News & Comment

One in seven packets of cigarettes is fake or smuggled

Mon 13th February, 2012

A collection of discarded cigarette packets by trading standards officers in Lincolnshire has raised fears about counterfeit cigarettes.

The Lincolnshire study, which found that one in seven packets were either smuggled or fake, correlates with figures from HM Revenue and Customs estimating the market share for fake and counterfeit cigarettes across the country as a whole.

For the year 2009-10 HMRC estimated that between 4 and 16 per cent of cigarettes consumed in the UK were illicit with the figure for rolling tobacco much higher at up to 50 per cent over the same period.

Smuggled cigarettes are costing the country an estimated £2billion a year in unpaid taxes.

Fake cigarettes and rolling tobacco contain nearly six times as much lead as genuine products, causing massive damage to the organs and nervous system, especially in children.

The products, most of which are manufactured China and Russia, also contain higher levels of Cadmium which is linked with Kidney disease and arsenic which increases the risk of lung, liver and other cancers.

The fakes, which are often sold in pubs or street markets for between £3-£4 a pack, have also been found to contain sawdust, tobacco beetles and even rat droppings.

Source: Daily Mail (13 February 2012)

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