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Counterfeit cigarettes are commonly made in the Far East and Eastern Europe. They are low quality tobacco and run the risk of being mixed with other chemicals. Smokers purchasing smuggled cigarettes and tobacco have no guarantee they are purchasing the genuine product.
Often people that buy counterfeit cigarettes believe they are buying the genuine product, as differences between genuine and counterfeit packaging are small and difficult to identify. Forty six per cent of people say they would not buy them again if they thought they were counterfeit.
How can I tell if cigarettes are counterfeit?
Price - If cigarettes are being sold cheaply they are often counterfeit or smuggled. Even if they have the 'UK Duty Paid' stamp, they still may be counterfeit and not the genuine article.
Taste - If the taste of the cigarettes is different they are likely to be a copy of the genuine brand.
If you have any suspicions or knowledge about smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco you can anonymously contact Customs Confidential Hotline on 0800 59 5000.
Smuggled tobacco is often sold for about half of the retail price. This is because it is smuggled into the country avoiding excise taxes and can be sold on cheaply.
The problems with tobacco smuggling are:
Tobacco is often smuggled with other illicit goods such as class A drugs, alcohol and counterfeit clothing.
Customs Hotline on Tel: 0800 595 000 are ready and waiting to take your call about all types of smuggling, particularly in respect of drugs, illegal alcohol or tobacco sales.
Calls make from UK landlines to this number are FREE and completely confidential.