Campaign to raise awareness of illegal tobacco

Editor’s Note:  The following article highlights that counterfeit and other contraband cigarettes contribute to youth smoking.

From Rochdale Online (UK)

A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of illegal tobacco after research revealed its availability is making it too easy for children and young people to smoke.

The “Keep it Out” campaign, launched by Tobacco Free Futures (previously known as Smokefree North West), aims to raise awareness of illegal tobacco and the harmful effect it has on young people in the borough of Rochdale.

Fifty per cent of the tobacco bought by 14 to 15 year olds is illegal, a much higher percentage than the amount bought by adults, and research shows that 1 in 4 young smokers regularly gets offered illegal tobacco, which is also far more than adults.

Dr Jane Rossini, Director of Public Health for NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale said: “338 people died in Rochdale Borough last year (2010/11) because of smoking related diseases.

“We need to work together in our communities to stop illegal cigarettes being sold to children so that they don’t become one of these terrible statistics in the future. If you know of anyone selling illegal tobacco, please call Crimestoppers.”

Andrea Crossfield, Director of Tobacco Free Futures said: “The Keep It Out campaign is a way of letting concerned parents and community members know that they can take action and do something about this.”

Councillor Martin Burke, Cabinet member for Internal and Environmental Services at Rochdale Borough Council, added: “Illicit tobacco ruins lives, it’s as simple as that. When someone sells cigarettes cheap because they are advertised as a certain brand, but are actually counterfeit, or because the full duty and tax haven’t been paid, it all contributes to making a lethal habit that bit easier to pick up. It also makes smoking more accessible to children, which is appalling.”

Anyone with information to share about illegal tobacco is encouraged to phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit


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