IT was encouraging to read about the police and Wigan Trading Standards’ success in locating illegal tobacco and alcohol (Wigan Evening Post, February 9, “Contraband haul”) which served to illustrate the sheer scale of the illicit tobacco problem.
Illegal tobacco products are already easily available in markets and car boot sales across the UK.
Illicit traders do not care who they sell to - and frequently target children with cheap cigarettes and increasing illicit trade will drive up criminality in the Wigan area.
The proportion of non-UK duty paid cigarettes in the North West is about 23 per cent - contributing to the £8m in tobacco revenue which is lost every day to the Government.
This is not a victimless crime either as struggling, legitimate shop owners lose out to the criminals. Many of these corner shop owners depend on cigarette sales for their footfall - customers going on to buy newspapers or bread etc.
The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) and its members are also committed to preventing under 18s from accessing cigarettes and we support a range of youth access prevention measures including the UK’s leading proof-of-age card Citizencard and the ‘No ID No Sale’ campaign at tills.
UK youth smoking rates are at their lowest level for a generation (currently five per cent) and we support evidence-based measures to reduce it still further.
Illegal cigarette sales and smuggling can also be reported to the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 500. The organisations the TMA is working with across the UK include trading standards, the Police, HMRC, responsible retailers, the Real Deal for Markets, the media and business groups such as the Chambers of Commerce, CBI and the IoD - to help raise awareness and to directly tackle this growing problem.
I would urge your readers to take a stand against the illicit tobacco trade by taking just 30 seconds to sign a Government e-petition (Stub out the Illegal Tobacco Trade) at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43213
The North, East Midlands and Eastern England Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association
A headache over head lice
This letter is written in desperation it regards political correctness gone mad.
My two children return home from attending school on a regular basis infested with hair lice of multiple colouring and maturity this despite my wife’s efforts to rid our children of these pests on a regular basis nightly in point of fact.
There is, for parents of children who do not know, a scheme run by the government through pharmacies known as the minor ailments scheme, a scheme which enables parents to go to their local chemist and to obtain a hair lotion to eradicate these hair lice free of charge.
I, along with my wife, have pointed this out to the headteacher of our children’s school who informed us that she is unwilling to inform the other parents of the other children who attend this school in fear of offending their sensibilities.
Well I am truly sick of these pests invading my children’s hair and our home therefore I am writing this letter in the hope that you will publish it in your letters column so that I can inform the parents of the other children of the existence of this scheme which is an easy to use, no appointment necessary, free scheme.
Name and address supplied