We understand that this time of year can be expensive and that people will look to tighten their belts in other ways, searching for cheaper alternatives when it comes to everyday goods and necessities.
Cheaper cigarettes is something individuals may be tempted to try and obtain, with much of this purchased from ‘the man on the street’ or ‘the back of a van’.
Much of this content is very often counterfeit or contains illicit tobacco, which is not only illegal to sell in this country, but can also be dangerous, as illicit tobacco can sometimes contain chemicals such as rat poison.
It is estimated that smoking 20 fake cigarettes is equivocal to smoking 100 regular legal cigarettes.
The fact that children are often seen as a market for these dangerous cigarettes should be something that concerns us all.
The impact of counterfeit cigarettes also reaches out to the wider community as dealers are often also involved in more serious organised crime including drug and human trafficking, prostitution and violence.
By catching these criminals we can also put an end to a catalogue of crime affecting society at all levels.
What’s more, it also costs the rest of the law abiding public. HM Revenue and Customs, (HMRC), estimates that non UK duty-paid cigarettes cost the taxpayer up to £3.6 billion in revenue during the 2009-10 financial year.
We understand the temptation could be there to purchase these cheaper cigarettes, but we would ask that the public pass up this opportunity, and if you suspect that there is illicit tobacco or counterfeit cigarettes being sold in the area, we would urge you to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
All the best for 2013 to all your readers.
Eastern regional manager