Published: Monday, 24th July 2017

Residents and shoppers in Woolwich had the chance to meet the specially trained dogs that are helping the Council to sniff out those guilty of selling illicit tobacco.

The visit on Saturday 22 July 2017 was part of the London Illegal Tobacco fortnight, a campaign organised by the Pan London Illegal Tobacco Group, chaired by Public Health working in partnership with London Councils and Royal Greenwich.

A chance to see the sniffer dogs in action

The roadshow in General Gordon Square in Woolwich, had residents watch sniffer dogs Phoebe, Harry, Eric and a familiar face Yoyo who gave real life demonstrations. The roadshow also gave out information about how to identify illegal tobacco products and the health dangers they pose, as well as details of how to report retailers who illegally distribute the products.

It is estimated that criminal networks are making over £100 million a year from the trade in London, with a third of London smokers saying they were offered illegal tobacco in the last year.

Keeping the level of smoking below the national average

Councillor David Gardner, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: "Our campaigns in Greenwich have successfully reduced the level of smoking in the borough to one in seven adults, well below the national average. This makes it all the more important for us to tackle illegal tobacco as readily available cheap tobacco, sold without restrictions."

Protecting the health and well-being of our residents

Councillor Jackie Smith, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said: "It's time that we stamp out illegal tobacco for good. Illegal tobacco supports other criminal acts and has many damaging effects on our local communities, as well as causing poor health for yourself and others around you."

Steve Playle from London Trading Standards, said: "Trading Standards officers across London are at the forefront of the battle to crack down on illegal tobacco. We work hard to advise businesses of their responsibilities but take robust action to identify those criminals who flout the law and bring them before the courts.

"It is important for this work to be targeted to protect the health and well-being of Londoners and we hope that the roadshows will encourage more intelligence to be gathered."

Get free support to stop smoking

Stopping smoking is not easy, there's loads of free support near you. From one to one support to drop-in clinics, the Greenwich Stop Smoking Service can help.