Vendor claims he bought an ‘empty’ cigarette packet

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A CIGARETTE seller in Lae has called on authorities including Customs and Police to investigate the filling up of cigarette packets with cardboard papers.
Steven Fred, a Southern Highlander and an employee of a food manufacturing company in Lae, but sells cigarettes to earn “a few shillings”, last week said he had bought an empty packet for the second time in as many months.
“A particular shop in Lae (named) is selling these cigarette packets which are carefully sealed so we do not know,” he said.
Another seller who complained asked the Chinese trader  to name of the supplier.
He was told the company (named). When the supplier was checked, a manager said the got their cigarettes “straight from the manufacturer”.  
A senior employee with British American Tobacco, who declined to be named, said yesterday said there was high security monitoring from the factory to the market.
He said they protect their product “at all costs but when brands reach the market that is where it becomes insecure”.
Fred said when he asked to be refunded at the shop the shopkeeper told him to choose carefully before buying the cigarettes.
“How can I choose carefully when the cigarettes are in a packet carefully sealed with plastic,” he said.
A sign was placed in front of the counter telling customers to choose carefully before buying packets of cigarettes.
Fred said many of the cigarette sellers were getting fed up of the activity that they are now calling on the relevant authorities to investigate because whoever had been doing it is ripping them off.
“It is not only me; many people have experienced the same problem and have brought it up to the police only to be turned away so we have decided to come to the media,” he said.