Illegal cigarettes could be filled with human excrement
Officials say black market cigarettes have been filled with toxic substances
Illegal cigarettes could be filled with human excrement, dead flies and asbestos, consumers are being warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) says people should “think twice” before purchasing cigarettes from the black market as all three have been found in counterfeit cigarettes before.
The LGA said fake cigarettes also pose a fire risk, damage legitimate businesses and cost the UK economy about £3 billion in unpaid duty annually.
Authorities have seized thousands of illegal cigarettes in Wolverhampton, Bristol and Nottingham in an effort to stamp out the trade.
Officers from Trading Standards say they have found fake cigarettes hidden inside vacuum cleaners, under floorboards and in toilet cisterns.
Some have contained asbestos, mould, dust, dead flies, rat droppings and human excrement. Many feature much 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 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.
"People buying cheap cigarettes might think they are getting a great deal - but the truth is that they're not. If they knew what they might contain, they might think twice about buying them."
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
Archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old gold bongs in Russia
Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after British tourists complain of 'awkward' holidays
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...
£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...