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UK “sleepwalking to prohibition” says Forest

The UK is “sleepwalking to prohibition” says Forest.

The smokers’ group says awareness of the ban on menthol cigarettes, to be introduced on 20th May 2020, is “minimal”.

The group believes the ban could lead to the prohibition of other products that are currently legal but are said to be attractive to young people, including sweets and sugary drinks.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “Britain is sleepwalking to prohibition.

“Policies such as the display ban and plain packaging have tried to denormalise tobacco but the product has always been available to adults who choose to smoke.

“Now we’re seeing the elimination of a product that accounts for almost 20 per cent of all cigarettes sold in the UK.”

Forest has accused the government of doing little to inform the public about the ban.

“Awareness of the ban is minimal. In twelve months over one million smokers will walk into their local store and find that a product they’ve been buying for years if not decades is no longer available.

“Some will switch to non-flavoured cigarettes, others may switch to menthol vapes and some may quit nicotine completely, but many will turn to the black market where criminals will be happy to meet the demand for illicit menthol fags.”

Forest wants the government to reverse the ban on menthol cigarettes after Britain leaves the European Union. According to Clark:

“The policy was foisted on Britain by the European Union with very little debate and almost no parliamentary scrutiny.

“Almost one in five smokers in Britain buy menthol cigarettes. Brexit is an opportunity for the UK government to restore choice and stand up for consumers.”

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