Trade in illegal tobacco available at “pocket money” prices is the target of a new county-wide campaign.
The East Sussex Tobacco Partnership is launching the campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco and target those involved in its supply.
Illegal tobacco is available in various places in the community including the workplace, private homes, pubs, markets, car boot sales and on the street.
The distribution network is unregulated and tobacco is easily accessible to children and young people.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council’s acting director of public health, said, “Work to protect young people is undermined by the wide availability and accessibility of illegal tobacco at pocket money prices.
“The illegal tobacco trade is not a victimless crime.
“Cheap, illegal tobacco makes it easier for our children to smoke and become addicted. I would urge anyone who is aware of where illegal tobacco is being sold to report this information.
“Reporting activity anonymously via Crimestoppers enables colleagues in Trading Standards to act on this intelligence, and contributes to improving the health of local people by disrupting trade.”
Anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco is being asked to contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Information given will help the county council’s Trading Standards team target those responsible.
The East Sussex Tobacco Partnership is made up of a number of organisations and aims to help people stop smoking, prevent people from starting and protect families and communities from second-hand smoke.
Earlier this year illicit tobacco and alcohol was seized by HM Revenue and Customs in raids on shops in Eastbourne. Officers from HMRC, Sussex Police, Sussex Trading Standards and Immigration raided 19 convenience stores in Eastbourne, Hastings and St Leonards seizing 8,500 cigarettes, 8 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, kilos of Shisha tobacco, two kilos of cigar wrappings, wine and beer.