News Releases
Raising age of sale won’t stop young people smoking

Responding to a report that health officials are considering raising the age of sale of tobacco to 21, Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, said:

“If you can have sex at 16, join the army and drive a car at 17, you should be allowed to buy tobacco at 18.

“In the eyes of the law, you are an adult at 18. Treating young adults like children insults their intelligence.

“You certainly don’t have to be 21 to know that smoking is potentially harmful. It’s drummed into every child from an early age.”

He added: “Outlawing the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21 won’t stop young people smoking.

“It will simply drive tobacco underground, by-passing legitimate retailers and enriching criminals who won’t stop to ask for proof of age.

“Far from protecting younger consumers it will expose many more to illicit and counterfeit tobacco, origin unknown.

“For some it may even make smoking cool again.”

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