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Spotlight put on illegal tobacco trade in Dorset

A campaign highlighting the trade in illegal tobacco is coming back to Dorset.

Smokefree South West, in partnership with trading standards from Bournemouth Borough Council, Borough of Poole and Dorset County Council, has launched the third part of its Tackling Illegal Tobacco campaign this week.

Running for seven weeks, the campaign aims to increase awareness and discomfort levels about illegal tobacco among the general public, encouraging fewer people to buy it and more people to report it.
 
It drives home the devastating consequences of buying illegal tobacco. Sold at pocket money prices, illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to smoke. This is because illegal tobacco is far cheaper than legal duty paid products.
 
Illegal tobacco also makes local communities attractive to criminals. Linked to serious organised crime such as drug trafficking, illegal tobacco contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
 
Jane Burrows, trading standards lead for the Dorset Tobacco Control Alliance, 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. It can also be a  big factor in recruiting young smokers as sellers of illegal tobacco are unlikely to care who they sell it to.
 
"We urge any residents who have information about illegal tobacco to contact Crimestoppers in confidence, 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.
 
The campaign was developed in November 2011 to tackle the demand for illegal tobacco in the south west.
 
Since the campaign first launched across the South West, 400,000 more people are aware of the issue and 750,000 more people say they are very uncomfortable about illegal tobacco.


This, as part of the overall programme has led to:
                 
•         60,000 fewer illegal tobacco smokers in the south west
•         A reduction in illegal tobacco volume market share – down four percentage points to 7%
•         An 87% increase in reported intelligence from the general public in the south west.