CHESHIRE health chiefs have welcomed the launch of a new initiative to stamp out counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes on our streets.
The project is part of the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health blueprint. New research shows 89.80% of 473 people interviewed in Cheshire agree smuggled and fake tobacco are a danger to children.
More than 60% questioned also believe the dealers are responsible for bringing crime into the community.
Heather Grimbaldeston, Director of Public Health for Central and Eastern Cheshire Primary Care Trust said: “Because illicit tobacco is unregulated it is freely available to young people, undermining the age restriction regulations which prohibit the sale of cigarettes to under 18s.
“The younger they start the more likely they are to carry on smoking into adulthood and suffer the associated health problems.”
Kay Roberts, manager for consumer protections at Cheshire East Council said: “We are delighted to be involved in this crackdown and are working closely with health and HMRC colleagues.
“But it is also important people get involved and provide us with information on whom these dodgy dealers are and where they are trading.
“It could be your son or daughter whom they target next with their cheap cigarettes.”
Anyone with information on illegal dealers can contact the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000 or via the website www.hmrc.gov.uk. Calls are confidential and can be anonymous.