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Warning of the dangers of illegal cigarettes

31 May 2013

ILLEGAL cigarettes can be killers. The warning comes after a shop owner in south Lincolnshire was punished after 3,000 illegal Jin Ling cigarettes were seized from his premises.

Russian-produced Jin Ling is a cheap, smuggled brand that does not comply with the new fire safety standard for cigarettes.

Since November 2011, all cigarettes produced and sold in EU countries have to comply with a European Standard which requires them to be self-extinguishing when left unattended or not actively puffed on.

A litter survey carried out at the end of 2011 in North East Lincolnshire showed this brand is widely smoked in our area; one in 40 discarded packets collected in the survey were Jin Ling.

Councillor Hazel Chase, the portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at the council, said: “Illicit tobacco sellers often target poor and disadvantaged communities where they know people have more difficulty affording cigarettes from genuine retailers.

“They are putting people’s lives at risk as well as damaging honest local retailers whose businesses are affected.

“I would ask people to help remove these problems from their local community by reporting anyone who they suspect of selling illegal cigarettes to trading standards.”

Phil Leake, community safety manager for Humberside Fire And Rescue Service, said: “Smoking-related materials were the biggest cause of domestic fire deaths in the Humberside area throughout 2012.

“We have welcomed the new requirements for cigarettes to be self-extinguishing which will, it is believed, cut the number of smoking- related fires and fire deaths by up to two thirds.

“Illegal cigarettes may not, however, comply with these requirements, so do pose an additional fire risk.”

Genuine, legal packets of cigarettes or hand-rolled tobacco can be easily recognised as they should have the words “UK DUTY PAID” on the packs, all of the wording should be in English and there are health warning messages on both the front and back of the packet.

Residents are being asked to report people who they suspect of selling cheap, illegal cigarettes to North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards on 01472 324807 or text CIGS to 82055.

Alternatively, they can ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or e-mail www.crimestoppers-uk.org