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45% of Smokers in Wales Offered Illegal Tobacco
A new report by ASH Wales has found that 45% of smokers have been offered illegal tobacco products. In a survey of 2,500 people across all 22 Welsh local authorities, a quarter of smokers admitted to purchasing illegal tobacco, with 60% of them buying products at least once a month.
Speaking on BBC Wales, the charity’s chief executive Elen de Lacy admitted that the results showed a worrying trend. “We know we have very high smoking rates amongst young children, and if young people can access illegal tobacco at 12, 13, 14 years old at that price it makes it very easy for them to start smoking.” The average price of 20 illegal cigarettes was found to be £4, nearly half the recommended retail price of legal products.
Estimates put the value of the trade at millions of pounds; earlier this year trading standards officers in Newport seized illegal tobacco worth more than £500,00 in a single raid. Some illegal products have also been found to contain high levels of contaminants, including animal droppings.
The Welsh government has already promised an extra £7,000 to councils for sniffer dogs to help combat the problem. The report was be launched on September 17 at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff ahead of the ASH Wales 2014 Conference that will look at tackling health inequalities through tobacco control.
You can download a copy of ‘Illegal Tobacco in Wales: the problem’ here