Cigarettes such as Benson & Hedges made by Gallaher and Regal from Imperial smuggled into Britain cost the Treasury £500m last year.
Customs officials told the Mail on Sunday that one in five cigarettes smoked in the UK was either smuggled or counterfeit. Last week 10 Poles were arrested at Felixstowe with 44 million counterfeit cigarettes from China.
Meanwhile, the debate continues in Britain over whether cigarette packets should carry disturbing images of cancer-infested organs to remind smokers of the realities of smoking. This follows in Canada’s footsteps, where the packets contain images of damaged hearts and lungs.