CHILDREN are being offered more illegal tobacco than three years ago.
A new push to stop the children of Trafford from smoking attempts to tackle “under the counter” sales of illegal tobacco in stores and encourages residents to report any suspicious items.
Trafford Council teams want to get the products off the streets because more 14 to 15-year-old smokers say they were offered illegal tobacco by strangers in 2021 than in 2018.
The risks to which children are exposed, in addition to the health problems associated with smoking itself, are of concern to the council.
New figures show that while fewer adult smokers now buy illegal tobacco (20% in 2018 vs. 16% in 2021), more 14-15 year old smokers say they have been offered illegal tobacco (up from 10% in 2021). 2018 to 25% in 2021).
The figures come from a new survey by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership which tracked the size and scale of the illegal tobacco market after the introduction of its Making Smoking History strategy in 2018.
The latest data from the Greater Manchester Illicit Tobacco Survey coincides with the Keep It Out campaign in Greater Manchester in collaboration with local authority business standards and enforcement partners including police, border forces and law enforcement agencies. customs.
The Keep It Out campaign aims to reduce the supply of and demand for illegal tobacco, highlight the true cost of these “cheap” products and encourage people to report any sales they encounter.
Illegal tobacco is linked to organized crime, drugs, trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable people. It also allows underage children to start smoking.
Smoking kills one in two people who do.
Between April 2020 and March 2021, there were ten reports of illegal tobacco sales in Trafford, resulting in raids, shops being ordered to close and huge fines for businesses.
Over 8,000 illegal cigarettes were seized by trade standards officers across the borough during the same period.
The illicit tobacco market has shrunk considerably over the past decade.
Government data shows that the estimated number of illegal cigarettes consumed has halved, from 5 billion in 2010 to 2.5 billion in 2019.
But illegal tobacco remains a problem with its potential to make children and young people addicted and potentially connect them with a wider criminal world.
Cllr Jane Slater, Executive Member of the Trafford Health Council, said: “We are committed to eliminating illegal tobacco in Trafford, but we need the public’s help to identify criminals endangering the health of our people. communities.
“People might think that illegal tobacco is a victimless crime, but buying it means funding the organized crime groups who bring it into the country and who are also linked to drug and human trafficking. These people benefit from the continued dependence of smokers and allow children to start smoking.
“The information provided by residents and businesses allows our business standards team working with local police to investigate and take enforcement action against those who sell illegal tobacco, so we encourage people to use the information.” Keep it Out contact to report it to us confidentially. ”
Andrea Crossfield, responsible for the history of smoking at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Services Partnership, said: “The crackdown on illegal tobacco is part of Greater Manchester’s broader efforts to reduce smoking rates and write l history of smoking for future generations. While it is encouraging to see fewer adults trying and purchasing illegal tobacco, it is disturbing to see so many young people being offered it.
“All tobacco kills, but the people who sell illegal tobacco sell it to children, making them addictive to death, and cheaper prices undermine smokers’ attempts to quit. Whether legal or illegal, all tobacco contains a toxic cocktail of chemicals that will kill one in two smokers in the long run.
“However, it’s not just about the impact on our health, the illegal tobacco market is fueled by organized crime groups and that’s why we are also raising awareness of the damage it is causing to our neighborhoods and encouraging them. people to report illegal sales to keep our children safe and smoke free.
You can anonymously report the sale of illegal tobacco to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting keep-it-out.co.uk.