Earlier this month, officers from Wiltshire Council Trading Standards seized over 10,000 cigarettes and 4.5kg of hand-rolling tobacco following an unannounced inspection at a shop in Salisbury.
The items seized are believed to have been imported into the country using fake brand names.
An investigation is underway following the seizure.
Yvonne Bennett Trading Standards Manager at Wiltshire Council said “As the manufacture of illicit tobacco products is completely unregulated customers have no way of knowing what harmful substances they contain. Previously seized illicit tobacco has been found to include a variety of dangerous chemicals, asbestos and even rat poison; they also often lack the ability to self-extinguish if left unsmoked, posing a fire risk. We take a zero-tolerance approach to the sale of illicit tobacco in Wiltshire and anyone found selling such items will be brought to account.”
Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, added: “While we’re all aware of the harm smoking causes these illicit cigarettes can be particularly hazardous as there is absolutely no control over what they may contain. Furthermore, as no duty is paid in respect of illicit tobacco its sale is estimated to cost the taxpayer over £2 billion in unpaid tax every year; money which could be used to help fund vital public services like the NHS.”
Anyone wishing to report illicit tobacco can do so via www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or by calling 0300 999 6999. For advice and support to quit smoking visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-stop-smoking.