Tobacco - counterfeit, foreign labelled or illicit tobacco

Tobacco - counterfeit, foreign labelled or illicit tobacco

Report sellers of illicit and counterfeit tobacco to Trading Standards

You may know illegal tobacco by terms such as ‘dodgy fags, fake cigs, cheap tobacco, foreign cigs’ etc. These terms are used to describe cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco which has either been smuggled into the country and avoids taxation or is not made by legitimate tobacco manufacturers.  

If you have identified someone involved in the sale of illegal, foreign labelled or counterfeit tobacco please let us know by completing our form.

You can remain anonymous when reporting but please give your name if you are willing to be contacted.

Trading Standards in Milton Keynes contribute to the national fight against illegal tobacco.  The sale of duty evaded and counterfeit tobacco products undermines the health objectives of high taxation and labelling rules and steals business away from legitimate tobacco sellers.

There are also fire safety implications as illicit cigarettes do not comply with legal requirements designed to reduce the chances of un-attended lit cigarettes starting a fire.

Furthermore a high percentage of illegal tobacco has been found to be counterfeit. Counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco can contain higher yields of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide which make them even more dangerous. 

Cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco in this country has to be sold in a standardised format packaging and the UK duty-paid mark must be displayed. The packaging must be a specific shape and in a certain colour; all other colours, trademarks, logos and promotional graphics are prohibited.

The information such as the health warnings must also be in English.

Further guidance

Further guidance with images of correct packaging can be found in the Government guidance.

If you buy a tobacco product and the packaging does not look right or it is not labelled in English you might like to consider reporting the seller to us (see above).

National and regional levels of smoking and smoking related diseases continue to fall as a result of higher taxation, better education, support in quitting and laws limiting where people can smoke. However, illegal and counterfeit tobacco is cheap and readily available and keeps people smoking.

If you sell tobacco products and you would information on the changes in display of tobacco and pricing legislation please follow this link.

Trading Standards Team

Trading Standards Team contact information

  • 0808 223 1133 (freephone) - Consumer advice and complaints

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