The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) has launched a major nationwide education campaign to help stop the spread of illicit tobacco.

Posters will be displayed on phone boxes in 50 illegal tobacco hot spots across the UK, to warn those tempted to either buy or sell cheap illegal tobacco of the consequences.

The campaign also encourages those who are aware of illegal tobacco, but don’t buy or sell it themselves, to report any suspicious activity to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) who will investigate further.

The campaign will also be appearing on billboards at Dover international sea port, plus Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, East Midlands, Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast airports.

The TMA hopes that they will remind adults who bring tobacco back from abroad that it is illegal to sell it on without paying UK taxes.

The campaign has been developed following research which found that many adult smokers are unaware of, or simply disregard, the law.

Posters have been put up in 50 locations in Cardiff, Glasgow, Perth, Dundee, London and Manchester.

According to HMRC, illicit tobacco cost the government £2.5bn in lost taxes in 2016-17. Giles Roca, director general of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association said: “The tobacco industry is committed to helping fight the illegal tobacco market which impacts communities, public services and small retailers.

“The government needs to commit greater resources to tackling illegal trade and needs to consider innovative solutions post-Brexit to halt the flow of cheap foreign tobacco into the country.”