Leeds – Following recent campaigns from Leeds City Council and local NHS organisations aimed at reducing smoking, experts in the city are backing World No Tobacco Day on 31 May 2015.
This year the day focuses on eliminating the illicit trade in tobacco products. The World Health Organisation estimate Europe can benefit significantly from a reduction in the illicit trade in cigarettes which is estimated to account for 6–10% of the total market in the European Region.
Leeds City Council tobacco control expert Paul Lambert said:
“One in every 10 cigarettes, and many other tobacco products, consumed worldwide are illegal, making the illicit trade of tobacco products a major global concern. It has an impact on communities’ health, legal, economic, governance and corruption.
“The tobacco industry and criminal groups are among those who profit from the illegal tobacco trade, leaving the public to pay the health and security costs. We want to help people stop smoking, and more importantly never start. That why we have campaigns like Take 7 Steps Out, as well as encouraging people to use the Stop Smoking Services in the city, which can significantly increase success in stubbing smoking habits out.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“We’ve made good progress in recent decades, almost halving tobacco use. Now we want to inspire a smoke free generation. Because the most deprived areas in our city have smoking rates almost twice the average we know we have lots more to do.
“Smoking kills half those who do it and illegal trade robs the health service of funds as well as funding crime. This means we cannot rest as we tackle tobacco use – legal and illegal.”
Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, David Lodge, said:
“Illicit tobacco undercuts efforts to reduce the harm tobacco does across our communities. Because illicit tobacco is cheaper it enables children to start smoking due to its affordability and being sold by unscrupulous dealers. We work in a multi-agency work in Leeds and across West Yorkshire to tackle traders in illicit tobacco and all complaints and intelligence received will be followed up.”
Suspicions about illegal tobacco can be reported to Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111 www.crimestoppers-uk.org Consumer complaints can be made by contacting Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or on the trading standards website http://www.ts.wyjs.org.uk/