'Date-rape' cigarette fear

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The Independent Online

She told medics at the Renton Clinic at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, Kent, she had not been drinking. They concluded she had smoked a US-style "spiked" cigarette, and she has been offered counselling.

The cigarettes have been nicknamed "french fries" because they are dipped in embalming fluid containing formaldehyde, which can make the smoker feel disoriented.

Harry Smith, a senior clinic nurse, said: "The recollection of what happened is very cloudy." The effects of smoking the drug-soaked cigarette were instant but short-lived, he added.

"French fry" cigarettes appeared as a date-rape risk in North Carolina in the 1990s. A study in the US found that victims suffer toxic psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and sometimes, unconsciousness.

The cigarettes taste like rubbing alcohol and smell like petrol when they burn.