The growing menace of counterfeit cigarettes in India

Counterfeiting is growing in India by leaps and bounds and is worth over Rs 40,000 crores according to a report by ASPA (Authentication Solution Providers Association). The counterfeiting industry aims to sell low-quality duplicate copies of original items with the purpose of making profits. Apart from the loss of money, another big threat of counterfeiting is its negative impact on health. While financial losses can be recovered with time the pitfalls of health are life-threatening. Many counterfeit products are being sold in the market which leads to health repercussions in both short and long-term.

One such product is CIGARETTE that has an industry infested with counterfeit products substantially. According to a joint report by KPMG and FICCI the data of seizures from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence show that the market of illicit trade cigarettes in India rose by Rs 5,775 crore between 2010 and 2015, making it worth Rs 25,000 crore. The report also highlights that the sale of counterfeit cigarettes has upscaled whilst the sale of legal cigarettes has plummeted as the number of smokers keep on increasing. Another reason cited for this trend is the affordability of fake cigarettes compared to the real ones. As the demand for fake cigarettes is increasing it can have serious implications on the health of its consumers. Counterfeit cigarettes contain toxic chemicals like arsenic, human feces, molds, dead flies and insect eggs which are more fatal than the effects of tobacco.

A study by ICC Counterfeit Intelligence Bureau (CIB) has stated disturbing facts about the contents of duplicate cigarettes. The report states, “Studies have shown that when compared to legal cigarettes, fake smokes can contain five times the level of cadmium, six times as much lead, 160 percent more tar and 133 percent more carbon monoxide.” From this, You can easily imagine the extent of damage on health due to a fake cigarette.

Industry experts have suggested to stay away from the lure of fake cigarettes and have given tips to identify them. The important signs of fake cigarette include faulty packaging, spelling mistakes on packaging, incorrect logos or typefaces, foreign health warnings and absence of picture health warnings. You can also check the price of carton or the packaging which does not coincide with the original. Fake cigarettes tend to have cheaper prices. Another way to spot fake cigarettes is by smelling them as you can’t jeopardize your health by smoking them. Even a single piece can be detrimental for your health. You can read one of our earlier blogs to deeply understand the difference between a fake and real cigarette.

Despite the number of measures to spot fake products counterfeiters have come up with ways to replicate every single peculiarity. Today, it has become difficult to segregate fake product from real ones, therefore there has been a rise in the use of anti-counterfeiting technology to keep its genuineness intact.

Holostik India Limited which is one of the pioneers in anti-counterfeiting solutions and caters to different industries. Holostik provides different kinds of anti-duplication products for the tobacco industry. With anti-counterfeiting solutions in place, there can be a massive cutdown in the sale of fake cigarettes in the market. Apart from saving cigarette manufacturers from losses, anti-duplication solutions will save consumers from the harmful effects of fake cigarettes.