Suffolk cracks down on illegal tobacco

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A NEW CAMPAIGN has been launched to prevent children being targeted for sales of illegal tobacco.

Illegal tobacco, which comes in the form of smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco, is sold at around half the price of legal tobacco and can have a devastating effect on local communities.

Studies suggest that young people may be up to four times more price sensitive than adults, making them a particular target. Access to cut-price tobacco makes it easier for children to smoke and can bring them into contact with criminals.

According to new research, almost a third of people in Suffolk have been offered illegal tobacco and 14 per cent admit to buying it.

The month-long campaign, which started yesterday, sees Suffolk County Council working alongside Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), NHS, East of England Trading Standards Association and other local councils to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal tobacco in our area.

Colin Spence, portfolio holder for public protection said; “People don’t necessarily understand the consequences of purchasing illegal tobacco, and we want to help them understand how their actions might be impacting on their own neighbourhoods. While the cheaper price may be appealing, the consequences can be grave, especially for young people.

“It is a scary fact that illegal tobacco also goes hand in hand with the sale of drugs and alcohol, with child exploitation and money laundering. This is something we want to prevent at all costs, which is why this campaign is so important.”

The campaign is asking members of the community to:

TALK: Help stop the flow of illegal tobacco by telling friends and family about the issue

PLEDGE: To support the campaign against illegal tobacco

REPORT: To share any information about illegal tobacco in the area by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

People can find out more and pledge their support by visiting the campaign website at www.no-illegal-tobacco.co.uk.