East Lancs tobacco firm heads crackdown

A MAJOR tobacco manufacturer has teamed up with independent retailers in East Lancashire to crack down on cigarettes being sold to under-18s.

JTI, which markets brands such as Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut, has invested £400,000 to tackle underage sales in the North West.

An initiative with Serve Legal has seen dozens of test purchases across 243 shops in East Lancashire in the past nine weeks.

That included 64 stores in Blackburn, 54 in Burnley, 28 in Accrington, 26 in Chorley, 22 throughout Rossendale,18 in Nelson, 18 in Darwen, six in Clitheroe, four in Barnoldswick and three in Colne.

Paul Williams, JTI’s head of corporate affairs, said: “Nearly 50 per cent of children claimed to have access to cigarettes through peer groups or family and 15 per cent through other sources, including illegal traders.

“It is imperative legitimate retailers and staff stay up to date with the law, as failure to do so could put them and their business at risk.”

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