Herefordshire Council warns of the harmful effects of illegal tobacco

This ‘Stoptober’ Herefordshire Council is warning residents against smoking illegal tobacco due to its harmful effects on the body.

Illegal tobacco products include, cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco, shisha or other tobacco goods that are counterfeit or have been smuggled or bootlegged into the UK.

Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making it even easier for them to get hooked on smoking. The people making money out of this are usually linked to criminal gangs, so they do not care who they sell to. Also, these illegal tobacco products do not display the health warnings required by UK legislation, so do not alert the customer to the serious health risks associated with them.

Director of Public Health Karen Wright said: “One in two long term smokers will die from their addiction.

“National figures indicate that fewer people than ever are now smoking, however illegal cigarettes are often responsible for encouraging children to take up smoking, as they are normally sold at pocket money prices from people who are willing to sell the underage market.

“We are concerned that young and vulnerable people may visit private addresses to buy cigarettes. This puts them into risky situations with people who might also be selling alcohol and drugs.

“Every cigarette you smoke harms your health, our best advice is not to start smoking, but if are already a smoker, quitting improves your health.

“For those looking to quit smoking, this month has seen the launch of the ‘Stoptober’ campaign led by the NHS.  The campaign offers a great range of free support direct to your phone, tablet or laptop via the app, daily support via e-mail or facebook Messenger, face to face support and plenty of helpful online advice and information.” 

For more information about Stoptober visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober 

For local support to help you quit smoking, visit WISH Herefordshire’s online wellbeing information and signposting service, at www.wisherefordshire.org/stopsmoking

Besides the negative health effects, the sale of illegal tobacco severely damages honest local businesses, is often linked to organised crime and other serious criminal activity and is estimated to cost the tax payer £2 billion nationally.

People can help to keep illegal tobacco off the streets by reporting it.  If you have information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco within Herefordshire contact Trading Standards on 01432 261761.

Published: Wednesday, 9th October 2019