Illegal cigarettes and tobacco

Illegal cigarettes and tobacco can be dangerous to your health and cost reputable businesses and the economy millions of pounds. Illegal tobacco can be counterfeit or non duty paid. To report illegal cigarette dealing please call Andy Jackson, Illicit Tobacco Enforcement Officer on 01925 442662. Alternatively you can report any information to Crimestoppers.

Cancer Research UK estimates that illegal tobacco kills four times more people than smuggled illegal drugs. Illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking. It is also linked to organised crime and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

The facts

  • Smokers in poorer communities use illicit tobacco at a much higher rate
  • Young people are more likely to buy illicit tobacco
  • One in every six cigarettes smoked is illicit
  • The criminal world sees illicit tobacco as an easy source of income and uses the huge profits to support drug, weapons and alcohol trafficking.

What's being done? 

The North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme aims to reduce the demand for illicit tobacco by supporting the Department of Health's National Tobacco Strategy by:

  • Reducing the supply of the various types of illicit tobacco
  • Helping smokers to stop
  • Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Supporting national education and media campaigns
  • Enforcing tobacco regulations

Agencies involved in its development include regional public health and trading standards groups (including Warrington Trading Standards), HM Revenue and Customs and other local authorities.