Walsall Council’s fight against illegal tobacco came to Darlaston yesterday when Trading Standards and Public Health officers were joined by specialist tobacco sniffer dogs and their handler at Asda, (June 06) to raise awareness of the risks of illegal tobacco and the negative effect it has on health, local communities and economies.
Walsall Trading Standards regularly use tobacco sniffer dogs to raid illegal tobacco sellers. Dog handler Stuart Phillips carried out live demonstrations throughout the day showcasing the amazing detection skills of springer spaniels Yoyo and Phoebe. Joining these hard working dogs are three new recruits - spaniel puppies; Maggie, Aggie and Peggy. Over the last two years the trained dogs have uncovered thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco in Walsall shops, hidden in wall panels staircases and even ceilings. Most of these raids are instigated following tip offs from members of the public and Trading Standards are urging anyone with information on illegal tobacco sales to come forward anonymously on the day or using the anonymous Trading Standards hotline 0300 303 2636. Public Health experts will also be on hand to offer practical advice to anyone who wants to quit smoking.
Councillor, Tim Wilson Portfolio Holder for Public Health, commented: “It was good to see the trailer back in Walsall. The dogs are amazing and the public love to see them in action. The exhibits are sobering and highlight the real health dangers of illegal tobacco, what to look out for and the range and scale what is being sold illegally.
Councillor Gary Perry added “Illegal tobacco is a real threat to the health of our town and economy. It comes from unknown manufacturers with no quality control, or guarantee that harmful ingredients are not present and sold by businesses that are very often also involved in organised crime and money laundering. Illicit tobacco and cigarettes are sold at much cheaper prices than genuine products making them more readily available to young people – this seriously undermines our effort to reduce smoking in the borough and protect our children and communities. I urge people to come forward with any information they have on these sellers and help Trading Standards and Public Health rid the borough of this health menace.
(Pictures) Dog Handler Stuart Phillips and Yoyo.
• Illicit tobacco and cigarettes pose a risk to Public Health. Goods are sold at much cheaper prices than genuine products so are more readily available to young people.
• The illegal products often come from unknown manufacturers where there is no quality control or guarantee that contaminates are not in the products.
• The illegal products also have foreign language or incomplete labelling which means that the safety messages included on the genuine products are not available to the users.
• Public Health Walsall work with schools colleges and employers to highlight the issue and Trading Standards also carry out test purchases when they receive information concerning the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age.
Want to Quit?
The most successful way to stop smoking is with the help of Stop Smoking Services and information on Walsall Stop Smoking Services for further information, help or advice on quitting , you can call: 01922 444044 . The service, is delivered by a qualified stop smoking advisor , provides support to help deal with the day to day challenges associated with stopping smoking for example cravings as well as medication support: Support that could be one to one support or group support at a range of times and places to suit you and could include home or work.