At least 22 London boroughs participated in this year’s London Illegal Tobacco Campaign.
Following the success of the 2017 campaign council’s across the capital sought to raise awareness about the harm caused by illegal tobacco and encourage members of the public to report anyone selling it.
The Campaign links into the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy and is being supported by London Councils, London Trading Standards, Public Health England and the London Association of Directors of Public Health.
As a result of intelligence received during the 2017 campaign, trading standards enforcement raids took place across 11 London boroughs and more than 21,000 illegal tobacco products were seized.
Research has shown that illegal tobacco is a continuing issue in London. This is why London boroughs and several pan London organisations joined together to run the co-ordinated campaign.
- A third of smokers were offered illegal tobacco in the last year
- Availability undermines stop smoking services and makes it harder for smokers to quit
- Sellers often target children getting them hooked on smoking and damaging their health
- The supply network is linked to organised criminal groups and is an enabler for other criminality such as drug dealing, money laundering and people trafficking
Awareness-raising campaign shows visited locations across London to highlight the harm caused by the sale of illegal tobacco. Specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs were showcased to help promote conversations with residents and there was information on hand on how to identify illegal tobacco and who to report it to.
|Stall (no dogs)|
|Friday 13 July 2018||Wandsworth||Wandsworth Library|
|Thursday 26 July 2018 (12pm to 3pm)||Southwark||Guys Hospital Foyer, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT|
|Tuesday 31st July
(12pm to 2.30pm)
|Brent||Brent Civic Centre Atrium,|
|BWY Canine Unit|
|Saturday 30 June 2018||Royal Borough of Greenwich||Woolwich Arsenal|
|Saturday 7 July 2018||Lewisham||Lewisham People’s Day, Mountfield Park, SE6 1AN|
|Sunday 8 July 2018||Redbridge||Opposite Waterstones, 158-160 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1LL|
|Monday 9 July 2018||Hounslow||Hounslow High Street near Holy Trinity Church|
|Tuesday 10 July 2018||Merton||Civic Centre, London Rd Morden, SM4 5DX|
|Wednesday 11 July 2018||Richmond||Civic Centre, 44 Richmond Rd, Twickenham,
|Thursday 12 July 2018||Hillingdon||Intu Uxbridge Shopping Centre, Uxbridge High Street UB8|
|Friday 13 July 2018||City of London||St. Paul's Cathedral EC4M 8AD (north-west churchyard)|
|Saturday 14 July 2018||Southwark||Rotherhithe Festival, King George Fields, SE16|
|Monday 16 July 2018||Westminster||Church Street Market, NW8 8DT|
|Tuesday 17 July 2018||Kensington and Chelsea||Portobello Market, W11 1AN|
|Wednesday 18 July 2018||Tower Hamlets||Chrisp Street Market, E14|
|Thursday 19 July 2018||Waltham Forest||Walthamstow Town Square|
|Friday 20 July 2018||Camden||Inverness Street Market, NW1 7HB (off Camden High Street)|
|Saturday 21 July 2018||Barnet||The Broadwalk Centre, Edgware HA8 7BD|
|Monday 23 July 2018||Enfield||Foundation Island, the Town, Enfield Town, EN2 6CD|
|Tuesday 24 July 2018||Barking and Dagenham||Barking Market, East Street, IG11 8GN|
|Wednesday 25 July 2018||Haringey||Hollywood Green, Vue cinema, 180 High Road, Wood Green, London N22 6EJ|
|Thursday 26 July 2018||Islington||Islington Town Hall, Upper Street N1 2UD|
|Friday 27 July 2018||Hackney||The Narrow Way, Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1JY|
|Saturday 28 July 2018||Lambeth||Windrush Square, Brixton|
|Sunday 29 July 2018||Havering||Ronea Corner Tesco, Romford RM12|
Telltale signs of illegal tobacco include:
- Packets with no picture health warnings
- Packets with foreign language health warnings
- Stock kept out of sight in retail shops and away from the regular tobacco display cabinet
- Much cheaper than normal cigarettes, for example £3.50 - £5.00 per pack of 20
- Unusual or foreign brand names, such as Jin Ling – or those from Russia and the Far East
- Availability in unusual locations, such as pubs, market stalls, ice cream or fast food vans and private homes (tab houses)
Local Trading Standards work across London to combat the supply of illegal tobacco.
It is a priority because the sale of duty evaded and counterfeit tobacco products undermines the health objectives of high taxation and labelling rules and steals business away from legitimate tobacco sellers.
There are also fire safety implications as illicit cigarettes do not comply with legal requirements designed to reduce the chances of un-attended lit cigarettes starting a fire.
National and regional levels of smoking and smoking related diseases continue to fall as a result of higher taxation, better education, support in quitting and laws limiting where people can smoke. However, across many parts of London smoking rates for routine and manual workers are consistently much higher than their general populations.
In summary cheap and readily available illegal tobacco keeps people smoking. Our work incudes:
- Receiving and sharing intelligence with partners about illegal tobacco suppliers
- Carrying out test purchasing and inspections
- Deploying specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs to find concealed products
- Working with local police and HM Revenue & Customs to seize illicit tobacco
- Enforcing labelling, fire safety and anti-counterfeiting legislation
- Carrying out educational campaigns to highlight the problems and promote reporting
Londoners can report suspicions over illegal tobacco products via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or online using the anonymous London Trading Standards reporting tool.