News Releases
Campaigners condemn “creeping” prohibition” of tobacco

Forest has condemned a proposal to raise the age of sale of tobacco as “creeping prohibition”.

The idea to increase the age of sale from 18 by one year every year ‘until no one can buy a tobacco product in this country’ is one of several recommendations by Javed Khan, former CEO of Barnado’s, who was commissioned by health secretary Sajid Javid to conduct an independent review into tobacco control.

Other proposals include increased investment in ‘smokefree 2030 policies’ paid for by imposing an additional tax on tobacco companies, and promoting vaping as a quit smoking tool.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said:

“Creeping prohibition won’t stop young adults smoking. It will simply drive the sale of tobacco underground and consumers will buy cigarettes on the black market where no-one pays tax and products are completely unregulated.

“A tobacco levy won’t hurt the tobacco companies because it will be passed on to the consumer, disproportionately affecting those from poorer backgrounds.

“Encouraging smokers to switch to reduced risk products such as e-cigarettes is sensible as long as it is voluntary and based on educating consumers about the relative risks of different nicotine products.”

He added:

“Ultimately this is about freedom of choice and personal responsibility and ministers must think very carefully before they adopt prohibition and coercion as tools to achieve their smoke-free goal.”

Simon Clark

Mission & Vision



Forest’s mission is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco.


Our key aims and objectives are to:

  • counteract the “denormalisation” of smoking, and smokers
  • prevent further restrictions on the purchase and consumption of tobacco
  • establish closer links with other tobacco-friendly groups at home and abroad
  • build support among consumers of tobacco and other similarly threatened groups
  • highlight the increasingly intrusive nature of Big Government in the lives of private individuals