City of York Council is launching a new campaign across York today to tackle the trade in illegal tobacco and stop dealers who sell to children.

Six local authorities (York, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield) are collaborating to launch the Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health in West Yorkshire and York Programme.

The work is being commissioned by the six local authorities’ public health teams and involves trading standards, health and HMRC working together to crack down on sales.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for homes and safer communities, said: “Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making it even easier for them to get hooked on smoking. The people making money out of this do not care who they sell to.

“This campaign is about raising awareness that illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime but harms neighbourhoods and brings crime into local communities."

Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.