Hartlepool health chief welcomes crackdown on illegal cigs traders

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Illegal dealers are using everything from secret drawers to hollow doors to hide tobacco.

But concerted action is being taken by enforcement teams as part of the ongoing nationwide Operation Henry - and it has led to the seizure of more than 65,000 cigarettes in the North East.

The crackdown was welcomed by Lisa Surtees, acting director of Fresh, who said: “All smoking kills but illegal tobacco helps make it easier for children to buy tobacco and keeps people hooked on a habit addiction that kills over 5,000 people in our region ever year.”

Louise Wallace, Director of Public Health at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It is important to remember that all tobacco - whether it was bought from an illegal or legal source – is harmful and one in two long-term tobacco users will die early as a result of smoking.”