Three south Yorkshire councils have launched a campaign to highlight the damaging effects of the illicit tobacco market.

Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster councils have joined forces to show their residents that rat droppings and floor sweepings are just some of the ingredients contained in illicit tobacco, which is being sold to smokers, including under 18s, for as little as £3.50 a packet.

To force locals to face the truth of what they’re buying, Sheffield council also reconstructed, in its city square, the filthy living conditions illegally trafficked adults and children are forced to work in to make fake cigarettes.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the illicit tobacco trade and encourage people to report sales of illegal tobacco in their area.

According to a survey commissioned by Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham councils, almost a quarter of smokers across the three areas have used illicit tobacco in the past 12 months.

Dr Jeremy Wight, director of public health at Sheffield City Council said: “Children are buying and smoking these cigarettes and the proceeds go to fund terror groups abroad and organised drug dealing gangs in Yorkshire.

“People need to consider that when they smoke, their money is being used to support terrorist organisations abroad and destroying families and childhoods here in the UK.”

Retail Express’ Smoke Them Out campaign

More than 50 retailers have told us about their issues and reported stores – and in some cases houses, pubs and white vans – that are selling illicit products in their area.

We’ve been gathering information from legitimate retailers, whose tobacco sales are being destroyed by the black market. We are compiling a dossier of names, locations, experiences and facts to take to the highest level.

Keep calling Retail Express ANONYMOUSLY on 020 7689 3376.