Europa – press releases – press release – “operation sirocco”: 40 million cigarettes seized in joint customs operation

IP/10/1275

Brussels, 1 October 2010

Operation Sirocco 40 million cigarettes seized in joint customs operation

Around 40 million cigarettes, 1 243kg of hand rolled tobacco, 7 038 litres of alcohol and 8 million other counterfeit items including clothing, shoes, toys and electronics, were seized during a joint customs cooperation, coordinated by the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF). Operation Sirocco , which also led to the arrest of 3 suspected cigarette traffickers, was a joint project carried out by the EU and 11 partner countries from the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The final results of this operation, which was conducted in June 2010, were made public today at a meeting in Amman, Jordan.

Algirdas emeta, Commissioner for taxation, customs, anti fraud and audit, said Customs operations not only safeguard the EU s financial interests but also protect our citizens and legitimate businesses. Operation Sirocco shows the great results we can achieve by working in cooperation with our international partners to combat smuggling and fraud. I would like to congratulate all participants for their efforts in this joint customs operation and strongly encourage more such joint actions in the future.

The joint customs operation code named “SIROCCO” focused on deep sea containers loaded in China or the United Arab Emirates and arriving in countries of the Union for the Mediterranean. The aim of the operation was to identify consignments suspected of containing counterfeit or smuggled genuine cigarettes, as well as other counterfeit and illegal goods. The seizures made during this operation on cigarettes alone averted potential losses of customs duties and taxes in the EU of approximately 8 million. The 40 million cigarettes seized equal the yearly consumption of 5 000 persons smoking 20 cigarettes per day.

SIROCCO involved customs authorities from the 27 EU Member States and 11 Non EU partner countries from the Union for the Mediterranean (Albania, Croatia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinian Authority, Montenegro, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) with the support of the European Commission, the World Customs Organization (WCO), Europol and Interpol.

The operation was coordinated at OLAF headquarters in Brussels via a Permanent Operational Co ordination Unit staffed with customs liaison officers from 9 EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Romania), Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, as well as one liaison officer from Europol.

In the past, several other joint customs operations such as “Diabolo II” were held by OLAF and successfully led to the seizures of millions of counterfeit cigarettes and other items (see IP/10/99 and MEMO/10/23).

For more information, see

MEMO/10/466

Eu wanting to eliminate current electronic cigarettes

EU Wanting To Eliminate Current Electronic Cigarettes Author Olivia &bull Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

According to the new proposed European Union legislation, every electronic cigarette product that is now available in Britain will be removed from the shelves and banned. In a confidential compromise document draft by the European Commission, it was believed that it seeks to knock over a vote by the MEPs to reject the prohibition of the current form of electronic cigarettes.

According to the draft, officials in Brussels are worried of the dangers in the possibility of ecigs being used as gateway to real smoking. Thus, they would like to include these smoke free alternatives under the new Tobacco Products Directive although there is no tobacco in them.

Enraging Ecig Suppliers

No entrepreneur would be happy if the business is being threatened by unreasonable legislation. Thus, this bid to outlaw ecigarettes really annoyed suppliers from Britain where there are about 1.3 million out of the 10 million smokers who have switched and are now using electronic cigarettes.

Totally Wicked is an ecig supplier located in Lancashire. Its Chief Executive Officer Fraser Cooper accused the officials of the European Union to introduce this prohibition by the back door, non cooperating with the European Parliament.

He said that the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats are drafting proposals that will deny millions of smokers (former and current) of the safer tobacco cigarette alternatives behind closed doors.

A Ban In Town

The proposal came at the same times as a northern France town held the position to be the first to enforce an ecig ban in all its public buildings.

The town was Saint Lo in La Manche in the Normandy region. Mayor Fran ois Digard passed the decree last month of November that essentially outlaws electronic cigarettes. This was after several incidents of complaints from the town residents.

In the country of France, there are about 1.5 million users of the smoke free alternatives. Country officials are said to be still considering a similar ban, but the town mayor obviously made a move in advance because bad tempered non smokers are intensely complaining about ecig users and their billowing clouds of vapor even inside public libraries.

Mayor Digard said that ecigs are not accepted neutrally in the immediate surroundings. The devices emit a bit of smoke and odor that bothers other people, he said.

Banned By Some Establishments

Also in Britain, JD Wetherspoon, a chain of pubs and other train operators have already enforced their ecig bans.

With cigarette smoking highly opposed and intensely stigmatized ecig sales have raised significantly. Like real cigarettes, ecigs also deliver nicotine, but the process involved in the operation of these devices differs from real cigarettes.

Dangerous Smoking Simulation

Ecigs do not produce smoke from combustion, but vapors from vaporization. Thus, there are no tar, toxins and other inconveniences. Considered healthier compared to tobacco by its proponents but heavily antagonized by some health officials.

Last week in Netherlands, the public health institute there has published a policy paper wherein it was claimed that ecigarettes cause the same harm as ordinary cigarettes. They are likewise addictive and have some poisonous substances, the paper said.

In Britain and throughout EU, ecigarettes are not bound by the laws on tobacco since they contain no tobacco.

Officials reportedly, were worried since ecig use closely mimics the act of smoking. They are likewise believed to be heavily marketed to the youth.

In accordance to the proposal, if approved it would ban by 2017 all ecigarettes producing nicotine levels that are more than 20 mg/ml. Supplier claim that all current products would mostly be eliminated if ever.

Flavors that are used in nicotine replacement therapies and all other flavors that attract the youth shall be wiped out, the paper stated. If this ban is approved by 2017, about 5 million ecig users will be deprived of their alternatives and possibly just go back to smoking tobacco.

According to Conservative MEP Martin Callanan, it will be crazy to force ecigs off the shelves. These ecigs serves as valuable support for smokers in desperation to quit they potentially could reduce the number of unnecessary deaths.

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