News Releases
Poll: 18-year-olds SHOULD be allowed to buy tobacco

A new poll for Forest has found that almost two thirds (64%) of adults in Britain say that when people are 18 and legally an adult they should be allowed to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The survey, conducted by Yonder Consulting, found that 64% of respondents think that if a person can vote, drive a car, join the army, buy alcohol, and possess a credit card at 18, they should also be allowed to purchase tobacco.

Only a quarter (26%) said they should not be allowed to purchase tobacco products when they are legally an adult at 18, while 10% said ‘don’t know’.

The poll comes as the government is expected to publish plans to phase out the sale of tobacco products ahead of a bill in February.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said:

“As soon as you are legally an adult you should be treated like one and allowed to buy tobacco, if that’s your choice.

“We can’t have a two-tier society in which some adults are permitted to buy tobacco and others are denied the same opportunity.”

Urging Downing Street to step back from the policy, he added:

“Law-abiding retailers will have the difficult job of enforcing this absurd policy that also drives a stake into the heart of traditional Conservative values such as freedom of choice and personal responsibility.”

The government is also expected to announce plans to ban the sale of single use or disposable vapes and restrict the flavours available to consumers to reduce the appeal of e-cigarettes to children.

According to Clark:

“Vaping has been a free market success story. Millions of smokers who want to quit have done so by switching voluntarily to e-cigarettes and other reduced risk products.

“The convenience of single use vapes has played an important part in that process.

“The issue of children vaping should be addressed not by imposing further restrictions on vapes but by enforcing existing age restrictions and punishing retailers who sell vapes illegally to children.”

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