Wales - protecting children from tobacco products undermined by smuggling..

October 14, 2010 - You can't have an effective tobacco control program if you can not control the flow tobacco contraband (smuggling) into your country.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales has just hosted the "Smoke Free Futures: Tobacco Control Conference 2010" 11 - 12 Oct 2010 in Cardiff.

A report found tobacco smuggling in Wales is a threat to public health as well as a loss in tax revenue to the Government. Smokers questioned over their attitudes to buying illegal and counterfeit tobacco found younger smokers more likely to buy from the illicit market in cigarettes – fuelling addiction in youngsters.

More than half (52%) of 16 to 34-year olds admitted buying cheap tobacco compared to 41% of 35 to 54-year-olds, and 36% of the over 55’s.

Back on August 18, 2008 ASH Wales survey found similar results from a survey of 100 underage smokers (average age is just 14). (Wales - still easy for youngsters to buy cigarettes..

Some 68% of smokers quizzed were more interested in cost than where their cigarettes come from.

Tanya Buchanan, chief executive of ASH Wales, said: “Smuggled tobacco is a bigger issue in more socially disadvantaged areas and this evidence further supports that. Smoking prevalence rates are already much higher in these areas and are already creating significant ill health for residents.

Unfortunately, this evidence also means that measures to protect children from accessing age restricted tobacco products are being undermined by tobacco smuggling.

“It is vital that the Welsh Assembly Government’s tobacco control action plan being drafted addresses tobacco smuggling and that they work closely with the UK government on this issue. “We need a coordinated multi-agency approach to tackle large scale organised smuggling.

Reference: Illegal fags getting Welsh kids hooked by Tom Bodden,, 10/12/2010.

Some Wales related new briefs:
Wales set to ban the display of tobacco products..;
Wales - One in five women in Wales smoke while pregnant..;
Wales council imposes blanket ban on smokers adopting or fostering children..;
England, Wales to ban tobacco displays in shops..;
Wales - still easy for youngsters to buy cigarettes..;