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Illegal tobacco has been confiscated from a number of shops in Aldershot in checks by Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers.
In response to information received from some local schools, stores selling tobacco were visited and advised about best practice in challenging young people who may try to buy.
As a result, nine shops were tested using a 16 year old volunteer. All premises refused the attempt to buy packs of cigarettes. Other checks however, found a range of chewing tobacco on sale without the necessary health warnings. These products were removed from the shelves and stores were issued with verbal warnings.
Thanks to Trading Standards' work with HM Revenue and Customs, the supplier was able to then be located and further products confiscated at the source.
In addition, Trading Standards has raised concerns about counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco that may be on sale across Hampshire as a whole, in particular Golden Virginia pouches with health warning messages in Dutch.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said:
"Anyone who might be offered cheap tobacco should be very careful. It probably isn't genuine and it may have been produced in uncontrolled factories under no regulatory control and your money could well be funding organised crime in the area.
"All tobacco products are harmful to health, but illegal, cheap tobacco is often made from inferior products and can present even greater health risks. It is thought to be responsible for four times as many deaths as drugs, and the sale of these products makes it easier for youngsters to take up smoking and can be a barrier to those who want to quit."
If you have any information on the supply of cheap tobacco, or sales to youngsters contact Hampshire County Council Trading Standards on 01962 833620.
For more information about the work of Trading Standards in tackling underage sales visit: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/underagesales.htm