Crackdown on dodgy fag sellers
For the first time ever in the UK, a shop owner has been found guilty of intentionally selling dangerous cigarettes, following a prosecution by Lincolnshire Trading Standards.
Mr Shapoor Atiqi (46) from Boston Food and Wine Centre, 42-44 High Street, Boston, was found guilty of eight offences*, including the sale of non self-extinguishing cigarettes today (15 May).
Since November 2011, all cigarettes produced have to comply with the European Standard EN 16156 and EN ISO 12863, which require cigarettes to be self-extinguishing.
Emma Milligan, senior trading Standards officer at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, comments:
"Mr Atiqi had almost 1,000 Jin Ling cigarettes**, which were of particular concern to us.
"Jin Ling is an illicit brand of cigarette not made to European Standards and therefore illegal in Europe.
"We believe that this type of cigarette caused a local house fire in Spalding in which one person died***, and during the course of the inquest the Coroner raised serious concerns about the sale of illegal cigarettes in the area, hence why we have been cracking down on sales of this product."
The goods were discovered in a raid carried out by Lincolnshire Trading Standards, HMRC and the police in July 2012, where over 3,480 cigarettes and 0.4kg of Hand Rolling Tobacco were seized.
The teams were assisted by Ozzie, a tobacco detection dog, funded by Lincolnshire Smoke Free Alliance.
Keiron Davey, community fire protection manager at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, comments:
"Smoking causes over 3,000 house fires every year in the UK, with smoking materials thought to cause some 30% of all house fires.
"To combat this, legal cigarettes are now designed to go out if they are not repeatedly smoked, for example if they are left burning in an ashtray, or dropped or the smoker falls asleep.
"They have thin bands of paper or ‘speed bumps’ at intervals down the length which ensure the cigarette goes out if the smoker does not regularly inhale from it. There is substantial evidence that RIP cigarettes will reduce the number of fires in the UK."
The defendant was also found guilty on non-English labelling and trademark offences.
Notes to the editor:
* 8 offences included one counterfeit offence, six trade mark offences and one product safety offence
**940 Jin Ling cigarettes were seized
*** An inquest in August 2012 into the death of June Buffham (71) of Stonegate in Spalding, heard that the likely cause of the fire she died in was smoking materials which continued to smoulder.
DATE: 20 May 2013