29 November, 2019

Roadshows raise awareness of illicit tobacco

The fourth roadshow in a series of events to highlight the harm associated with the sale of illicit tobacco* will take place in Margate (Cecil Square) on Friday 29 November, 11am – 3pm.

The roadshows, led by Kent County Council’s Trading Standards team in partnership with Thanet District Council’s Community Safety Partnership**, focuses on educating people about the link illicit tobacco has with organised crime, as well as the harm illicit tobacco can cause.

The roadshow will involve trained sniffer dogs and their handlers providing a demonstration on how they search for illicit tobacco. It is just one part of an East Kent wide partnership, between various local councils and public sector agencies, to try and tackle some of the causes of health inequality in the region, including smoking, which is a key factor.

Madeline Homer, Chair of the East Kent Public Health Officer Group, said:

“There are a number of dangers associated with the sale of illegal tobacco. These include bringing organised crime into the area, and undermining our efforts to protect young people from the dangers of smoking. In addition, illicit tobacco can often contain poor-quality tobacco, plastic and human or rat faeces which amplify the existing risks of smoking.

“We are determined to tackle illicit tobacco and this project is a crucial part of raising awareness of these health dangers by providing direct advice to the public about how to spot illegal cigarette and tobacco packaging. By reducing the number of smokers we will improve health outcomes for some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Anyone with information on illegal tobacco can report it anonymously through stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or by calling 0300 999 6 999.

*Illicit tobacco is tobacco that has been smuggled into the UK. As smugglers do not pay tax, it can be much cheaper to buy. It’s also often linked to organised crime.

**including Multi-agency Task Force, Kent Fire and Rescue Services, KCC Community Wardens, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

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