches.
Forest is widely recognised by government and other national and local authorities as the "voice of the smoker". As a result we are often invited to present our views to government bodies, either in writing or in person. In the past we have submitted reports to and appeared before the Health and Safety Commission, House of Commons Health Select Committee, Greater London Authority Investigative Committee on Smoking in Public Places, Scottish Parliament Community Care Committee and many more, including local council committees from Middlesbrough in the north east of England to Plymouth in the south west.
We have also been active internationally, making submissions to the European Commission and representing consumers at meetings convened by the EC in Brussels. In December 2010 we organised an online petition in response to an EC public consultation to revisions to the Tobacco Products Directive and in 2012, as part of our Hands Off Our Packs campaign against plain packaging of tobacco, we submitted a petition with over 250,000 signatures to the Department of Health. The following year we submitted over 50,000 letters to Downing Street in response to a further consultation on the issue.
Forest is equally well-known to journalists and broadcasters. Our spokesmen appear regularly on British radio and television and we are often quoted by national and local newspapers. In addition to news programmes, Forest spokesmen (and supporters like Antony Worrall Thompson, David Hockney and Joe Jackson) have appeared on programmes such as The One Show (BBC1), Jeremy Vine (BBC Radio 2), the Today programme, PM and You and Yours (BBC Radio 4) and many more. Our spokesmen have also appeared on LBC, TalkRadio and GB News.
Since August 2010, when we launched a satellite group in Ireland, our spokesman have also appeared on Irish TV and radio, with occasional quotes in Irish newspaper reports.
To raise awareness of specific issues Forest publishes occasional reports and other publications. Copies are distributed to journalists and politicians and made available online.
Public speaking and Forest events
Forest spokesman are available to speak at public meetings and private events including university debates. Forest director Simon Clark has addressed the Oxford Union (with Forest patron Antony Worrall Thompson), the Oxford Libertarian Society (formerly the Oxford Hayek Society), University College Dublin Debating Society. He has also been invited to speak at meetings organised by think tanks (Policy Exchange, Adam Smith Institute) and other groups.
We also organise our own events (receptions and speaker meetings) in London and at party conferences. Invited guests include politicians, political researchers, broadcasters and journalists.
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