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Swindon smokers urged to say no to illegal cigarettes
SHOPPERS have been urged to pledge their support to a campaign to crack down on illegal tobacco.
Trading Standards officers from Swindon Council, health ambassadors, the police and the fire service will join members of Smokefree South West today as part of a regional bid to stop the illicit trade.
As well as educating people about the dangers of illegal tobacco, the campaign is also focusing on reducing the number of people buying and being offered illegal tobacco in Swindon.
A stand promoting the illegal tobacco campaign will be positioned in Canal Walk outside the Disney Store and Trading Standards officers and other agency partners will be on hand to offer advice and to encourage shoppers to pledge their support to the campaign.
Phil Thomas, Swindon Council’s head of public protection and Streetsmart, said: “Illegal tobacco is bad for your health and the economy.
“I would encourage people to visit our stand and pledge their support to the illegal tobacco campaign so we can tackle this trade and get to the organised criminals behind it.”
The stand will be there between 10am and 4pm and there will also be the opportunity to pass on any illegal tobacco intelligence in confidence.
Recent figures show that three in 10 smokers in Swindon smoke illegal tobacco and the trade in the South West now has a retail value equivalent to £211m.
As well as being unregulated, illegal tobacco is often sold for less than half the tax-paid price of legally sold tobacco.
This attracts younger smokers and allows those who could otherwise not afford to smoke, to maintain their habit and undermine their attempts to quit.
In Swindon, 70 per cent of people believe that illegal tobacco poses a real danger to children and eight out of 10 illegal tobacco smokers agree that the reduced price of illegal tobacco products allows them to smoke when they otherwise couldn’t afford to.
Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can report it, anonymously, online to Trading Standards at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
To pledge your support for the campaign or for more information on illegal tobacco go to www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk