NHS Yorkshire and Trading Standards have joined forces to combat the trade in illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
It is estimated that 47 per cent of hand rolled tobacco and eight per cent of cigarettes are illicit, making smoking more affordable and consequently more attractive to children and young people.
The two organisations have appointed a full-time tobacco control co-ordinator who will help tackle illicit tobacco, underage sales, tobacco vending machines and deal with issues around point of sale, such as plain packaging of cigarettes and the way cigarettes are promoted.
Dennis Ager has been appointed to the job. He said:
“The government’s Tobacco Control Plan, which was published in March 2011, recognises the important role of trading standards as part of a comprehensive approach to driving down smoking rates: whether it be through enfrocing age restricted sales legislation; tackling supplies of illegal tobacco; or regulating the advertising and
promotion of tobacco products.”
A recent survey revealed that 21.2
per cent of smokers in Yorkshire and the Humber said they had bought illegal tobacco.
Paul Johnstone, director for public health at NHS North of England, said: “We know that the illegal
tobacco trade makes cigarettes more affordable for young people so anything that we can do to help dissaude young people from taking up smoking is worthwhile.
“By working with Trading Standards we will be able to monitor the illegal trade of tobacco and hopefully affect the number of people taking up the habit.”