Why are counterfeit cigarettes toxic in nature?

It’s a well-known fact that cigarettes are harmful to you and can cause life-threatening disease like Cancer in the long run. But, have you ever imagined what counterfeit cigarettes can do to you? When it comes to cigarette addiction fake ones should be avoided at all costs. Fake cigarettes are usually imported from foreign countries like China and they are able to make their way into different countries due to weak customs laws and poor regulation of the market.

There is an enormous market of counterfeit cigarettes in India. This is due to the ever-growing taxes on tobacco and tobacco-based products. There is an ongoing trend of the rise in consumption of counterfeit cigarettes among the masses which is harmful to their health. According to a research group, a fake cigarette contains adulterants which are quite toxic for the lungs.

The research group set out to study these cigarettes with one goal in mind—provide more accurate data for assessing their impact on one’s health. “Counterfeit cigarettes constitute a significant crime and public health problem,” Yi He, associate professor of chemistry at John Jay College told R&D Magazine after her session presentation at Pittcon in Atlanta last month titled Elemental Profile of Tobacco Used in Counterfeit Cigarettes.

The researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and CUNY, including Agricultural Research Service (USDA), studied the elemental profile in counterfeit cigarettes that was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after being seized by the law enforcement agency. The 13 elements they researched in the cigarettes included: As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, P, Pb and Zn.

According to academic research presented at a session, a tobacco plant is particularly efficient in accumulating cadmium from the soil and translocating most of the metal to the leaves. Cadmium is the prime focus for this particular investigation of potential toxic effects. The group analysed 46 counterfeit samples, including 22 Newport, six Marlboro Red and 18 Marlboro Light brands, as well as six genuine cigarettes. The research team’s study concluded that there were much higher concentrations of toxic heavy metals consistently found in counterfeit cigarettes that were seized in the U.S. compared to genuine brands.

Source: rdmag.com

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.


Global Terrorism Relying on Illicit Trade of Cigarettes

FICCI recently launched its report at MASCRADE 2017, titled Illicit Trade: Fuelling Terror Financing and Organised Crime. According to this report, many terrorist organisations, including Al Qaida, Hezbollah, Lashkar-e-Tayiba, and the Irish Republican Army, depend on illicit trade for financing up to 20% of their terror operations. Continue reading “Global Terrorism Relying on Illicit Trade of Cigarettes”