Help to Fight the Fakes

I quit smoking years ago and would encourage residents to do the same.

As a council we are asking members of the public to ‘Fight the Fakes’ by helping to both recognise and report fake tobacco.

A campaign to get people reporting sales of counterfeit cigarettes is now live in Uxbridge, Stapenhill and Winshill in Burton, and health colleagues are being asked to support the campaign. 

Illicit tobacco can entice young people to smoke because of its lower cost, and depending on where it is sold, the lack of age checks. Dangers of illicit tobacco include higher levels of nicotine, more harmful carbon monoxide and an unhealthy mixture of chemicals including arsenic, cadium, benzene and formaldehyde.

Signs that tobacco may be illicit include: 

  • Unusually priced
  • Unusual texture or taste 
  • Lower quality packaging
  • No picture health warning
  • Individually sold cigarettes
  • Spelling mistakes or altered logos
  • Foreign safety warnings or no safety warning at all
  • Foreign brand names or imitations of popular brands   
  • They are more likely to be sold away from shops to make them harder to trace the seller

Those caught selling illegal tobacco could face up to ten years in prison, an unlimited fine, confiscation of their illegal products and seizure of the proceeds of their crime.  It could be shop keepers, pubs and clubs or individuals selling fake tobacco.

Call the fakes hotline, anonymously on  01785 330356 if you have any information, or go to

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