South Yorkshire councils launch campaign to tackle illegal tobaccoPublished Thursday, 29th October 2015
Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster councils have joined forces to launch a campaign to stop children and young people accessing cheap and illegal cigarettes on the black market.
As part of the campaign to crack down on the number of criminals selling bootleg and counterfeit tobacco near schools, parks and community centres, South Yorkshire councils are urging local people to report any trading of illicit tobacco taking place in their area.
As well as bringing crime into local communities, the trading of cheap, illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking. In Rotherham, 10 percent of young people under 15 smoke, in Doncaster it is 9 percent and in Sheffield it is the national average of eight percent.
Councillor David Roche, Rotherham’s Advisory Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: "It’s extremely worrying that cheap and illegal tobacco is being made available to children and young people.
"Selling illegal tobacco may seem like a victimless crime but it makes cigarettes easily accessible for children and it can often be the first step in young people taking up smoking. That is why I would urge anyone who has information about the sale of illicit tobacco to report it to the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline."
Alan Pogorzelec, Rotherham MBC Business Regulation Manager, added: "Tobacco enforcement over the past two years has resulted Rotherham’s Trading Standards team seizing significant quantities of illicit cigarettes and tobacco. Trading Standards will not hesitate to take robust enforcement action against those retailers and individuals that sell illicit tobacco in Rotherham.
"Any intelligence we can gain from local communities will help stop the trading of illegal tobacco, which is putting people at risk, particularly vulnerable young people."
As a result of a series of raids that have taken place over the over the last 18 months, Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police have seized in excess of 120,000 illegal cigarettes and 15kg of illicit tobacco from traders within Rotherham. This figure includes 80,000 cigarettes seized from a fresh food delivery vehicle that was stopped by South Yorkshire Police officers on routine patrol in the town. Trading Standards Officers confirmed that the cigarettes were counterfeit and will be assisting South Yorkshire Police in the preparation of a case against this individual.
During November, there will be a dedicated team hitting the streets of South Yorkshire to highlight the harmful impact illicit tobacco can have on communities. There will also be a bus advertising campaign running throughout the region.
To report any information relating to the trading of illegal tobacco, contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline.