Media Centre
Who's who

The following are the people who have most often been quoted in the smoking debate over the last 20 years. 

Simon Clark  director, Forest

Simon Clark, a non-smoker, joined Forest in 1999. Prior to that he worked in public relations, political and media research, magazine publishing and event management. As director of Forest he has been a prominent opponent of the smoking ban, plain packaging and more. For his latest views visit his Taking Liberties blog in which he comments on all the latest smoking-related news.

Antony Worrall Thompson  patron, Forest

Celebrity restaurateur and TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson has been associated with Forest for over 20 years. During that time he has opposed excessive anti-smoking policies on numerous occasions including appearances on BBC Breakfast, Sky News, BBC Radio Five Live, Channel 4 News and BBC2’s The Money Programme. Prior to the smoking ban he hosted Forest events at The Groucho Club and The Savoy Hotel and even when he’s going through a no-smoking phase (he’s always trying to quit and usually fails!) he’s a committed supporter of smokers’ rights. In 2021 he was a guest on The Smoking Room, a series of virtual meetings hosted by Forest during the pandemic.

Updated January 2022

Joe Jackson  writer and musician

For 20 years singer songwriter Joe Jackson lived in New York. Then came the NY smoking ban which inspired a protest song, ‘In 20-0-3’. Browsing the internet he discovered Forest which he described as a “ray of light in the gathering darkness”. The Grammy award-winning musician then quit America, returned to Britain, joined Forest’s Supporters Council, wrote a thought-provoking article for the Daily Telegraph and subsequently appeared on numerous TV and radio programmes including Radio 4’s Today programme, raging against the smoking ban that was eventually introduced in England in 2007. Never more than a social smoker, Joe subsequently moved to Berlin, far from the UK’s smoke police, but we are still in touch and he continues to support the cause.

David Hockney  artist

One of Britain’s most influential post-war artists, David Hockney first attended a private Forest dinner in 2004 and declared it to be a “life enhancing experience”. We subsequently joined forces and took the 2005 Labour party conference by storm. David later attended the 2006 Forest Annual Awards at The Groucho Club, a summer party at Boisdale of Belgravia, and a Forest reception at the Houses of Parliament hosted by Sir Greg Knight MP. David has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows denouncing those “dreary” politicians who want to stop people smoking in public and in 2021 wrote an article for UnHerd entitled ‘Britain needs a cigarette‘.

Updated January 2022

Tobacco control industry

Deborah Arnott  director, ASH

A former TV producer, Deborah Arnott has been director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) since 2003. Her predecessor Clive Bates – now a leading vaping advocate – was a hard act to follow but ice cold Debs has surpassed even Clive’s anti-smoking achievements. Indeed, if you believe Deborah, the smoking ban – the introduction of which she once described as a ‘confidence trick’ – wouldn’t have happened without ASH.

Martin Dockrell  campaigns manager, ASH

Martin Dockrell has almost 25 years’ experience of health campaigning including five years with Asthma UK. “ASH,” he trilled, when he joined five years ago, “is a fearless and feisty campaigning organisation and represents the best traditions of voluntary sector health action.” Some might call Dockrell “feisty”. Yeah, right. We think he’s a pain in the neck.

Amanda Sandford  research manager, ASH

Professional do-gooder Amanda Sandford has outlasted at least four directors and may outlive Deborah Arnott as well. Amanda’s goal is a society where people can smoke but only at home (and not while she’s there). If you light up in her presence, expect a coughing fit and frantic hand gestures as she tries desperately to disperse all those (allegedly dangerous) particles.

Paul Hooper  ASH West Midlands

Still one of our favourite anti-smoking activists, Hooperman has represented ASH, Smoke Free Birmingham and Smoke Free Warwickshire and is currently regional tobacco policy manager, South Warwickshire Primary Care Trust. Referring to the fact that he was about to have dinner with a smoker, he famously told the Kenilworth Weekly News, “He’ll probably light up at the table. And it won’t bother me in the slightest.” Good man!

Cecilia Farren  ASH South West and GASP

Ghastly woman. Nuff said.

Stanton Glantz Co-founder of Americans for Non-Smokers Rights

Crazy name, crazy guy. Co-founder of Americans for Non-Smokers Rights and founder of Smoke Free Movies, Stanton Glantz’s intolerance of smoking is legendary. A frequent visitor to these shores, in 2001 he was one of the first people to recommend a ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants in Britain. Thanks, Stan. The same year he welcomed a Los Angeles council plan to ban smoking in public parks as the “next logical step”. Still going strong.

Other pro-choice commentators

Chris Snowdon   Institute of Economic Affairs

An ex-smoker who quit smoking and switched to vaping, the head of the IEA’s Lifestyle Economics Unit is a frequent commentator on issues relating to nicotine, alcohol and obesity. Unlike most vaping advocates, however, he doesn’t discriminate when it comes to consumer choice, recently writing: ‘I don’t think the government should have a target for smoking prevalence at all. If people enjoy smoking and don’t want to quit, then they should be left alone. They are adults and this is supposed to be a free society.’ We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Simon Richards  The Freedom Association

Who would have thought it? Ten years ago The Freedom Association was a microcosm of the Conservative party, harbouring the odd libertarian but deeply paternalistic and obsessed with the EU, Gibraltar and the monarchy. Now, thanks to director Simon Richards, the organisation has rebranded itself. It’s still obsessed with the EU but it’s also a fully fledged member of the libertarian movement and fiercely opposed to excessive regulations such as display bans and attacks on product branding.


In This Section

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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