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Implying that smokers are a financial burden to society is “dishonest” and “economically illiterate” says Forest

Forest has criticised new data that allegedly shows smoking in England cost £12.5 billion in 2018.

According to an ‘online tool’ developed by the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), smoking in England cost society ‘at least £12.5bn in 2018’.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“These figures are based not on actual evidence but on estimates and calculations.

“They are deliberately manipulated to exceed the £10 billion smokers contribute to society through tobacco taxes.

“Yes, there are serious health risks associated with smoking but, in financial terms, smokers more than pay their way.

“Estimating the cost of smoking is a fool’s errand and implying that smokers are a financial burden to society is not just wrong, it’s dishonest and economically illiterate.”

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