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No Smoking Day 2021: Claim that smokers are happier if they quit “laughably simplistic” says Forest

The suggestion that smokers who quit for six weeks or more are “happier than those who carry on smoking” has been dismissed by a smokers’ lobby group as “laughably simplistic”.

Responding to a claim by the anti-smoking group ASH on the eve of No Smoking Day 2021, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ lobby group Forest, said:

“Adults smoke for many different reasons. Some smoke because they want to relieve stress caused by work or other factors in their lives. Others smoke for no other reason than they enjoy it.

“To argue that smokers who quit are happier than those who carry on smoking is laughably simplistic because it completely ignores many of the underlying issues that may have driven people to smoke in the first place.

“Research suggests that the vast majority of confirmed smokers, over 90 per cent, smoke because they get pleasure from it and a smoking break is something they look forward to.

“If smokers are unhappy it’s probably because anti-smoking groups are determined to denormalise them and their habit and make them feel guilty for smoking.

“The worst thing governments can do is coerce people to quit yet that is exactly what many anti-smoking policies are designed to do.

“Smokers have got to want to stop. Forcing them to quit is not going to make them happier because many will resent it.”

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