Trading Standards Week Day 5: Illegal Tobacco Crackdown

In the past 18 months Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has assisted in the seizure of over 50,000 illegal cigarettes discovered hidden in shops across Warwickshire.

Smoking remains one of the UK’s biggest causes of premature death, and the availability of cheap illegal tobacco is both making it easier for children to take up the habit and more difficult for smokers to quit.

Warwickshire Trading Standards Officers, working with the Police and other partner agencies across Warwickshire is targeting the sale of illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco. Trading Standards officers use local intelligence to identify shops where illegal tobacco is being sold and then utilise sniffer dogs to find any tobacco hidden on the premises.

Illegal tobacco, which is often sold at pocket money prices to young people, both threatens the livelihoods of legitimate traders and the health of young people.

Tell-tale signs of illegal tobacco include:

  • Packets with no picture health warnings
  • Cigarettes or hand rolling tobacco that is not in standardised olive green packets
  • 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 £4 – £6.00 per pack of 20
  • Unusual or foreign brand names, such as Jin Ling – or those from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Far East

Anyone with information about the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco can phone the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.

Social Media Messages

‘Buying illegal tobacco helps to fund organised crime in your area #illegaltobacco #illicittobacco @WCCPublicHealth’

‘Illegal tobacco encourages young people to start smoking #illegaltobacco #illicittobacco @WCCPublicHealth’

‘Illegal tobacco makes smoking harder to quit #illegaltobacco #illicittobacco @WCCPublicHealth’