29/10/2009 08:47 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Child Smokers Targeted By "Tab Houses" Selling Illegal Tobacco

Children are getting hooked on smoking by buying cheap, illegal cigarettes, according to trading standards officers.

Around 30 of under 18s admit to buying cheap and illicit tobacco. It means they start smoking earlier and they can smoke more."

Dr Rob Hornsby, a criminologist at Northumbria University, told the BBC: "We're in a recession now, so people want goods cheaply. From the research I've been conducting it's clear that the market in illegal cigarettes is still very solid."

On Tuesday the UK Border Agency announced its biggest ever seizure of £120m worth of cigarettes found on a boat off the coast of Ireland.

Over-16s used to be able to buy cigarettes legally but the law changed in October 2007 banning under-18s from buying any kind of tobacco.

However, it seems if children want to get hold of the noxious weed, they still can. Mind you, they always could - many smokers started when they were under 16.

So how do you stop your kids from smoking? Any ideas?

Source: BBC