Friday, 16 January 2009

Why counterfeit tobacco matters

I went to a briefing yesterday for councillors about the work of the City Council's Alcohol and Tobacco Unit (which is part of Trading Standards). I must admit my first reaction when hearing about counterfeit tobacco was to think "so what"? What do I care after all if Benson and Hedges lose a bit of profit. But the sale of this stuff in Liverpool (and apparently lots is brought in) is doing all sorts of real and potential harm. Firstly when the government put up the legal age for buying cigarettes there was an unintended consequence which is that those between 16 and 18 who already smoked had to move to buying the counterfeit stuff in some cases. There is also evidence that in areas that rely on one small corner shop the growth in sales of counterfeit stuff (usually from someones house) can mean the difference between the shop surviving or not. But what really shocked me was all the rubbish that is found in the cigarettes and how harmful that is. Apart from arsenic and other chemicals that are not that great for you, officers have found fibreglass being used regularly to bulk the stuff out. And it can't be good to be sucking that stuff down. In Liverpool the Alcohol and Tobacco Unit is, I am told, unique in the region and is already making a difference in dealing with these potential health hazards.


Anonymous said...

And that goes for fake clothing, household products, perfume, alcohol etc. Too often people just think of the lost profit to the large company but forget about all the harm and damage it does to ordinary people and legitimate traders and retailers. The people involved in the trade in fakes are not nice people but criminals. There are also proven links with serious organised crime. Trading standards do a great job but need more money and resources.

Anonymous said...

There are several public houses in the Garston area, namely on St Mary's Road which sell counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes, but none of them seem to be punished for doing it, do the police in that area turn a blind eye or are they on the take for other information about the local thugs. Come to metion it alot of the public houses are open way past normal trading house or do they have extended hours and seem to be full of youngesters, this would be interseting to investigate.