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Redbridge Council joins campaign to give illegal tobacco the boot

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 July 2019

Redbridge Council is joining a London-wide campaign to end the illegal tobacco trade. Picture: PA Images

Redbridge Council is joining a London-wide campaign to end the illegal tobacco trade. Picture: PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Redbridge Council is taking part in a London-wide campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cheap and illegal tobacco, and wants to encourage members of the public to report premises and individuals that sell it.

As part of the Stamp It Out campaign, the council's trading standards and public health teams will be joining up to talk to residents at this year's Disability Awareness Day Festival.

They will be hosting a stand at the event on Wednesday, July 17 - in Christchurch Green, Wanstead - and will be joined by Wagtail UK tobacco detection dogs who will demonstrate how the dogs can detect hidden cigarettes.

As well as encouraging residents to report the sale of cheap and illegal tobacco, they will also provide information on how to spot illegal cigarettes, the impact on health and the criminal activity it breeds in the borough.

Experts have warned that criminals are reaping in more than £100million each year from London's trade in illegal tobacco, and undermining efforts to support smokers to quit.

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Councillor Bob Littlewood, cabinet member for crime, safety and community cohesion, said: "We are fully behind this campaign as it's really important to raise awareness among residents of the dangers of illegal tobacco.

"By empowering people with information and advice we can work together as a community to boot this illegal trade out of Redbridge."

Festival-goers will be able to visit the stand from 12-4.30pm.

Council leader Councillor Jas Athwal said: "The threat of illegal tobacco should not be underestimated. Illegal tobacco brings crime into Redbridge and makes it easier for young people to start smoking. It also undermines people's efforts to improve their health by giving up smoking.

"We are continuing to fight against the sale and distribution of these dangerous products, with our trading standards and public health teams leading clamp downs and raising awareness among our communities."

The council's new stop smoking service, Everyone Health Redbridge, will also be at the festival to provide free advice.

Tell-tale signs of illegal tobacco include packets with foreign language health warnings, no pictures or old-style health warnings, being much cheaper than normal cigarettes and branded instead of plain packaging.

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