Residents are being warned about the dangers of illegal tobacco with the launch of a hard-hitting campaign.
Smoke Free Wrexham will be visiting communities in the county borough this week to make people aware of the problems linked to illegal tobacco and leaflets and posters are being distributed throughout local communities in a bid to create awareness.
Cheap, easily available tobacco threatens the health of our children by making it far easier for them to get a lifetime addiction. It also makes it far harder for existing smokers who are trying to give up.
Illegal tobacco is widely available in some Wrexham communities, with sellers deliberately targeting children and people on lower incomes. It may be sold from private houses, under the counter from shops, pubs, car boot sales and even in the workplace.
Earlier this year 27000 illegal cigarettes and enough hand rolling tobacco to make 10,000 roll ups, were recovered from a private house and two stores in Wrexham with an estimated street value of £7000.
Cllr David Griffiths, Lead Member for Health said: “Most people do not see cheap, illegal tobacco as a problem but it is having a devastating effect on communities throughout the country. It can cost less than half the price of normal cigarettes and is widely available in the community.
“Children are highly vulnerable and are actively targeted by sellers, putting them at much greater risk of becoming addicted. Cheap, easily available tobacco also makes it much harder for adult smokers who are trying to quit.”
“The sale of illegal tobacco has been strongly linked to both low level and large scale organised crime which means that purchasers of illegal tobacco are lining the pockets of criminals and costing UK residents £2 billion a year. This is money that could otherwise be spent on schools and hospitals.”
“Currently there is very little information being passed to enforcement agencies about illegal tobacco so it is vital that people come forward. I would urge anyone with any information to report it. People can be assured that any information they give will be strictly confidential.”
Anyone who has any information on the sale of illegal tobacco can report in confidence on 08454 040506.