Camden council joins fight to stamp out illegal tobacco

Camden Council has thrown its weight behind a new campaign to stamp out illegal tobacco across the capital.

The drive, which has been launched by London Councils, London Trading Standards and health professionals across the capital, aims to improve the public’s understanding of the different types of illegal tobacco and the consequences of supporting the trade.

Camden council will hold a roadshow at Queens Crescent, Camden NW5 on Thursday 20 July from 10am to 3pm to highlight the harm caused by the sale of illegal or cheap tobacco.

Sniffer dogs will also be present at the roadshow to help start conversations with residents, during which they will be told how to identify illegal tobacco and where to report concerns.

It is estimated that criminal networks are making over £100 million a year from the trade in London, with a third of London smokers saying they were offered illegal tobacco in the last year.

The products are unregulated, untaxed and often sold under-the-counter, which means they are available at ‘pocket money prices’, making it easier for children to buy them and to start smoking from a young age.

Councillor Richard Olszewski , Camden Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care
“Illegal, cheap tobacco is available on our streets, and it makes it easier for children to start smoking. Camden residents told us that they believe cheap tobacco is harmful for our communities.

“The illegal tobacco roadshow on the 20 July will play a part in making more residents aware about the harms of illegal tobacco and how to report it. We will continue to work with our partners and take strong action to stamp out illegal tobacco in Camden. We would encourage residents who are aware of illegal tobacco to report it.” 
Councillor Richard Olszewski , Camden Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care

Steve Playle from London Trading Standards, said:

Trading Standards Officers across London are at the forefront of the battle to crack down on illegal tobacco. We work hard to advise businesses of their responsibilities but take robust action to identify those criminals who flout the law and bring them before the Courts. It is important for this work to be targeted to protect the health and well-being of Londoners and we hope that the roadshows will encourage more intelligence to be gathered.”

Telltale signs of illegal tobacco include:

  • Packets with foreign language health warnings.
  • Packets with no picture health warnings.
  • Being much cheaper than normal cigarettes (ie £3.50 - £5.00 per pack of 20).
  • Unusual or foreign brand names, such as Jin Ling – or those from Russia and the Far East.
  • Being sold in unusual locations, ie pubs, private houses, ice cream vans, burger vans.

If Camden residents see any tobacco products that match the description above or have information which may be useful, they are advised to call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or report it online at: