No Smoking Day is one of the UK’s biggest health awareness campaigns that provides a supportive environment to quit smoking and 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 cigarettes for good by making a pledge on No Smoking Day which takes place on Wednesday 13 March.
Stopping smoking for 28 days means you are five times more likely to stop for good and last year thousands of people successfully quit. 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 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 by educating the public and by 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, and 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 and severely impacts genuine businesses by undercutting them. It is also linked to organised crime and contributes 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 or fearing harm to themselves or their families.
To date the programme has taken more than 4 million illegal cigarettes and over 1 tonne of illegal hand rolling tobacco off the streets. With more inspections planned in West Yorkshire over the coming weeks these figures are likely to increase.
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, 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 recognize 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 Jo Hepworth, 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 illegal tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 and the dedicated team at West Yorkshire Trading Standards will carry out an inspection.
More information about the campaign can be found on the NHS website and anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at