Agenda item

Keep it Out Campaign 2020 and Illegal Tobacco Enforcement Work

Report of the Service Director, Economy, Innovation and Growth


The Committee received a report to provide an update on the recent launch of the Keep It Out Campaign and illegal tobacco enforcement activity undertaken by Trading Standards services in Tyne and Wear.


‘Keep It Out’ is a campaign that has ran for several years as a tool designed to target illegal tobacco supplies.  It is developed and led by Fresh, an organisation based in County Durham whose remit is to deliver a variety of workstreams that seek to combat the high smoking related illness and death rate that is prevalent throughout the North East.  All five Tyne and Wear authorities fund and support this work.


The latest wave of ‘Keep it Out’ was launched across the region on 20 January and is set to be the biggest yet.  A widespread publicity campaign is currently being delivered, in conjunction with Trading Standards and other Council/public services that are engaged in local smoke-free partnerships.


The 2020 campaign is predominantly centred around the impact that illegal tobacco availability has on young people, the main headlines being:


·         Illegal tobacco helps children to get hooked on smoking and thus continues the cycle of health-related issues currently seen.

·         Children find out through their peer groups who is selling it in their locality and that it’s sold at prices they can afford.  The regulatory controls in place for legitimate tobacco are rendered ineffective.

·         Illegal sellers are unconcerned about who their market is.  People wrongly believe that local sellers won’t sell to children.  The facts are that they often do.

·         The illegal tobacco trade is linked to criminals.  Local suppliers are often involved in drugs and loan sharking.  Buying it means supporting crime and can put the children in contact with criminals.


Promotional materials for ‘Keep It out’ take the form of drink mats, posters, retailer guides, public facing leaflets and a wallet guide for frontline professionals.  Two versions of a radio advert will be heard for four week on three local stations – Hits North East (formerly Metro), Sun FM and Smooth.  In all instances, a key concept is to educate and raise awareness of the negative effect this trade has on children.


All publicity material features he contact details for how the general public can anonymously report illegal tobacco sources.  Information received through the campaign is collated by Fresh and an intelligence package is distributed to the relevant Trading Standards Services for action.


The success of ‘Keep It Out’ relies heavily upon the cooperation of all partners engaged in smoke-free alliances for the distribution of publicity materials.  As Trading Standards have a critical role in enforcement of illegal tobacco sales, an active role must be taken with promotion of the campaign to enable intelligence led working.


Leaflets and posters have been delivered to retail premises, community centres, GP surgeries and Council buildings.  Drink mats have also been given to licenced pubs and clubs across the area.  In some areas, Keep It Out posters are displayed in transport interchange stations, including Metro Stations in Gateshead and Sunderland.


RESOLVED -  That the information contained within the report be noted.




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