Tuesday 6 November 2012

We Know Someone Is Telling Porkies, But Who?

Well, this seems pretty uncontroversial, doesn't it?
[Jane Roberts, head of tobacco control with NHS Blackpool said] “The big concern is health - counterfeit cigarettes are not made to standards. 
“Some have been found to have high levels of lead and cadium".
Indeed, this is precisely what BBC's Panorama concluded last year. It was accepted as fact at the time and distributed widely amongst tobacco control professionals.
The programme showed that illegal cigarettes are up to 30 times more dangerous and toxic than standard tobacco products.
Not anymore, it seems. You see, now that the tobacco control industry is chasing plain packaging - which tobacco companies insist will increase the danger of counterfeit trade - the above is all a big fat lie, according to ASH. In response to an article in the FT, their Policy and Campaign officer categorically denied it.
Counterfeit tobacco is not more harmful
The Transcrime report argues that 'counterfeit products have been proved to cause even more serious damage to human health' than legal cigarettes. This is simply not true, indeed research by the Canadian government has concluded that contraband tobacco poses the same risk of harmful effects as legal cigarettes.
Not to you or I, of course. We were never meant to see it. This was purely directed to Anne Milton at the Department of Health until uncovered by a FOI request.

Seeing as these are two directly contradictory statements, it would appear that someone is fibbing the big one here and all the candidates are within the tobacco control industry. Place your bets, ladies and gents. Who do you think it may be?


Crossbow said...

Is this a trick question?
All of them.

JonathanBagley said...

I can find no reference to illicit thirty times more toxic other than the Panorama programme. It seems that's where it started.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ha! :)

It is increasingly difficult to believe anything they say anymore, to be sure.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Interesting one, isn't it?

You see, it's well known that the standard of 'tobacco' used in counterfeits is poor, and other ingredients find their way in. Whether the BBC's '30 times' is strictly true or not is difficult to ascertain. BUT isn't that why tobacco has been so heavily regulated over the years?

If ASH are saying that there is no difference whatsoever in harm? Why have they and their ilk spent the last few decades taking our taxes to lobby for increasing regulation on tobacco and its ingredients, nicotine, tar levels etc?

Are they just lying now? Or have they been lying for quite a few years? ;)

Angela Harbutt said...

Wales Public Health Observatory "Tobacco and Health in Wales" June 2012: page 48:
"Of concern recently has been an upward trend in the supply of ‘illicit
white’ cigarettes, which are manufactured solely for smuggling and have
been found to contain high levels of toxic metals such as cadmium and

Angela Harbutt said...

Smokfree Islington web site
"Not only does counterfeit tobacco influence community safety, it can

affect health in the community too. Tests on counterfeit cigarettes
seized in the past revealed that, compared to a genuine cigarette,
they contained 160% more tar, 80% more nicotine, 133% more
carbon monoxide and five times the level of cadmium - a cancer causing

chemical linked to lung, kidney and digestive tract damage."

Angela Harbutt said...

NHS Smokefree in Dudley
"Many dodgy cigs have also been found to contain much higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals including arsenic and cadmium."

Angela Harbutt said...

BBC South East Today

"Toxic' risk of counterfeit cigarettes sold in Sussex"

Counterfeit cigarettes being sold in Sussex contain abnormally high levels of
cancer-causing chemicals, a BBC investigation has revealed. BBC South East Today found some brands had eight times as much lead as normal cigarettes.

CyZane said...

I can tell you from experience that cigarettes not purchased from the ''more accountable'' legal cigarette industry give me (and other people I know) a persistent all day cough. Canadian antis may be saying that there is no difference, but trust me there is, at least as far as Canadian illegal cigarettes go. They were found to contain rodent feces, floor sweepings and bugs. I for one, found bugs in them that punctured little holes through the paper. So as far as the Canadian tobacco control industry goes, you can't trust a word they say.

ivandenisovich said...

I note the reference to "a large body of peer reviewed evidence" which is ASH speak for appalling unscientific nonsense published in second rate journals and reviewed by mates of the authors. Peer review used to be a gold standard before the public health industry abused it to the extent that it is now meaningless. They have made a lot of good things meaningless over the years.

