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Naughty but niche

City trading standards snuffs out tobacco without health warnings

Published on October 7th 2011.

Naughty but niche

Liverpool Trading Standards has launched a crackdown on "niche"  tobacco products which do not contain health warnings.

Niche products include chewing tobacco such as gutkha and zarda and khaini; nasal tobacco snuff; small hand rolled cigarettes called beedis and shisha or hookah tobacco. Some of this tobacco is wrapped in a betel nut leaf before being chewed.

Smokeless tobacco products, which play an important part in South Asian religion and culture, is consumed without burning the product, and can be used orally or nasally.

Beedis: Naughty but nicheBeedisMany people don’t realise that niche products contain tobacco, it says, adding that as with smoking cigarettes the use of such tobacco is addictive and presents serious health risks.

Trading Standards goes on to point out statistics which, it says, show that holding one pinch of chewing tobacco in the mouth for 30 minutes delivers as much nicotine as 3-4 cigarettes. And 30 minutes of smoking a shisha/hookah pipe can be the equivalent of smoking 100 cigarettes. Beedis are 2-3 times stronger than standard UK cigarettes.

Traders who sell products that contain tobacco, which is intended to be smoked, sniffed, sucked or chewed, have to comply with the same laws as traders who sell cigarettes, says the watchdog.  Tobacco products must only be sold to people over the age of 18 years of age.

Trading Standards officers recently visited 20 shops in the south of Liverpool and inspected 1623 niche tobacco products. Of these 1151 items were seized for being incorrectly labelled, not having health warnings or not being in English.

Up your pipe'Very bad for you'Councillor Tim Moore, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Niche tobacco causes significant health problems and is far stronger than traditional tobacco products sold in the UK.

"It is important that we monitor the sale of these products in our new communities where health risks resulting from the use of niche tobacco is on the increase.

Trading Standards will continue to target the sale of these illegal products and we will work with local businesses to restrict the supply.”

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