Council turns up the heat for retailers selling illegal cigarettes
On Friday and Saturday, 7 and 8 August 2020, Southampton City Council’s Trading Standards Service conducted an illegal tobacco operation at five retail premises in Southampton. They were assisted by officers of Hampshire Constabulary and B.W.Y. Canine Ltd, who provided three tobacco detection dogs named YoYo and Maggie (pictured) and Cooper.
With the dogs' help, council officers identified and seized over 50,000 cigarettes valued at more than £30,000. The officers also seized 11 kg of hand rolling tobacco worth over £5,000.
Some of the seized products were smuggled into the country illegally, while others were completely counterfeit. These illegal tobacco products may have been made in other countries for sale in the UK, or made in the UK in illegal warehouses with no safety standards.
Cllr Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care, said:
"Counterfeit tobacco is not only illegal, but can be more hazardous to your health, as there is no control over the quality of the contents. Fake tobacco products have been found to contain dangerous chemicals, dust, excessively high tar levels and asbestos.
"It’s also never too late to quit, even if you have smoked for many years. Stopping smoking brings many health benefits and reduces your risks of developing lung disease – for tips, tools and support to stop, visit the Today is the Day website.
"Many local pharmacies also offer free support to stop smoking"
To report illicit tobacco: visit Stop Illegal Tobacco or call 0300 999 6999.
Visit the Smoke Free NHS web page to learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking and advice, or call the National Smokefree Helpline on 0300 123 1044.