Fake cigarettes go up in smoke

2011-06-24 08:52

Millions of fake cigarettes were destroyed in Durban today, the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa said.

“Over 5 million counterfeit cigarettes bearing Philip Morris International trademarks were seized in the port of Durban in 2008,” said the institute’s Chairperson Francois van der Merwe.

The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa was assisted by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) in burning the cigarettes which bore Philip Morris International trademarks, but were not made by that company, he said.

Van der Merwe said more than R2 million in excise tax and VAT would have been lost to Sars if the cigarettes found their way into the South Africa market.

“The illicit trade in cigarettes currently comprises more than 20% of the total cigarette market in South Africa, which equates to approximately 6 billion illegal cigarettes per year,” he said. 

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