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Campaigners urge MPs to reject generational smoking ban

Smokers’ rights campaigners have urged MPs to reject the Government’s plan to ban the sale of tobacco to future generations of adults in the UK.

In a letter sent to MPs ahead of the second reading of the Tobacco and Vapes Bill on Tuesday (April 16), Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, said:

“Given all the problems facing the country, at home and abroad, it beggars belief that the prime minister has chosen to prioritise raising the age of sale of tobacco.

“We are told the policy will protect children, but how? The display of tobacco in shops is prohibited, cigarettes are sold in plain packaging with graphic health warnings, and the legal age of sale of tobacco is currently 18 when you are legally an adult.

“The proper response to the ever decreasing number of children who smoke is not to ban the sale of tobacco to adults but to crack down on those who illegally sell tobacco to anyone under 18.”
He added:

“MPs need to think very carefully about the unintended consequences of raising the legal age of sale of tobacco.

“Denying future generations of adults the right to legally purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products won’t stop those who want to smoke.

“Creeping prohibition will simply drive the sale of tobacco underground and into the hands of criminal gangs and illicit traders.”

Citing a recent poll, he added:

“Almost two-thirds (64%) of the public believe that if people are allowed to drive a car, join the army, possess a credit card, purchase alcohol, and vote at 18, they should also be allowed to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products.”

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