ILLEGAL tobacco and the dangers to children is the focus of a seven-week campaign coming to Dorset.
It aims to increase awareness and discomfort levels about illegal tobacco, encouraging fewer people to buy it and more people to report it.
Sold at pocket-money prices, illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to smoke. It is far cheaper than legal duty paid products.
Illegal tobacco is linked to serious organised crime such as drug trafficking and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
A campaign to tackle illegal tobacco was first launched by authorities in 2011 and this is the third part of that effort.
Trading standards lead for the Dorset Tobacco Control Alliance Jane Burrows said: “Smoking rates in Weymouth, Bournemouth and Poole continue to be high in comparison to the rest of Dorset or the South West.
“We believe there is a link between high smoking rates and the availability of illegal tobacco as it is often sold at a third of the price of legal duty-paid tobacco. We urge any residents who have information about illegal tobacco to contact Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.”
The South West campaign is part of the wider Tackling Illegal Tobacco Programme which draws together all local authorities in the South West with HMRC, trading standards, police forces, Scambusters, Crimestoppers, the NHS and other key partners to tackle this issue.
For more information about illegal tobacco or to report anonymously visit www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk.