Stoptober 2020

Thursday 1 October

Stoptober is back for 2020, with the primary aim of encouraging the nation’s smokers to make a quit attempt for the month of October and beyond. As with previous Stoptober campaigns, this year’s campaign is founded on the evidence that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit for good. Stoptober 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.

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 5 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.

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.  Campaigns such as Stoptober are a great way for people to support each other as you’ll find there are many people out there who want to quit but find it difficult.  Highlighting the health and financial benefits of quitting tobacco use as well as tackling those that undermine it by supplying cheap and illicit tobacco is a brilliant and proactive way of spreading the message. If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illegal tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000.”

If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illegal tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it at anonymously.

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

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact Babul Hussain