THE 80’s new wave synth band Heaven 17 are backing the Lancashire Evening Post’s Don’t Let Them Make a Packet campaign.
Singer Glenn Gregory, 54, heard about the e-petition through a friend and is urging people not to give into “Temptation” when offered illicit tobacco products for cheap prices.
He is particularly concerned at dealers targeting young people.
The father-of-two said: “It’s bad enough that young people are targeted at all regarding tobacco products, but to try and coerce them into using fake tobacco products is wrong and should be made illegal.”
The band, fronted by Gregory and Martyn Ware, has posted the link to the e-petition, which calls for tougher action on criminal peddling and smuggling illegal tobacco products, on Heaven 17’s Facebook page.
It came ahead of the band’s concert in Lancashire at Blackburn’s King George’s Hall on February 22.
The Sheffield band, which is best known for hits Temptation, Come Live With Me and Let Me Go, will also perform at The 80’s Strikes Back concert in Lytham St Anne’s on August 2.
The “Don’t Let Them Make a Packet” campaign is also backed by Lancashire police, the fire service, Lancashire Trading Standards, Crimestoppers, Central Lancashire Primary Care Trust, Preston Council and pressure group Tobacco Free Futures, as well as figures from the tobacco industry.
It highlights how the county’s criminal underworld is profiting from smuggling illicit cigarettes and tobacco into the county and selling them on the black market, often to the most vulnerable and impressionable in our society – with the biggest victims feared to be young people.
County Council figures suggest an estimated 50,000 people in Lancashire smoke illegal cigarettes, with many believing they are getting a good deal by buying a pack for half the price of legal tobacco sold by legitimate retailers. But few will realise the sickening story behind Lancashire’s illegal tobacco trade.
Although all tobacco is deadly, the unregulated and unlicensed illegal products have been found by scientists to contain harmful additions like rat droppings, sawdust and plastic, and the quality of the tobacco is poor, meaning the county’s smokers are exposed to higher levels of nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide.
It is feared the perceived “low risk high gain” profits help to fund other crimes dealers are connected to, such as the sex trade, drugs and firearms and terrorism.
Agencies are putting a lot of effort into tackling the trade but need intelligence from the public to act on.