Cheap and Illicit Tobacco

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Cheap and Illicit Tobacco

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You might not think that buying or selling cheap is a big deal, but it has a real impact on our communities across Sheffield.

The sale of illegal tobacco not only allows young people to access cheap cigarettes, getting them hooked from an early age, but it also helps to fund criminals who supply it, feeding into wider criminal activities.

What is illegal tobacco?

Illegal tobacco is the umbrella term for tobacco that doesn’t adhere to UK legislation and is therefore unlawful. It includes three main areas:

Counterfeit: Cigarettes which are illegally manufactured to appear as legitimate brands

Non-UK duty paid: Genuine cigarettes smuggled into the country without duty paid. They have health warnings in foreign languages.

Illicit whites: Cigarettes that have no legal market in the UK. They are usually mass manufactured in factories in Russia and Eastern Europe and imported illegally to the UK. Illicit whites do not usually have appropriate health warnings and duty has not been paid on them

Why should you be concerned?

You should be concerned about the trade of illegal tobacco as it affects everyone and as it impacts negatively on our local communities and funds organised crimes and local gangs.

Illegal tobacco is especially concerning for children. Cheap costs means it’s easier for them to start smoking and could expose them to a world of criminality including drugs, alcohol, weapons and be exploited in other ways.

Such cheap tobacco can also encourage smokers to keep smoking, and make it even harder to quit.

Cheap and Illicit tobacco funds organised crime
Cheap and Illicit tobacco funds organised crime

What will happen with reporting?

If you know someone who is buying or selling illegal tobacco, or have any suspicions you should report it. Any information you may have will help us to help stop illegal activity happening in your communities.

If you’re worried about reporting what you know, all reporting will be confidential and you can speak to someone for more information of the number below.

You can contact us on 03454 04 05 06 for more information, advice or to report it, or you can email 

If you want help to quit smoking, visit our partners page to find the right service for you.