London Boroughs are launching a campaign to tackle the issue of illegal and dangerous tobacco sales in the Capital.
The campaign, supported by London Councils, London Trading Standards, Public Health England London and London Association of Directors of Public Health aims to highlight the dangers of the illegal tobacco trade and encourage members of the public to report premises and individuals that sell it.
As part of the campaign, roadshows involving sniffer dogs, Public Health and Trading Standards officers, the Fire Brigade and other partners will visit locations across London throughout July, providing information to the public about the different types of illegal tobacco and the importance of stamping out the trade.
Last year over 21,000 illegal tobacco products were seized in a series of raids across 11 London boroughs, as a result of the intelligence gathered from the roadshows. This year 23 London boroughs are participating in the campaign.
Criminal networks are estimated to be making over £100 million a year from the illegal tobacco trade in London, bringing crime into local communities and undermining efforts to support smokers to quit.
Illegal tobacco products are unregulated, untaxed and often sold under-the-counter, or as ‘singles’, which means they are available at lower prices, making it easier for children to buy them and to start smoking from a young age.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, London Councils’ Executive member for health and care, said;
“The threat of illegal tobacco should not be underestimated as it exposes young people to the dangers of smoking and undermines people’s efforts to improve their health by giving up smoking.”
“London boroughs are continuing the fight against the sale and distribution of illegal tobacco products thanks to this campaign, and we hope to build on successes of last year’s campaign by improving awareness of the consequences of supporting this trade, and helping people to recognise and report illegal tobacco when they encounter it.”
“Together we can build a healthier, safer city for our communities and stamp out illegal tobacco.”