Campaign to get illegal tabacco off the shelves

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Health and council chiefs have backed a campaign to get illegal tobacco products off the shelves.

The campaign, which is part of World No Tobacco Day, focuses on eliminating banned tobacco and cigarettes which health experts say are a “major global concern”.

Leeds City Council and the district’s NHS organisations have joined the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) campaign.

Paul Lambert, tobacco expert at the council, said: “One in every 10 cigarettes, and many other tobacco products, consumed worldwide are illegal, making the illicit trade of tobacco products a major global concern.

“It has an impact on communities’ health, legal, economic, governance and corruption.

“The tobacco industry and criminal groups are among those who profit from the illegal tobacco trade, leaving the public to pay the health and security costs.”

Cigarettes sold illegally account for nearly 10 per cent of the total European market for the trade, according to the WHO.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, chairwoman of Leeds’ health and wellbeing board, said: “We’ve made good progress in recent decades, almost halving tobacco use.

“Now we want to inspire a smoke free generation.

“Because the most deprived areas in our city have smoking rates almost twice the average we know we have lots more to do.”

To report illegal tobacco anonymously call CrimeStoppers on 0800555111 or to make a complaint to Trading Standards visit