Simon Clark, director of Forest, said in response to the Budget:

“Law-abiding consumers who buy their tobacco in British shops are being penalised unfairly.

“The policy also discriminates against those who can least afford it, especially the elderly and the low paid.

“Increasing tobacco duty could cost the government billions of pounds.

“The people who will benefit most are black marketeers and those who purchase their tobacco abroad.

“The chancellor said the government’s policy on tobacco will reduce smoking. It’s not the government’s role to force people to quit a legal product. That’s social engineering, which we deplore.”