Bootleg Russian Cigarettes Contain Asbestos

A Daily Mail article reports that a bootleg brand of Russian cigarette contains asbestos, warning consumers to avoid purchasing them. With the name “Jin Ling” and “USA” written across the front of their light yellow packaging, the cigarettes are believed to have been created specifically for the black market, the U.K. news source reports. A warning from the trading standard chiefs in England explains the toxic smokes were “reportedly offered around British pubs and clubs,” the Daily Mail explains. According to the article, “Many of those tested have been revealed to contain toxins such as industrial chemicals and asbestos-lined Chinese drywall.” They are also believed to be “twice as strong as an ordinary cigarettes [sic],” the article explains. Asbestos fibers pose a significant respiratory threat when inhaled, leading to devastating illnesses like asbestosis and mesothelioma, which often appears only decades after initial exposure. Currently, mesothelioma has no cure and carries a poor prognosis. Treatments for the disease remain limited and individuals are cautioned to avoid exposure to the dangerous fiber whenever possible. The Daily mail goes on to report that a man came forward and indicated he was offered 200 of the bootleg cigarettes in a club for a reduced cost when compared to other brands. However, the article explains the man refused the offer, having never heard of the brand of that cigarette before. His decision was fortunate, the Daily Mail reports, because last year “the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning after the emergence of Jin Ling cigarettes in other European countries.” Furthermore, the article reports that a WHO spokesman called Jin Ling cigarettes “‘the most disturbing new development anywhere in the world in the illegal tobacco trade,’” saying the illegal products are “‘flooding into Europe.’” Because the brand is manufactured to be smuggled, the article explains, it is not meant to be sold in legitimate shops, meaning no quality control standards are used in the cigarettes’ production. That lack of regulation means sellers of this illegal brand have no obligation to control who they sell to, despite the public risks. Startlingly, this lack of regulation on these cigarettes means they can also be sold to children more easily, the article explains. Although children rarely contract mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, early exposure to these cigarettes might allow for the lethal consequences of asbestos to fully impact these individuals, putting their health in jeopardy for the rest of their lives. References: Daily Mail Staff Writer. (February 1, 2011) “Bootleg cigarettes contain ASBESTOS, trading standards chief warns.” Retrieved on February 9, 2011 from the Daily Mail. Previous: Mississippi Asbestos Bill Dies in Committee Next: TomoTherapy Advances in Mesothelioma Treatment