Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MP Calls for a Tobacco Crackdown

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MP Calls for a Tobacco Crackdown

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Warburton Chief Reporter

LABOUR'S Mary Glindon today claimed bootleg tobacco was "making smoking more accessible" for vulnerable children.

The North Tyneside MP urged a crackdown on the peddling of black market cigarettes, claiming the economic crisis was forcing hard-up families to turn to the illicit trade.

And she has called for action in a bid to stamp out the smuggling of illegal products. She said: "We are fully aware of the contents of legal tobacco products, as displayed, by law, on the packaging, but most people do not know exactly how more harmful illegal products can be.

"We know that the cost of living crisis will be hitting smokers hard and they may be tempted to buy these cheaper illicit products to save money, but the consequences for their health could be more devastating than smoking legally-controlled products.

"Moreover, the availability of these cheap products could make smoking more accessible to children and young people."

It comes as tobacco companies claim the sale of black market cigarettes is cutting profits for newsagents and driving independent stores out of business.

But today John McClurey, 59, whose 66-year-old dad, also named John, died of lung cancer 20 years ago, said more must be done to cut smoking levels.

John, who has owned a newsagent in the West End of Newcastle for more that two decades, said tobacco firms were opposed to plain cigarette packaging because it wiped out a "unique selling point and advertising".

He said: "When my dad was dying I had a major problem about what I was selling and I had a long talk with him and what we said was that it was business and I would continue to do what I was doing.

"But I promised to promote anti-smoking campaigns and encouraged people to stop smoking. That's how I came to terms with that."

Figures released by antismoking organisation Fresh suggest the illicit tobacco market in the North East had halved since the late 1990s. …

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