Plain fag packets could lead to killer cigarettes


AN INTERNATIONAL crime expert has warned that if the Government go ahead with their plans to alter tobacco packaging then smokers could be at risk from killer fake cigarettes.

The Scottish Government are set to make a decision this week on whether or not to change fag packets to a new plain and unbranded box.

Supporters of the move such as Cancer Research UK claim the cosmetic shake-up will help put off kids from lighting up.


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But Roy Ramm, former Commander of Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard, said that it could open the door to smugglers who flood the streets with knock-off cigarettes containing arsenic, asbestos and even rat poison.

He said: “The people who bring these things in are serious criminals. They certainly aren’t going to have any regard for health and the content of the cigarettes.

“Analysis shows each fake cigarette is 50 times more dangerous than an ordinary cigarette – some have even been shown to contain arsenic, asbestos or rat poison.”

Mr Ramm has investigated the underworld nature of the illegal tobacco trade for more than 30 years.

He said it would be “disastrous” if the packaging were to change as it is the only tool that allows customers to tell what is genuine and what is fake.

Mr Ramm added: “The counterfeiters won’t have to replicate the style of labelling or printing.

“The government needs to think about the consequences.”

But Cancer Research UK maintains that if the move is given the go-ahead then it will not have any impact on smuggling.

A Scottish Government spokesman said a decision has not been made yet.

The spokesman said: “Any decision will be taken only after consideration is given to consultation responses, evidence and other relevant information.

“Tobacco use remains one of Scotland’s most significant public health challenges.”

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  1. I’m 1 of Scotland’s 6 Cancer Campaigns Ambassadors and this argument that plain packaging will lead to smuggling is untrue. The customs markings which exist on the packs at the moment, which differentiate between fake packs and legal packs, will still be present on the plain packs therefore smuggling will not happen. Can I saw well done to the Scottish Government for considering this policy. Cancer is a huge problem in Scotland and indeed throughout the United Kingdom and it’s time we started implementing policies to deal with this problem to end the suffering of patients and families. Tobacco marketing through packaging is nothing more, in my opinion, than the commercialisation of a cancer causer. It’s time to stop the politics and work together to put a stop to the spread of cancer and stop the heartache felt by cancer suffered and their families.

  2. Indeed I truly believe plain packs will help put off kids from lighting up….FACT!
    If you don’t want your children to start smoking, please read on:

    As you have seen from the absurd comment above, ( AN INTERNATIONAL crime expert has warned that if the Government go ahead with their plans to alter tobacco packaging then smokers could be at risk from killer fake cigarettes.) I’d like to bring your attention to the following information, you may have already seen in the papers that one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, JTI (Japan Tobacco International), is spending £2million on an advertising blitz for their campaign against the plain packaging of tobacco. Groups funded by
    the tobacco industry are ramping up their campaigns against this measure that will save lives by helping to cut smoking.

    Plain packaging

    50,000 of you have already supported our campaign to remove the glitzy branding from cigarettes, so that all packs look the same, a standard size and colour with prominent picture health warnings. Plain packaging isn’t about penalising smokers, or trying to get current smokers to quit, it’s about giving millions of children one less reason to start smoking in the first place.

    Top quality evidence shows that putting cigarettes in plain packs makes them less attractive to children. This is why we’ve taken a strong stance in favour of introducing plain packaging in the UK, as have other health experts, including the World Health Organisation.

    Smoking is responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths, and eight in ten smokers start by the age of 19. Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer, and when they have clear evidence that a measure will help reduce smoking rates, they have a duty to act. Their proud as am I to champion this vital public health measure.

    Taking a stand against ‘Big Tobacco’
    The tobacco companies say there is no evidence – but these are the same companies who spent decades claiming smoking did not cause cancer. In our experience, the more a tobacco company protests about a policy, the more successful it will be.

    This summer millions of you are running races, giving regular donations or even climbing Mount Everest so that one day we can beat cancer. Plain packaging is a part of the answer, so I ask you all on behalf of CRUK who need your help now.

    Sign the petition

    Please sign -the petition for plain packs in the last remaining days of the campaign. CRUK don’t have the bottomless pockets of the tobacco industry, but they’ve got the passion of their supporters.

    Thank you for all your support.

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