A third of smokers in Preston admitted buying tobacco products from non shop sources in a survey about the illicit tobacco trade.
Around 30 people from the city were quizzed during an industry questionnaire about counterfeit products.
A third also said they were aware of illicit tobacco being sold in the area, with 40 per cent saying reading an article about the dangers would encourage them to shop dealers.
The results came as the Evening Post continues its Don’t Let Them Make A Packet campaign, which is raising awareness of the threat to communities and the economy posed by Lancashire’s black market in tobacco.
Peter Osborne, of the Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association said: “It is heartening that more than 50% of the respondents said a newspaper article, like the LEP’s Don’t Let Them Make A Packet campaign, would put them off buying illegal tobacco and more than 40% would be encouraged to report illicit tobacco.
“However, it is worrying that a third of respondents bought their tobacco from non-shop sources.
“There is still a long way to go to in getting across the message that illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime. It brings crime into communities, damages small retailers and deprives public services of much-needed tax revenues.”
The campaign has lifted the lid on how the county’s criminal underworld is profiting from smuggling illicit tobacco and selling it - often to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
It is peddled in disadvantaged communities or to young people whom criminals know often cannot afford full priced duty paid cigarettes.
Deprived communities have a higher risk of dying from diseases triggered by smoking, and the availability of cheap tobacco adds to the problem by reducing the incentive for people to quit.
To report dealers call Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.