As disturbing as this story is, it’s a must read in light of the epidemic of illegal smoke shacks popping up around Caledonia)
Most people would think they know what is in the cigarettes they are smoking. If the cigarettes were smuggled and you bought them off the street, think again.
Contraband cigarettes and tobacco that were seized in B.C. were found to have insect eggs, dead flies, mold, and even human feces! RCMP labs have been testing counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes that were seized in 2006, also found some cigarettes that were entirely stuffed with tobacco stems.
“You never know what you’re smoking,” notes Cpl. Norm Massie of the RCMP’s Border Integrity Unit. “People think cigarettes are cigarettes are cigarettes. That’s not true.”
(Edit: As someone who is a smoker and used to buy these to save a buck, I now have to seriously wonder exactly what I was breathing in. I stopped doing so when I joined Caledonia Wakeup Call and was informed where these come from and where the profits go, but to anyone out there considering saving some coin by heading to the reserve for their smokes, give serious thought to how many dead flies and pieces of human crap you want to subject your lungs to.
The story used to be that these were simply imported from China and that’s what makes them cheap, but even if you subscribe to that belief, consider the various recalls of products from China lately due to poisons and date rape drugs in toys, and ask youself what you’re getting in a completely unregulated product.)
“People think it’s a great deal,” Vancouver’s chief medical officer, Dr. John Blatherwick said.. “The truth is, they’re not getting a great deal. They’re getting a lousy deal. You don’t know what’s in them, though it might even be safe to smoke some of that stuff than tobacco. You could be taking all sort of things into your lungs. You’re opening your body up to a whole bunch of things you have no control over.”
Dr. John Blathetwick also compares buying street smokes to buying street drugs because you just never know what you are actually getting. It can be quite dangerous.
Yet, Cpl. Norm Massie reveals that despite all the warnings about health problems associated to tobacco and the new warnings about the hazards of contraband products, the illegal market for cigarettes is growing in B.C.
Between 2003 and 2006, there has been 1,302 cigarette seizures which totals more than 177 million cartons, according to Canada Border Services Agency. The total value of those seizures was more than 32 million dollars.
Typically illegal cigarettes enter B.C. via ports with China, Korea, and India as the major exporters. Police also reveals that they have seen large quantities of cigarettes smuggled over the Canada-U.S. border.
Cpl Norm Massie added that while smuggling contraband cigarettes rarely gets the same attention as the illicit drugs that get smuggled across B.C. borders, it is an emergency RCMP priority.