Gardai send cigs to test for asbestos
20,000 packets of infamous Jin Ling brand seized at Drogheda Market
Gardai have sent away counterfeit cigarettes seized at Drogheda Market last weekend amid fears they may contain asbestos.
The notorious Jin Ling branded cigarettes were seized after a member of the public alerted the gardaí to their presence at the market.
Some 20,000 cigarettes were seized during the operation by Drogheda gardaí.
Thousands of counterfeit CDs and DVDs were also seized during the raid at the market last weekend.
The gardaí are now in the process of having the cigarettes tested after analysis on batches of the cigarettes seized previously in Britain found them to contain industrial chemicals and asbestos.
The Jin Ling brand is the first in the world to be created exclusively for the black market and are said to be twice as strong as a normal cigarette.
Speaking on LMFM radio on Monday, Benny Gilsenan from the organisation Retailers Against Smuggling, said they welcomed the seizure and the news that the confiscated cigarettes are being analysed to assess what is contained in them.
He said the cigarettes originate from Russia and parts of Vietnam and added that while he understood the lure of cheap cigarettes for those who are compelled to smoke, he urged consumers not to risk their health by purchasing these dangerous products.
He said the symtoms of lung disease and cancer caused by inhaling cigarettes containing asbestos could take up to ten to fifteen years to show up and said by then 'the damage is done'.
Originally imported from China, the box design for the Jin Ling cigarettes resembles the American brand Camel in colour, typeface and layout, but features a mountain goat instead of a camel.
Jin Ling has grown so rapidly that law enforcement officials say it now rivals Marlboro as the top smuggled brand being seized in the European Union.
In 2007, 258 million Jin Ling cigarettes were seized by authorities in EU countries.