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Trading Standards warn counterfeit tobacco is being sold in Dorset

Many people think that buying cheap tobacco and cigarettes is a victimless crime, but is it? Trading standards are fully aware of illegal tobacco being sold in Dorset as they have already seized a lot of it. But they are sure that there is plenty more out there.

Customs offices across the world have reported seizures of large quantities of raw tobacco which can be used to make illegal tobacco. The World Customs Organisation has reported that this illegal venture is an “enduring source of funding for other illicit activities that undermine our society”.

It is young children who are most likely to be victims of illegal tobacco. In the north east of England over half of the 14-15-year-olds who smoke said they have bought illegal tobacco. More shockingly in Southampton and Portsmouth, 46% of 11-16-year-olds who have purchased tobacco have admitted to buying it from illegal sources.

Supporting illicit activity is not the only danger of buying illegal tobacco. In some packs, the content of tar is 84% more than is legally permitted and 82% more carbon dioxide than allowed.

As well as this, legal cigarettes that are sold in the UK are designed to go out if they are not being smoked. Illegal cigarettes do not. Instead of going out they will carry on burning which also makes these cigarettes a fire hazard as they do not have the correct design.

The official report illegal tobacco campaign “No ifs, No Butts” is now coming to Poole because of this growing issue. The aim of this campaign is to inform people of the real dangers of illegal cigarettes and how you can prevent its supply.

“Figures like those in North-East England bring home the real harm that illegal tobacco can cause in our communities. We know illegal tobacco is sold locally at pocket money prices. If you are buying illegal tobacco or cigarettes, you may think you are buying from someone who brings a few in from abroad duty-free, but can you be sure? Officers across the area have found that counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes on sale” said Jane Burrows, Regulatory Team Manager, Environmental Services, Borough of Poole.

To report illegal tobacco activities to Trading Standards please visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org and use their reporting form or call 0800 555 111, they are 100% anonymous and they cannot trace your call.

By Cole Logan Ricketts