Illegal smokes pose higher risk

Illegally produced cigarettes contain up to 50 times more chemicals than the genuine item, authorities warned yesterday as they uncovered a shipment of smuggled tobacco products in northern Greece worth 1.26 million euros in import duties. A combined effort between Finance Ministry and customs officials found 447,500 packets of cigarettes hidden in a truck Wednesday that was expected to travel to Bulgaria. Authorities followed the suspicious truck from the port of Thessaloniki and found that it stopped at a storage area outside of the city rather than heading to the Greek-Bulgarian border. During a search of the depot, authorities found 74,000 more packets of cigarettes that had been made in China. Two Greek employees were arrested while police are searching for the Bulgarian driver of the truck. The deputy chief of the central Macedonia Special Inspection Service (SIS), Vassilis Giamalidis, said that illegal cigarettes have between 40 to 50 times more chemicals than normal cigarettes.