General — 14 February 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego

Over 40 million cigarettes were destroyed by incineration on Tuesday in Chetumal by the Mexican authorities, including the Tax Administration Service and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris), who said that the cigarettes had been smuggled into the country from Belize, Vietnam, India, China, Canada, Paraguay and the United States.

They were confiscated in areas of Yucatan, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

According to El Diario de Chetumal, the cigarettes were seized in 2013 through 15 procedures, because the products were not in compliance with General Law for the Control of Snuff and Regulations, which requires, among other features, the inclusion of legends, pictographs, pictures, health messages, labeling, and warnings, in the packaging of the cigarettes.

From 2013 to the present, over 204.5 million illegal cigarettes have been confiscated. The products destroyed carried labels like Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Pride, Jack Black, Chiapas, Ultima, Red Smoke, Meridian, Runaway, Paradize, Win, Miura, The Smart, XO, Valentine, and Alamo, among others

The General Manager of Customs, of the National Bureau of Snuff, in the the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Addictions (Cenadic), Ana Espinosa Marlene Martinez, said that the products entering the country through the border with Belize circumvent the payment of taxes and/or health regulations.

She went on to say that the illegal trade in cigarettes causes revenue losses to the country’s treasury of about $5,800 million pesos a year, and also, the contraband cigarettes pose a health risk to those who use the products because they do not meet minimum quality standards.

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