Pacific Cigarette Company says it is under attack after cigarettes impounded by South African authorities at the Botswana-South Africa border last week were counterfeit.
Pacific Cigarette Company CEO Yves Le Boulengé said the cigarettes seized showed 11 deviations from the manufacturer’s brands.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the cigarettes seized are counterfeit. There are over 11 significant disparities with genuine Pacific cigarettes. The cigarettes that were seized are different in almost every aspect, even though these differences are virtually undetectable to the general consumer. The pack is not D-shaped, the cigarette is different, the writing on the pack is in the wrong font, the list goes on and on,” Le Boulengé said, adding the company was deeply troubled by the considerable effort to copy its brands due to strong consumer demand.
“Only through careful examination of the packs and cigarettes are we able to discern the differences between our genuine products and these counterfeits, despite our considerable investment in pack security technology. This is very concerning.”
He said South Africa, with the company’s help, seized 950 master cartons (totalling 475 000 packs) of counterfeit cigarettes in Port Elizabeth on June 14. The cigarettes were from an Asian country and fraudulently declared as furniture.
“We call upon consumers to familiarise themselves with the genuine Pacific cigarettes that are in the D-shaped pack. Anything else, other than a D-shaped pack, must be considered counterfeit. We will work with the authorities to identify and remove Pacific counterfeits from any retailer shelves,” Le Boulengé.
He said Pacific was committed to “working with the industry and law enforcement agencies to eradicate counterfeit cigarettes”.
“The South African task team model can then be replicated throughout SADC as this is a regional problem,” Le Boulengé said.