No, the cigarettes supplied by by Philip Morris USA most definitely do not contain the above. However, according to the authorities, some of the counterfeit cigarettes supplied by organised criminals do.
As well as containing asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and human excrement these items contain higher levels of toxic ingredients such as tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, lead, cadmium and arsenic than genuine cigarettes.
Councillor Joanna Spicer, vice chair of the Local Government Authority LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “Counterfeit tobacco being sold cheaply through the black market by rogue traders is hampering council efforts to reduce smoking. This illicit trade is also funding organised criminal gangs, damaging the livelihoods of honest businesses and costing taxpayers billions of pounds a year.
The British Gazette’s reply to Councillor Spicer:
This organ is just as appalled at this dreadful situation as you are. However, we see a different solution. There are many depressing aspects to living in this world; one of which is the complete stupidity of some of our fellow humans. To voluntarily purchase a product that is known to shorten your life is one of the greatest acts of foolishness there is. The question is: What to do about it?
No doubt you will claim that the policy of discouraging people to stop smoking is having great success. No doubt you will claim that the numbers smoking have declined.
Both of these things are true. The result is that many people are living longer. The fact that people are living longer brings with it the problem of an increasing cost of care for the elderly for whereas many people conveniently died between 60 and 70 saving the taxpayer a fortune, they now die between 80 and 90 costing the taxpayer a fortune.
Much of the decrease in smoking has been due to the increasing cost of tobacco products as governments have tried to discourage by price hikes. This of course hits the poor the most and it is the poor who are the largest group of smokers.
This tactic of course has caused criminals to become involved in supplying contraband products as they can make money whilst still undercutting the legal suppliers who have to pay the UK Duty.
Organised crime has become a very great problem in the UK. We already have a huge problem with illegal drugs.
Despite the best efforts of the police and the customs, these illegal products still get through and can be brought on the streets of our cities.
OK then, what do we do about it?
Well – to quote Tony Blair – on one level “Education, Education, Education” is the key. Resources are and should continue to be directed at educating children that smoking or taking drugs is not “cool” but “crazy.” That people who do such are “losers.” We understand that amongst the young, to be called “a loser” is a huge insult.
But we have to defeat the criminals as well.
We have tried the prohibition strategy for long enough. Sadly, we will never stop all drugs from getting through. Legalisation of drugs and reducing the price of legal tobacco products to ensure that criminals are no longer interested in selling same is the way we believe to do it.
That is not to say the supply of such should not be controlled and regulated. Indeed, legalisation and a slash in duty demands that strict controls and regulation must apply.
What is needed is this:
That tobacco products and such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin must be sold in special retail outlets that supply only these products. These products should not be available through other retail outlets. Furthermore, any person wishing to purchase such products must be registered. This will mean that they will have to register with a retailer, show evidence of identity and that they are over the age of 18. Becoming registered will mean that they or their executors cannot sue for any illness or death so caused. It will also mean that the state can (and will) claim 100% of their estate when they die.
Registered users will then be able to buy these products at prices that are not excessive and are therefore affordable.
This will have the following advantages:
For tobacco users: these mostly poor people will not be further reduced to penury.
For cannabis, cocaine and heroin users: these people will be assured that the substances they chose to abuse themselves with will not have been cut with dangerous substances and will be of a guaranteed quality. For heroin the substance would presumable be supplied in disposable units that will allow the user to inject themselves with sterile equipment.
Such a policy would have the following advantages for the rest of us: Currently, these drug addicts commit crime on a repeated basis in order to buy their fix from criminal dealers. A legal low cost supplier would avoid this. Furthermore the sterile and regulated supply will mean a less dangerous fix. Legal low cost supply would of course mean that the criminals would loose their business.