[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?