Hackney council seizes 13,700 illegal cigarettes


Dog discovers illegal tobacco Pic: Hackney Council

Hackney council confiscated 13,700 cigarettes in a raid on a Hoxton shop last month. The raid was a part of an ongoing crackdown on the sale of illegal tobacco in the borough.

Trading standards officers stumbled across the contraband with the help of sniffer dog Pippa, who discovered the cigarettes alongside 129 illegal packets of loose tobacco hidden away in a sink unit and under a chocolate bar stand.

The owner of the shop faces prosecution for the sale of illegal tobacco.

As part of its campaign against illegal tobacco, the Council will be hosting an illegal tobacco roadshow at 10am-4pm on Tuesday 16 July at Tesco, Morning Lane, where residents can find out more about illegal tobacco, why it’s a problem and how to report premises that sell it.

At least 20 boroughs across the capital will be participating in this year’s London Illegal Tobacco Campaign, now in its third year.

Illegal tobacco is completely unregulated and is often sold much cheaper than legal tobacco. According to findings by Hackney council, many smokers say that being able to buy illegal tobacco cheaply makes it harder for them to quit.

Cllr Feryal Clark, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care, Transport and Parks said: “The sale of illegal tobacco has a huge impact on people’s health, making it easier for children to get hooked on tobacco and harder for people to quit. The roadshow is a great opportunity to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco, and for people to get advice on how to stop smoking”

Pic: Trading Standards


There are three types of illegal tobacco:

  1. Smuggled, non-duty paid or bootlegged tobacco, which often includes packets with foreign language health warnings and no health warning pictures. They often cost between £5 – £7 per pack of 20
  2. Counterfeit or fake tobacco, which looks like well-known tobacco brands but is manufactured illegally. These can be produced in the UK but more often are smuggled into the country. They can cost from £5 per packet.
  3. ‘Cheap’ whites, which are foreign brands lawfully produced in one country but intended for smuggling into another. They are illegally sold in the UK. The most well-known brand is Jin Ling and can be as cheap as £3.50 per packet.

It is also illegal to sell single cigarettes, the cost of which is much lower than buying a full pack, making it harder for people to give up smoking and easier for children to start.

It is estimated that 1 in every 10 cigarettes and tobacco products consumed globally is illicit, according to the World Health Organisation.






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