London unites against illegal tobacco
Following the success of the 2017 campaign council’s will once again be seeking 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 Association of Directors of Public Health London.
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 have 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 will be visiting locations across London to highlight the harm caused by the sale of illegal tobacco. Specially trained tobacco sniffer dogs will be showcased to help promote conversations with residents and there will be information was on hand on how to identify illegal tobacco and who to report it to.
|Saturday 25 June 2018||Royal Borough of Greenwich||Great Get Together Festival|
|BWY Canine Unit|
|Saturday 7 July 2018||Lewisham||Lewisham People’s Day, Mountfield Park|
|Sunday 8 July 2018||Redbridge||TBC|
|Monday 9 July 2018||Hounslow||Hounslow High Street near Holy Trinity Church|
|Tuesday 10 July 2018||Merton||TBC|
|Wednesday 11 July 2018||Richmond||TBC|
|Thursday 12 July 2018||Hillingdon||TBC|
|Friday 13 July 2018||City of London||TBC|
|Saturday 14 July 2018||Southwark||Rotherhithe Festival, King George Fields|
|Sunday 15 July 2018||TBC|
|Monday 16 July 2018||Westminster||TBC|
|Tuesday 17 July 2018||Kensington and Chelsea||TBC|
|Wednesday 18 July 2018||Tower Hamlets||Chrisp Street Market E14|
|Thursday 19 July 2018||Waltham Forest||Walthamstow Town Square|
|Friday 20 July 2018||Camden||TBC|
|Saturday 21 July 2018||Barnet||TBC|
|Sunday 22 July 2018||TBC|
|Monday 23 July 2018||Enfield||TBC|
|Tuesday 24 July 2018||Barking and Dagenham||TBC|
|Wednesday 25 July 2018||Haringey||TBC|
|Thursday 26 July 2018||Islington||TBC|
|Friday 27 July 2018||Hackney||TBC|
|Saturday 28 July 2018||Lambeth||Windrush Square, Brixton|
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.