Conference hears that many smuggled packs of Jet and Hero cigarettes contain Coumarin, a fragrant organic chemical compound.
Mr. Vu Van Cuong, Chairman of the Vietnam Tobacco Association, told a conference on smuggling, transporting, and illegally trading cigarettes that large amounts of Coumarin, a fragrant organic chemical compound in the benzopyrone chemical class, has been found in smuggled cigarette packs bearing the Jet and Hero brand names. Coumarin can cause infertility and has a major effect on human health.
Criminals involved in smuggling cigarettes are aggressive, daring, and cover their tracks, he said. They even fight back when authorities pursue and arrest them.
Figures show that from October 2014 to October 2015 authorities identified 10,000 cases of smuggling, transporting and illegally trading cigarettes. There were a total of 60,000 violators, with 10.3 million packs seized. Prosecutions were made in 179 cases with 263 defendants, with penalties totaling more than VND21 billion ($930,000).
Most cases were found in Ho Chi Minh City and Long An, Tay Ninh, and An Giang in the Mekong Delta.
Deputy Minister of Finance Vu Thi Mai told the conference that smuggled cigarettes are being sold openly in restaurants, bars, and corner stores and control has proven difficult as anti-smuggling forces are inadequate and weak. Price is the major factor in their popularity.