JTI – Illegal Tobacco

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4media Group recently worked with the Japan Tobacco International (JTI) on a combined broadcast and news generation campaign.  The campaign looked at the rise of illegal tobacco in Staffordshire

The tabacco and illegal cigarettes found in Staffordshire was found to contain asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and human excrement.

The campaign was fronted by Steve Wilkins, JTI’s Anti-illicit Trade Director and former Detective Chief Superintendent who talked about the recent test purchasing in Staffordshire, and the impact of the illegal tobacco trade in the UK.

The Campaign

JTI’s new research found that 86% of smokers in Staffordshire have been offered illegal tobacco in the last 6 months. Nearly half (47%) of smokers said they would consider purchasing illegal tobacco. The fact that it’s readily available is the reason over half of smokers in Staffordshire (51%) buy illegal tobacco, followed by ‘saving money’ (48%), smaller packs not being available (30%) and it tasting the same as legal tobacco.

According to the research men are the biggest culprits when it comes to buying illegal cigarettes; 66% of male smokers in Staffordshire compared to 29% of women have bought cigarettes which they perceived to be fake.

The research has revealed that 1 in 3 retailers in Stoke have been found to be selling illegal tobacco. JTI’s test purchasing has revealed that the illegal tobacco trade in Staffordshire appears to have spread from retail outlets on to the streets (market stalls, street sellers and pubs) – meaning that the link to serious and organised crime is ever increasing.


The client specifically requested regional coverage in and around Staffordshire, a goal that was met successfully by our experts. They achieved this securing coverage on the Stoke Sentinel in print and online,  West Midlands Express and Star in print and online and the Shropshire Star. Our media team also secured interviews on Stafford FM, Touch FM and Moorlands Radio.

JTI summary of success

Coverage Included

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