Next phase of cigarette war begins

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AN anti-smoking organisation has launched the next phase of its campaign to reduce the size of the illegal tobacco market.

Earlier phases showed how keen the public are to report information around sales of illegal tobacco, especially to children, and Keep it Out encourages more people to contact Crimestoppers if they know where any of it is being sold, such as in ‘tab houses’, on the streets, at work or in local pubs and shops.

The drive is the latest operation from the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme, which FRESH has led in the North East since 2009, working with HMRC, police forces, trading standards and the NHS.

Since its launch, the volume of illegal tobacco bought in the region has gone down by 39 per cent and the number of smokers buying illegal tobacco has fallen by ten per cent. This is estimated to have saved around £36million in duty and tax.

Director of FRESH Ailsa Rutter said: “All tobacco is lethal, but we’ve been keen to work with partners like HMRC to reduce the illegal tobacco market because of the impact that it has on children and young people, with sellers targeting them and making it easier for them to start to smoke and get addicted.

“This hugely concerns the public and thanks to this greater awareness, more people have been reporting it and refusing to turn a blind eye and fewer buying illegal tobacco.

“We want to keep the pressure up on those who continue to sell illegal tobacco with our Keep it Out campaign.”

Anyone who knows where illegal tobacco is being sold can pass on information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. For more information visit www.keep-it-out.co.uk