Tackling illegal tobacco sales and protecting children from its harmful effects is the focus of a new campaign in Burnham-On-Sea and Brean this month.

Somerset County Council is working with Smokefree South West on a project to increase awareness about illegal tobacco among the general public, encouraging fewer people to buy it and more people to report it.

The campaign will see the ‘Tackling Illegal Tobacco’ ad-van touring the area by visiting Burnham-On-Sea’s car boot sale, Brean and Minehead, Taunton and Bridgwater.

The council says illegal tobacco is known to make it easier for children to start smoking because it is sold at pocket money prices, and it also makes communities more attractive to criminals.

Councillor Christine Lawrence, Chair of the Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board at Somerset County Council, said: “Smoking is a serious public health issue and cheap illegal tobacco just makes it even harder to keep our children away from harm. That is why Somerset County Council’s public health and trading standards teams are working together to help tackle the problem.”

“We know that people living in Somerset want to help protect their children, so this campaign will help them identify cheap illegal tobacco so that together we can keep it out of our communities.”

Selling illegal tobacco is a criminal offence. Anyone wishing to report the selling of illegal tobacco can contact Trading Standards here, report it anonymously online here; or call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. They cannot trace your call and will never ask for your name.