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Trading Standards and NHS Snuff Out Illegal Tobacco

Friday 26th November 2010


As part of National Mouth Cancer Month, NHS Bedfordshire is keen to raise awareness of the dangers of using illegal tobacco products, which are not appropriately labelled, such as chewing and snuff tobacco. Working in partnership with the NHS, Trading Standards officers are cracking down on businesses that sell the illicit substances and have recently seized a substantial quantity of the illegal products. 

The use of these substances is directly associated with an increased risk of contracting mouth, nasal and throat cancers.

Trading Standards officers visited several retail outlets within Bedford and found businesses selling products which were illegal as they did not carry the appropriate health warning labels.

Similarly, many of the products did not have relevant duty paid, thus depriving the government of much needed revenue and leading to unfair competition practices with other law abiding retailers around the town.

In total, almost £230 worth of illicit tobacco products were seized during these unannounced visits.

Councillor Nick Charsley, portfolio holder for Rural & Corporate Affairs for Bedford Borough Council “We would urge local businesses not to sell tobacco goods that are illegal and do not meet the relevant labelling messages that are required by law. The law is there for a reason and helps protect the consumer from potentially very dangerous illicit products which can have a serious affect on users’ health. It is of course a criminal offence to sell such products which could lead to prosecution.”

Ros O’Connor, Tobacco Control Manager for NHS Bedfordshire commented: “We are holding two drop in sessions on the 8th and 15th December at the Queens Park Neighbourhood Centre in Bedford between 1.30 -4pm with the intention of providing members of the community with information about these products that are on the market. Such information will hopefully assist consumers in making informed and healthy lifestyle choices. There will be various health professionals on hand to offer helpful advice around this important issue”

Knowing the symptoms of mouth cancer and catching the disease early could save your life. Look out for:

·        An ulcer or white or red patch anywhere in the mouth that does not heal within three weeks;

·        Difficulty in swallowing, chewing or moving the tongue or jaw;

·        Lumps, bumps or swellings anywhere in the mouth jaw or neck that persists for more than three weeks;

·        Numbness in any part of the mouth;

·        A feeling that something is caught in the throat;

·        A very sore throat or hoarseness that lasts more than six weeks; and

·        Unexplained loosening of teeth

If you would like more information about the drop in sessions or how to stop your tobacco or cigarette use please call NHS Bedfordshire’s Stop Smoking Service on 0800 013 0553.  

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