Counterfeit cigarettes haul across the county almost topped 200,000

Almost 200,000 ‘illicit’ cigarettes were seized by Trading Standards officers across Lancashire last year, almost five times the number confiscated six years ago. And the number of people prosecuted for selling counterfeit and non-duty tobacco products has also rocketed, an investigation by a Johnston Press newspaper has found.

The price of cigarettes has almost doubled since smoking in public was banned ten years ago, from £5.33 to £9.91. Up to 88 per cent goes on excise duty and VAT, it was estimated. It was also revealed how: n 188,580 sticks of cigarettes were seized by the county council in 2016/17, up from 37,760 in 2012/13; n 27 people were prosecuted, down from 35 over the same period; n Nobody in Lancashire has been caught by police for smoking in a car with children since it was outlawed two years ago; and n Some authorities in the county have not issued any punishment for breaching the 2007 Smoke Free legislation.