Frequently Asked Questions
What is a counterfeit cigarette?
Counterfeit cigarettes are illegally manufactured tobacco products which are often made abroad, but sometimes in the UK. They are sold cheaply and tax free. Counterfeit products are produced from inferior materials and vast profits are made throughout the supply chain.
What are in counterfeit cigarettes?
Counterfeit cigarettes contain higher levels of nicotine, more harmful carbon monoxide and can incorporate an unhealthy mix of chemicals including arsenic, cadmium, benzene and formaldehyde.
Where are counterfeit cigarettes being sold?
Sales of fake cigarettes is on the increase in Staffordshire, and is sold in a wide variety of place including:
and even on the street.
What happens if you are caught selling counterfeit cigarettes?
The sale of counterfeit tobacco products contravenes both the Trade Marks Act (intellectual property crime) and the Tobacco Products Duties Act (Customs offence). Counterfeit tobacco products may also contravene the health warning requirements to declare the correct levels of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide.The penalty for selling counterfeit cigarettes could be prison, fines, confiscation of the illicit products and seizure of the proceeds of their crime.
Is this a big problem and if so is it just in Staffordshire?
Yes it is a big problem. Illicit cigarettes encourage young people to smoke. As it becomes harder for under 18's to obtain legitimate cigarettes they are more likely to turn to counterfeit cigarettes. This is not a problem in Staffordshire, this is a problem across the UK and even more of a problem in other parts of world.
What is being done to combat this?
Staffordshire County Council's trading standards team will be approaching businesses to ask them to report anyone trying to sell counterfeit cigarettes and will be providing posters to raise awareness of the issue.
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