John Davidson said...

The diference is counterfeit arent mellowed tobacco like marlboros are.
When you stuff in whatever tobacco can be had to make a cigarette quality control isnt part of the process.......ie leaf grading,blends etc.

John Davidson said...

Id like to see the comparison brands and levels detected.........Im sure we would all have a laugh.

John Davidson said...

Perhaps ASH is now investing in illegal tobacco companies!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

For "peer-reviewed", read "approved by my mates who paid to say the same as me". ;)

John Davidson said...

No shit man!
New Zealand Ciggie-free prisons a success story
Inmates are breathing easy following the prison smoking ban with scientists finding a greater than 50 per cent rise in air quality and – to everyone’s surprise – no major incidents since the big stub out.
Smoking was banned in New Zealand prisons on June 1 last year with stark warnings from prisoners, prison advocates, and guards of riots and disorder.
However, there were no riots and Corrections staff report a number of unforeseen benefits.
Prison services assistant general manager Rachel Leota said prisons had reported a “calmer” environment with fewer “standover” incidents now that tobacco has been taken out of circulation
Seems somebody didnt ask the jailers union HEHEHHEHE!
Smoking ban blamed for attacks on jail staff
Corrections staff are increasingly being punched, kicked, bitten and spat at by prisoners, with their union saying that is because better safety measures have not been introduced quickly enough.
Almost 20 Corrections staff were seriously assaulted by prisoners in the last financial year, figures released by the Corrections Department under the Official Information Act reveal.
Those 18 people were admitted to hospital or needed ongoing medical treatment from the physical or sexual assaults on the job.

Clarissa said...

I note that the ASH drone appears to either be confusing or conflating 'counterfeit' and 'contraband'. Whether this is deliberate I leave up to the cynical minds of the readership.

Contraband is smuggled goods; counterfeit is fake goods.

I would certainly expect the former to be no more harmful as legal cigarettes as they are the same thing - the only difference being the way in which they entered the country and what excise duty is (or isn't) paid as a result.

The latter are the the ones which, as the NHS drone said, are likely to be made to somewhat lower standards than those which tobacco companies would regard as tolerable.

ivandenisovich said...

Perhaps the authorities will not have too much more trouble spotting plain packaged counterfeits using the "secret" labels. However, smokers in the wider population might find it a bit trickier compared to the branded equivalents and they are the people who will be consuming the products. I am fairly sure that the counterfeiters have a better grasp of reality than the people at ASH and the DH seem to have.

woodsy42 said...

As Clarissa said they are very carefullly hiding the truth and misdirecting by confusing counterfeit and contraband, which are very different things. Like so many other issues nowadays - eg tax avoidance and evasion - they deliberately manipulate the language to get their way.

theprog said...

Nice to see them starting to squabble amongst themselves.

It also sends a message to counterfeiters and customers - dodgy fags are no more dangerous than kosher duty paid ones....but are about half the price. This is not good considering that they are probably much more harmful. But they aren't going to stop/reduce the illegal trade in the UK until tobacco duty is cut to a more acceptable level to the consumer. All buyers of illicit tobacco do so primarily because of cost. Making a political statement is a minor consideration for most. Besides most white van goods have probably been bought 'duty paid' in other European countries. If the latter raise tax in line with ours there will be a flood of 'fake' tobacco - organised drug dealers and smugglers don't fuck about when huge profits are to be made.

SteveW said...

How the flying fuck do they get away with saying cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, it's a product of incomplete combustion, not something that's contained in the cigarettes.

Angela Harbutt said...

Barnsley Director of Public Health
Annual Report 2008/2009
Section 2.2 Tobacco Control
"However, tests on a number of seizure samples indicate that counterfeit cigarettes contain on
average markedly higher concentrations of:

• arsenic (3 times the level of their genuine counterparts)
• cadmium (5 times)
• lead (5.8 times)

Angela Harbutt said...

Think I missed one .. "Human excrement, asbestos and dead flies: The ingredients found in fake cigarettes that cost the taxpayer billions" Survey in Birmingham from MS Intelligence reported in Daily Mail 10th September. Hmmm really ASH? less harmful than legal cigarettes. Really ?