No Smoking Day is one of the UK’s biggest health awareness campaigns, it provides a supportive environment for people to quit smoking. It also highlights the many sources of help and advice available to smokers who want to give up the habit. West Yorkshire Trading Standards is encouraging smokers to take the first step in giving up smoking for good, by making a pledge on No Smoking Day which takes place on Wednesday 9th March.
Stopping smoking for 28 days means you are five times more likely to stop for good.
Last year thousands of people successfully quit smoking with help and support. It’s clear that smoking tobacco is harmful to your health and the health of others around you, not to mention the environment and your bank balance. None of these facts are disputed, however many do still find themselves smoking regardless of the risks, as they haven’t been motivated enough, or felt that they had the right level of will-power to quit.
The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, which is funded by the five Public Health authorities in West Yorkshire, is helping people to stop tobacco use for good. Educating the public on the risks of tobacco and investigating traders who supply cheap and illicit tobacco. The programme utilises marketing campaigns and multi-agency enforcement to tackle the problems of the illicit trade.
Illegal Tobacco is often less than half the tax-paid price of legally sold tobacco.
This maintains smokers in their habit and encourages young people to start smoking. Illegal Tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people to start smoking, severely impacting genuine businesses by undercutting them. It is also linked to organised crime, contributing to an underground economy worth billions of pounds. Victims of human trafficking are often being forced to sell these illegal products in order to pay off debts they may have, or even fearing harm to themselves or their families.
To date the programme has taken more than 8 million illicit cigarettes, and more than two and half tonnes of illicit hand rolling tobacco off the streets of West Yorkshire. With more inspections planned in the coming weeks, these figures are set to increase. Training sessions with thousands of members of the public and hundreds of front line professionals have been delivered to raise awareness about the dangers and wider criminality associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.
Linda Davis, Trading Standards Manager, said “Far from being a victimless crime, the illegal trade in tobacco costs government millions each year in lost revenue, makes it easier for children to start smoking, takes advantage of cash-strapped families, and helps fund organised crime. Members of the public should recognise the adverse health, economic and social impacts of the illicit trade of tobacco products, including the linkages with human trafficking and a wide range of organised crimes.”
Councillor Les Shaw, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said “The illegal sale of tobacco in communities enables and encourages young children to buy it cheaply. It is really great that so many partners are working to tackle traders that break the law. I would like to thank members of the public for reporting illegal sales and encourage everyone to continue doing so to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in our communities. The people making money out of this do not care who they sell to.”
If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/ anonymously.
More information about the campaign can be found on the website and anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at