Residents of Bognor who are concerned about the sale of fake tobacco are encouraged to attend an event in the town centre to learn about the dangers of the drug.
West Sussex Trading Standards (WSTS) officers will be on hand to highlight the risks of fake tobacco and will be accompanied by sniffer dogs from BWY Canine Ltd.
This will be one of two events with the first one taking place in South Street Square, Worthing on February 19th and the second on February 20th in London Road, Bognor.
Fake cigarettes can cause all kinds of dangers as they frequently fail to self-extinguish, making them a larger risk of causing fires.
There are severe consequences for anyone caught selling illegal tobacco, says trading standards officer, Richard Sargeant.
He explained: “If you know of anyone selling illegal tobacco or cigarettes or have any suspicions or concerns, you can come and speak to our team in Worthing or Bognor Regis.
“Businesses caught selling illicit tobacco can lose their alcohol licence and traders can even go to jail.
“We would always advice that you buy from a legitimate business and contact us if you have any reservations.”
West Sussex County Council cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, Debbie Kennard believes the work WSTS does is very important.
She said: “Our trading standards officers have done some excellent work when it comes to putting a stop to the sale of illegal tobacco.
“Fake cigarettes pose all sorts of dangers and I would strongly encourage anyone who has concerns to come along to one of these events.”
Since April 2017, WSTS have seized 1,186 packets of cigarettes and 402 tobacco pouches with a rough value of £20,860.
The event will also be attended by West Sussex Fire & Rescue officers as well as SmokeFree West Sussex who will be educating people on how to reduce the risks to residents from smoking.