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Parents: help to keep illegal tobacco of the streets this summer

PARENTS are being urged to help keep illegal tobacco off the streets this summer, with unscrupulous dealers likely to be looking for teenage customers over the school holidays.


People who know where illegal cigarettes and tobacco are being sold are being urged to call Crimestoppers in complete anonymity.


The appeal for information comes from Fresh following work to reduce the size of the illegal tobacco market in the North East since 2009.


Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: "We know illegal tobacco sellers have no morals about selling to children. Children will be out and about with their friends during the holidays and we need to ensure illegal tobacco dealers can't turn this into a business opportunity.


"While people often used to turn a blind eye to illegal tobacco, more people are taking steps to keep it out of their street and neighbourhood as they don't want local kids to smoke.


"All tobacco kills and the people who sell it are also keeping smokers hooked on an addiction that kills half of all smokers."


Richard Ferry, of the North East Trading Standards Association, said: "Illegal tobacco is sold from some pubs, clubs, shops and private houses. Nobody wants their children to smoke, and if anyone has information about where it is being sold we will take this seriously.


"Trading standards has played a key role in helping take more illegal tobacco off the streets and reduce a source for young people to smoke."


"But it is not all about fakes - we are seizing foreign brands made only for the illicit market and also genuine cigarettes smuggled in without duty being paid.


Fresh is part of the national Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Partnership, working with local authorities, HMRC, police, trading standards and the NHS to reduce supply and demand.


Despite claims by the tobacco industry, the independent North East Illicit Tobacco Survey in 2013 shows that although it is still a problem in some areas, the illegal tobacco market in the North East has decreased in recent years, with:

• The illegal tobacco market making up 9 per cent of the overall tobacco market in the North East, compared to 15 per cent in 2009
• One in six smokers (17 per cent) buying illegal tobacco - down from one in four (24 per cent) smokers in 2009.
• The total volume of illegal tobacco bought is down 27 per cent on 2011 which was in turn down 41 per cent on 2009. That means 192 million fewer cigarettes and hand rolled a year worth around £56m in duty.


Trading standards reports that many of the illegal cigarettes being seized in the North East are brands from the Far East, mass manufactured in factories in the Balkans purely for the illegal market.


Anyone who knows where illegal tobacco is being sold can pass on information in complete anonymity by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or click on

For more information about illegal tobacco click on