A CRACK down on the sale of shisha tobacco has been launched after authorities claim the majority is shipped in illegally.

Bromley Council is one of five boroughs in south-east London as well as HMRC looking to curb the smoking. It noted a recent survey found it to be “an emerging threat to public health” and highlighted concerns that the pastime is increasingly popular among young people.

The council today said much of the tobacco used in shisha pipes “has been smuggled into the country to avoid taxes and duties”, while suggesting origins are often unknown and health warnings ignored.

It added: “This makes it a very profitable business for traders and potentially very dangerous for users.”

Now health teams are concerned awareness among pipe smokers is low, warning of increased risks of cancer, heart disease and potential diseases, brought about by shared mouthpieces and dirty equipment.

Cllr Tim Stevens Executive Member for Public Protection and Safety said: “Though incidence of the sale and use of shisha tobacco is relatively low in Bromley compared with other London boroughs, we thought it was important for our Trading Standards team in partnership with public health, to take part in this operation to send out a message that we will crack down on the sale of this and any kind of tobacco to young people.”