A major new campaign to tackle the serious impact of illegal tobacco in Medway will be launched next month (September).

The initiative – a partnership between NHS Medway, Medway Council, Department of Health, trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – aims to reduce the supply and demand of illegal tobacco.

Medway public health officers will be in Gillingham High Street on Monday, 5 September to highlight the issue of illegal tobacco, talk to shoppers and visitors and raise awareness of illegal tobacco and the direct impact that it is having on them.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “This initiative is about protecting our children. We want to stop children of 13 and even younger from becoming addicted to tobacco and hooked on smoking before they are old enough to make a properly informed choice of their own.”

“Many people in Medway don’t view illegal tobacco as a problem, but the rise has seen a direct impact on health, crime and the economy and it can only be tackled if everyone plays their part.

“The cheap price of illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to smoke and it makes it harder for people who already smoke to stop.”

If you think someone maybe selling illegal tobacco, contact the hotline on 0800 59 5000.