Residents urged to help stub out illegal tobacco sales
Posted on 27 Jun 2019
North Ayrshire Council’s Trading Standards Team has issued an appeal for information in relation to the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco products.
Typically, fake tobacco is more likely to be sold privately in people’s homes and by individuals, rather than in stores – often making it difficult for Trading Standards to stay on top of.
That’s why the team is urging the public to be their eyes and ears on the ground by reporting any suspected selling of counterfeit tobacco products.
The tell-tale signs of illicit tobacco include unusual packaging such as spelling mistakes, incorrect logos or styling, foreign or no health warnings, no picture health warnings, cheaper prices e.g. less than £5 for a pack of 20, or an unusual taste and smell.
They often pose serious health risks as there is no way of knowing what is in them. Experts say that some products have been found to contain rat droppings, dead insects, asbestos and other harmful ingredients.
In recognition of the serious dangers the fake products pose, the criminal act of selling them carries a hefty price of up to a £20,000 fine or six months in prison.
Scott McKenzie, Senior Manager for Protective Services, said: “Buying fake cigarettes and tobacco products may save you some pounds in your pocket, but the dangers these products pose really aren’t worth the risk.
“After all, you have no idea what is actually contained within them, and then inhaled into your body – you could do yourself some serious harm.
“The risks aren’t just associated with your health either, often the sale of illegal tobacco is link to much larger criminal activity. Therefore, by purchasing them, you are essentially funding the black market.
“We all have a part to play in helping to stamp this issue out. That’s why we are asking everyone to be on their guard against the selling of fake cigarettes and tobacco and to report it to us for investigation.”
To report any suspected selling of illicit cigarettes and tobacco, contact North Ayrshire’s Trading Standards team on 01294 310101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.