EDITORIAL — More reason not to smoke

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � More reason not to smoke

Counterfeiters have been known to fake products like movie CDs, electronics, apparel, and even appliances. Now some of them are moving on to making their own cigarettes.

During a raid in Barangay Adia in Agoncillo, Batangas, last Thursday, a joint team of the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Internal Revenue arrested 33 people, including seven Chinese nationals, for having smuggled cigarettes ?21.85 million.

But that wasn’t all, aside from having smuggled legitimate tobacco products, the authorities also said that the suspects were making their own cigarettes after they found machines used to manufacture tobacco products as well as the raw materials needed for them.

The suspects would then allegedly pass off their homemade cigarettes as branded ones.

“This is a remote area so no one will really know that they are creating counterfeit cigarettes here. They (the suspects) do not put labels on the products so when it reaches its point of destination, markings of a legitimate cigarette brand will be put in the packaging,” said Police Brigadier General Paul Kenneth Lucas, Calabarzon police director.

The government loses millions in taxes every year because of smuggled cigarettes. But never mind that, there is a more important issue here; the health hazards of a “fake” cigarette.

A cigarette itself is already a combination of dangerous chemicals and substances, but with fake ones were aren’t even sure how counterfeiters are making them, or what they are putting in them, or what they are removing from the “recipe” legit tobacco product manufacturers follow.

Which makes these fake cigarettes even more dangerous than the already-harmful and addicting legit ones.

And we also don’t know if there are similar cigarette-making operations in other places in the country.

If the dangers of smoking aren’t already enough to put people off smoking, those who smoke now have to consider that they might be puffing on something even more harmful.

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