People in Swindon are being asked to get behind a campaign which aims to tackle illegal tobacco.
Trading Standards officers from Swindon Borough Council, health ambassadors and the police will join members of Smokefree South West on Monday (11 March) and Tuesday (12 March) as part of a regional crackdown on 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.
There will also be the opportunity to pass on any illegal tobacco intelligence in the strictest of confidence.
The stand will be in Canal Walk on Monday and Tuesday between 10am and 4pm.
3 in 10 smoking illegal tobacco
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.
Illegal tobacco brings criminals into local communities and into contact with children. As well as being unregulated, illegal tobacco is often bought at ‘pocket money prices’, selling 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% of people believe that illegal tobacco poses a real danger to children and 8 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.
Pledge your support
Phil Thomas, Swindon Borough 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 sale of illegal tobacco is a criminal offence. 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 Crimestoppers, also anonymously, on 0800 555 111. Alternatively, visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org. They cannot trace your call and will never ask for your name.
To pledge your support for the campaign or for more information on illegal tobacco go to www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk