Rise in use of illegal tobacco in Blackburn
8:00am Sunday 18th August 2013 in News
A SURVEY has revealed a rise in the number of young people smoking illicit cigarettes in Blackburn.
Around 31 per cent of teenagers aged 14 to 17 admitted buying fake cigarettes in the survey by Trading Standards North West.
More than 3,500 children across the north west were quizzed in the survey, which also revealed an overall 22 per cent reduction in smoking.
Fernhurst councillor John Slater said the Blackburn figures were disappointing.
He said: "Historically it’s not been more of an issue in Blackburn than anywhere else so the figure this year is a surprise.
“As the opposition councillor on this issue, I find it disappointing and hope it can be tackled effectively.”
The majority of the figures showed a ‘positive direction’ with a drop in the number of young people who bought potentially smuggled cigarettes with foreign packaging down from 53 per cent in 2011 to 38 per cent in 2013 across Lancashire.
Sales from other sellers such as neighbours, car boots and ice-cream vans was also down from 38 per cent in 2011 to 30 per cent this year.
Andrea Crossfield, Director of Tobacco Free Futures, said: "During the school holidays, children will be out and about with friends and we need to ensure illegal tobacco sellers aren’t able to turn this into a business opportunity.
“There’s also likely to be more duty free tobacco in circulation and we need to ensure children don’t end up as the customers. All smoking kills but illegal tobacco is an easy source of tobacco to get children hooked on an addiction that kills half of all smokers. We need continued pressure on the sellers to stop them getting kids hooked and destroying people's health.”
Pete Astley, MBE, strategic lead for illicit tobacco, Trading Standards North West said: “Success in fighting the illicit trade in the region has been due to an effective and regularly updated joint strategy between Trading Standards North West, HMRC and partners to tackle the trade. We need to keep this pressure up so illegal tobacco use drops even further."
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