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Could your cigarette be illegal?

The South West is above the national average for illegal cigarettes

Over a quarter of all cigarettes smoked in the South West are either illegal or purchased outside of the UK, a survey has found.

More than 12,000 packs from streets and bins across the country were tested.

The results show that our region is above the national average.

Cheap illegal cigarettes are often sold on street corners. Criminal gangs are known to routinely target children.

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Loved ones are the true victims of a smoking habit

Who are the real sufferers from smoking? Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Latest research conducted by Smokefree South West shows:

29% of people had stopped encouraging loved ones to quit because they were scared of starting an argument.

84% of parents said they encourage their child to stop as they don't like to see them harm themselves

67% of people, whose parents smoke, try to encourage them to stop because they're scared of losing them early.

Campaigners label Bristol's smoke free zones as 'creeping prohibition'

Campaigners from smokers' group Forest have criticised the ban as an example of "creeping prohibition".

Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places. Now campaigners want to ban it outside. This is creeping prohibition. Extending public smoking bans to outdoor areas is illiberal and unwarranted. Smoking in the open air harms no-one apart, perhaps, from the consumer - and that's their choice.

– Simon Clark, Director of Forest
Bristol is the UK's first to pilot smoke free zones Credit: ITV News

Cities including New York, Toronto and Hong Kong have already banned smoking in key outdoor locations but Bristol is the UK's first to pilot smoke free zones.

Millennium and Anchor Squares are home to the At-Bristol science museum, shops and restaurants, and are well-used play spaces for children.

Lung disease sufferer inspires 'Smokefree South West' campaign

Kisrty Vaas from Torquay was diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) just over a year a go after one of her lungs collapsed.

She is now constantly short of breath, unable to travel and is supported by her younger daughter.

Kirsty knows this is a result of her smoking habit, but she wants others to learn from her mistakes.

Kirsty now finds it difficult to leave the hosue Credit: ITV News

My smoking illness has caused my whole world to come crashing down. If young people see you smoking then they think it's alright, but they don't understand what it can do to you, so making smoking less visible in public places can only be a good thing.

– Kirtsy Vass

Kirsty has thrown her support behind 'Smokefree South West' which have succeeded in making parts of Bristol smoke free from today.

At the opening there will be a 'take a straw challenge' where people try and breathe through a straw to simulate what it feels like to have a collapsed lung.

It's the same technique Kirsty used to explain her condition to her daughter.

Parts of Bristol become smoke-free today

A voluntary smoking ban starts in Millennium Square today Credit: ITV News

Two squares in Bristol will become the first major public outdoor spaces in UK to go smoke-free.

From today a voluntary smoking ban will be in place in Millennium Square and Anchor Square. The area is home to the At-Bristol science museum and often hosts festivals and other family friendly events.

The project is part of the Smokefree South West campaign.

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