The website was launched by Trading Standards South West and marks a significant step forward in partnership working between Trading Standards services in the area.
As well as offering people the chance to report illegal sales, the site also includes a comprehensive information page, outlining everything you need to know about illegal tobacco and the negative impact it has on society.
Many illegal cigarettes are unlikely to comply with safety standards and they will often not self-extinguish when not continually smoked, greatly increasing the fire safety risk at home. They are also likely to exceed the legally permitted carbon monoxide and tar levels (in some cases by up to 80%) while not containing the amount of nicotine stated on the pack.
Profits made from the sale of illegal tobacco, often fund other serious and organised crime such as modern slavery, people trafficking and drugs.
Councillor Steve Pearce, Cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “It is important that members of the public know how and where they can report information about illegal tobacco. It is also important that they understand the true extent of the damage illegal tobacco has on society.
“As a region, we receive information regarding the sale and supply of illegal tobacco from a variety of sources. One of the most important and valuable comes from members of the public, who may hold key information, crucial to an investigation.”
In addition to its connection to organised criminal groups, illegal tobacco is available at pocket money prices, sold to children and often fails other vital safety standards.
The new site also brings together the current South West illegal tobacco Facebook @SWIllegaltobacco and Twitter @SWIllegaltobac accounts.
To find out more visit www.SWIllegalTobacco.info