SMOKERS tempted to buy counterfeit fags and tobacco are being warned not to because they might have sand, plastic or arsenic in them.
The warning has come from Barnsley Council which has recently employed two enforcement officers to deal with counterfeit, bootlegged and niche tobacco products, as well as illicit and counterfeit alcohol.
Coun Roy Miller said: "In a time when every penny counts, some smokers may be tempted to take up the offer of the man down the pub or in town selling cheap cigarettes or alcohol.
"While fake cigarettes do contain tobacco, there are also several other ingredients in there too that you may not have bargained for.
"It's not uncommon to find sand, plastic and other toxic material such as arsenic and benzene."
The council said laboratory analysis of fake cigarettes has found up to 75 per cent more tar, 28 per cent more nicotine and about 63 per cent more carbon monoxide than those from legitimate manufacturers.
Officers also warned how some counterfeit booze has been found to contain potentially harmful levels of chemicals such as solvent, paint remover, petrol booster and chloroform, which is used in dyes and pesticides.
• To report anyone offering for sale counterfeit cigarettes / tobacco products or alcohol, in confidence, on 772468.
Most read news stories