Nearly one in four cigarettes smoked in Dacorum could contain illicit tobacco, experts have warned.
Only a year ago only 2.5 per cent of cigarettes were iffy, but now it is more than 23 per cent.
Experts warn that the increase in illicit tobacco is bad for local businesses , increases criminal activity and threatens public health.
Not only do smokers not know where cheap cigarettes come from, there’s a chance they could contain mould, asbestos or even human faeces.
Dr Raymond Jankwoski, deputy director for public health and chair of Tobacco Free Hertfordshire, said: “Tackling illegal tobacco is important because it is a source of cheap tobacco to children and young people.
“In addition, cheap illegal tobacco undermines smokers’ attempts to quit, brings crime into communities and undermines legitimate local businesses.”
For help and advice on quitting smoking, visit www.wequit.co.uk.