The ongoing North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme was the first of its kind in the world and has been emulated by other programmes. It was the first programme to develop a comprehensive approach to tackling the demand for and the supply of illicit tobacco in communities through the development of partnerships between health and enforcement colleagues, groundbreaking social marketing campaigns, generating and sharing intelligence and delivering enhanced enforcement against the illicit tobacco trade.
All of this is placed within the context of a broader approach across the North of England to change the social norms around tobacco use so that smoking becomes less desirable, acceptable and accessible.
Smoking is the UK's leading cause of avoidable death and disease. Every year, 80,000 people die early as a result of a smoking related illness and one in every two long-term users of tobacco will die early. The burden that tobacco places on our society needs to be reduced through a long-term, comprehensive, multi-component approach to denormalising tobacco use. Tackling illicit tobacco is a vital part of this approach.
The North of England programme is led by the two regional tobacco control programmes in the North of England:
with partners from key intelligence and enforcement agencies operating across the North of England including
- Trading Standards
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- UK Border Agency (UKBA)
- Police forces