OPINION: The risk of an illegal smoke

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We all know that smoking is bad for our health but by saving a few pounds buying illegal tobacco you could be hurrying along your demise.

The illicit tobacco trade – which costs the UK economy about £3 billion a year in unpaid duty – not only leaves a hole in the exchequer’s pocket but is also a Russian roulette of chemicals and other matter that will be pumped into a user’s body.

Raids by trading standards officers nationwide have netted millions of illegal cigarettes.

As well as fears about crime and tax evasion, there are health concerns for those smoking such products.

When analysed, some illegal cigarettes contained dead flies, human excrement and abnormally high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

It’s easy to see why people may be tempted to buy illegally.

A genuine packet of rolling tobacco costs £16.98 – but in Sheffield a fake pouch of hand-rolling Amber Leaf was on sale for £3.50.

The risks of smoking are well-known, however is it worth putting yourself in a position where the effects could be even worse?

The crackdown is welcome, even if it means that people are being saved from themselves.