YEAR: 2011 / DURATION: 29 MINS / DIRECTOR : Pauline Liétar/ PRODUCTION: TONY COMITI PRODUCTIONS / AVAILABLE VERSIONS : FRENCH
PREVIOUS BROADCASTS INCLUDE France 2, SIC and Media Content Store
With the price of tobacco ever increasing, more and more smokers are buying their cigarettes on the black market. Today as many as a third of cigarettes are bought elsewhere than over the counter, through Duty free or over the internet. However there is also another source that is becoming more and more significant: that of counterfeit cigarettes. The larger brands are easily copied. Same packets, same logo same health warning… Everything seems identical, except for the tobacco itself. However these are much more harmful than the real ones. Indeed laboratories found charcoal, bits of plastic and even insect excrement inside the tobacco. Despite this, millions of these counterfeit cigarettes are produced in China in illegal, underground factories and sold cheaply across Europe. We head to China to investigate just how easy it is to get hold of these cigarettes but also to understand the scale of their production. These dangerous "fake" cigarettes are thought to be a primary source of income for the country but also perhaps its best kept secret.