Dorset trading standards across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset are on a mission to stub out illegal tobacco trade.
Richard Herringshaw, principal trading standards officer at Dorset County Council, said: “We know that illegal and fake cigarettes are sold in Dorset. It’s cheap and not regulated in the same way as normal tobacco is, which means it is often sold to children.”
People often buy illegal tobacco, as it provides a cheaper alternative to taxed tobacco from the shops. As well as some people thinking it helps local communities, however Cllr. Herringhsaw explains, it does the opposite by:
“…funding organised crime and drawing people into that lifestyle and culture.”
Calls are being made from Dorset trading standards for anyone who knows or sees illegal tobacco trading taking place to report it.
All tobacco products cause harm, whether bought legally or illegally, however illegal tobacco products are not subject to the usual regulations, so the contents are unknown. They could also burn quicker, which is a known cause of fire.
As well as the harmful effects of tobacco, the effects to local business is a problem too, Jay Amrit, corner shop manager said: “If people are buying tobacco illegally, which no doubt they will be if the price is a lot cheaper, then it will have a damaging effect to local business. A lot of my shop’s revenue comes from the sales of cigarettes.”