Beware the Chinese Counterfeit Cigarettes

Oh, please. Officials should have known THIS was coming. Chinese counterfeit cigarettes cost 20 cents per pack to make and the packaging, including tax stamps, is indistinguisable from the genuine packs. Since the cost per pack is so high now due to taxes, the profit potential is enormous. Expect taxes to fall precipitously as these cigarettes are smuggled in. The profits are as high as the drug trades but the consequences of getting caught are minimal.

Cigarette counterfeiting is immensely lucrative, with profits easily rivaling those of the narcotics trade. While a pack of fake Marlboros costs 20 cents to make in China, it can fetch up to 20 times that amount in the United States. And though a drug trafficker might land a life sentence if caught, a cigarette counterfeiter usually receives a comparative slap on the wrist—a handful of years in jail or possibly a fine.

“In the last few years, pretty much every market has been targeted,” said Andrew Robinson, who directs Philip Morris International’s efforts to protect its brand. In 2001, Chinese manufacturers were producing eight different varieties of counterfeit Marlboros. As of last year, though, Chinese counterfeiters were manufacturing separate versions of Marlboro tailored for some 60 countries—down to the specific details of tax stamps and regional health warnings. As many as 99 percent of counterfeit cigarettes in the United States come from China. Read the rest here.

I can only shake my head in sadness at the gross stupidity of the politicians whose stated aim is to drive a legal product that consumers want to buy out of business and people that make a living with that legal product into unemployment and bankruptcy. I said at the time “are these jokers crazy? The only thing they will do is handicap the people that work inside the law and enable the people that work outside the law. Expect cigarette smuggling to skyrocket.”

So, here you go, dipshits. Glad that you’ve proved that you cannot reason. Even the purported reason for the tax hike (the health of the consumers) is going to take a dive. The real reason, of course, which is extracting higher tax dollars from people that are mostly poor that have no recourse as they don’t have politicians in their pocket, is also going to dive, dive, dive.

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    bonz said,

    I just bought a carton and the woman at the counter told me I beat the new tax. To be followed by another tax. My reaction was it was time to start smuggling. Apparently others beat me to it

  2. 2

    swampie said,

    Not too late for you to have a nice lil’ smuggling business on the side, Bonz!

    As a former rep for Philip Morris, I expect that the little independently owned convenience stores are gonna be eat up with counterfeit products on the shelves.

  3. 3

    bonz said,

    They did that in Chicago. Pakis went to N Carolina. Bought a loads and sold them in their convenience stores…made a killing. And that was years ago

  4. 4

    swampie said,

    Exactly who I’m thinking of. In Arizona, the convenience store owners would take our free promotional products and sell them. I’m sure that they would be happy to pay a fraction of the price for cigs and sell ’em for full price.

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