The Illicit Tobacco Partnership and this website is led by public health and tobacco control experts in the North East by Fresh along with national tobacco control partners ASH UK and UKCTAS. The Partnership is part of broader strategies to reduce smoking prevalence, protect communities from tobacco-related harm, and stop children from starting in the first place.
The foundations of the partnership began in 2006, with the recognition that the illicit tobacco trade was undermining the delivery of comprehensive efforts to reduce the impacts of smoking on health, particularly taxation policies and age of sale legislation.
In 2007, health and enforcement partners gathered in the North of England for a summit on tackling the illicit tobacco trade which led to the launch of the North of England Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health programme in 2009. The Illicit Tobacco Partnership was subsequently formed in 2016 by the two founding members of the North of England programme.
Since this partnership was formed, local councils in Yorkshire and the Humber have been working together with West Yorkshire Joint Services to launch an evidence-based illegal tobacco programme, supported by Fresh and Healthier Futures, to reduce supply and demand. A number of local authorities in London are also collaborating on tackling illicit tobacco.
Our programmes recognise that all tobacco – legal and illegal – is harmful. Tobacco, and the smoke it generates when it’s burning, contains over 4,000 chemicals including over 70 known to cause cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and many other conditions. Smoking causes one in five adult deaths over the age of 35, and kills one in two smokers in our communities.