General Article Illegal tobacco is bought by more than half of teenage smokers in Gateshead

Topic Selected: Smoking and Health

Figures show children are regular customers of dealers as new campaign is launched. 

Illegal tobacco has helped over half of underage smokers in the North East get hooked on smoking, a new survey released today suggests.

55% of children aged 14 and 15 who smoke say they buy illegal tobacco from sources like ‘tab houses’ and shops – while 73% say they have been offered illegal tobacco.

The figures, from the 2017 North East Illegal Tobacco Survey, are released as Fresh launches the new ‘Keep It Out’ campaign aimed at helping the public to spot illegal tobacco, report it and to encourage smokers not to buy it.

As well as helping children to start smoking, people supplying illegal tobacco are often involved in drugs or loan sharking. Buying it means supporting crime and can bring children into contact with criminals.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, said: “One in two smokers will die from their addiction, and

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