Illegal tobacco

The illegal trade in tobacco is not a victimless criminal activity.

Cancer Research UK estimates that illegal tobacco kills four times more people than smuggled illegal drugs. Illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking. It is also linked to organised crime and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

By smoking illegal cigarettes, you could also be inhaling human waste, rat droppings and toxic chemicals.

The facts

  • Smokers in poorer communities use illicit tobacco at much higher rate
  • Young people are more likely to buy illicit tobacco
  • One in every six cigarettes smoked is illicit
  • The criminal world sees illicit tobacco as an easy source of income and uses the huge profits to support drug, weapons and alcohol trafficking

What is being done?

The North of EnglandĀ Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme aims to reduce the demand for illicit tobacco by supporting the Department of Health's National Tobacco Strategy by:

  • reducing the supply of the various types of illicit tobacco
  • helping smokers to stop
  • reducing exposure to second-hand smoke
  • supporting national education and media campaigns
  • enforcing tobacco regulations

Agencies involved in its development include regional public health and trading standards groups (including Salford Trading Standards), HM Revenue and Customs, local authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the newly-formed UK Border Agency.

To report illegal cigarette dealing please callĀ 0161 925 1097 or complete our report it form.

Rate this page