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After almost ten years of working with partners to tackle the supply of and demand for illicit tobacco as part of our broader tobacco control strategies, Fresh and Healthier Futures have launched a refreshed partnership – the Illicit Tobacco Partnership – to continue and revitalise this important piece of work.
The size of the illicit tobacco market has significantly reduced over the last 15 years, with illicit cigarettes making up around 10% of the total market share, compared to over 20% in 2000/01.  This is the result of concerted multi-agency enforcement activity and evidence-based effective demand reduction measures at international, national, regional and local levels.

Tackling illicit tobacco is important for so many reasons.  We know that price is the most important lever in encouraging smokers to quit and, given that illicit tobacco is available much cheaper than legally bought tobacco, it encourages smokers to smoke more.  We also know that illicit tobacco sellers will sell to anyone regardless of their age and as a result children can become hooked early in life.

The Illicit Tobacco Partnership aims to continue to drive down the illicit tobacco market by addressing its availability, reducing its social acceptability and bringing about social change.  We provide national leadership on the issue by:

  • influencing policy development
  • developing infrastructure and strategic partnerships
  • providing strategic advice and guidance to partners in health and enforcement
  • delivering effective and evidence-based marketing and communications, including the first insight-driven campaigns to tackle illicit tobacco – 'Get Some Answers' and 'Keep It Out'
  • advocating for increased measures to reduce the illicit tobacco market. 

The work of the Illicit Tobacco Partnership is outlined at which features a range of supporting materials for use by local authorities, government departments, the NHS and others including:

The Illicit Tobacco Partnership looks forward to working with you over the coming months and if you have any questions or comments, please do get in touch.