Campaign to target illegal tobacco trade

Trade in illegal tobacco available at ‘pocket money prices’ is the target of a county-wide campaign.

The East Sussex Tobacco Partnership is launching the campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco and target those involved in its supply.

Illegal tobacco is available in various places in the community including the workplace, private homes, pubs, markets, car boot sales and on the street.

The UK Border Agency averages more than one million counterfeit cigarette seizures per day. Low costs of production and high levels of demand make illicit cigarettes one of the world’s most illegally trafficked goods.

The distribution network is unregulated and tobacco is easily accessible to children and young people.

Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex County Council’s Acting Director of Public Health, said: “Work to protect young people is undermined by the wide availability and accessibility of illegal tobacco at pocket money prices.

“The illegal tobacco trade is not a victimless crime. Cheap, illegal tobacco makes it easier for our children to smoke and become addicted. I would urge anyone who is aware of where illegal tobacco is being sold to report this information.

“Reporting activity anonymously via Crimestoppers enables colleagues in Trading Standards to act on this intelligence, and contributes to improving the health of local people by disrupting trade.”

Anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco is being asked to contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

Information given will help the county council’s Trading Standards team target those responsible.

Earlier this year there were prosecutions following a raid on a shop in St Leonards.

The multi-agency East Sussex Tobacco Partnership aims to help people stop smoking, prevent people from starting and protect families and communities from second-hand smoke.