Southend Trading Standards and Essex Police have worked together to seize a large haul of illegal tobacco products from a shop in Southend.

The raid, which took place on Monday 7th September, was the result of tip offs from the public that there were cheap, illegal tobacco products being sold by the shop.

Dead insects, rat droppings and asbestos

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health but there are far more risks associated with illegal cigarettes and tobacco products.

Illegal products have not been made to the same standards as legal products. They can contain things that you wouldn’t dream of smoking such as dead insects, rat droppings and asbestos.

The illegal cigarettes are often disguised as genuine branded products but are sold at a much lower price – this should ring alarm bells with anyone offered such items.

Dangers of asbestos

Asbestos was widely used in the construction and shipbuilding industry in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It is known to cause a number of conditions including mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening. Whilst some conditions are only caused by heavy exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma only needs a low amount of exposure to put someone at risk of the disease.

Asbestos conditions have a latency period of between 10 and 50 years. This means that anyone exposed to asbestos won’t suffer symptoms of an asbestos condition straightaway, it will often not be until decades later that they will potentially develop a condition.

Smoking a cigarette that contains asbestos is extremely dangerous as the likelihood of inhaling asbestos fibres is high, putting the smoker at risk of developing mesothelioma later in life.

What if you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos?

Unfortunately, once the exposure to asbestos has happened, there is nothing that can be done to prevent someone from developing an asbestos condition in the future. However, if you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos we recommend the following:

  • See your GP and have the exposure to asbestos noted in your medical records. This acts as evidence of exposure, in the event that symptoms of an asbestos condition occur at some time in the future and will hopefully prompt the doctors to carry out the relevant investigations.
  • Make a note of how, when and where you were exposed to asbestos. If you were exposed to asbestos due to the negligence of an employer, you may be able to claim compensation if you develop a condition. Unfortunately, if you are exposed to asbestos from illegal cigarettes, you would not be able to claim compensation.
  • Get insurance details. If your exposure was due to the negligence of a company, ask them for their insurance details as you will need these if you want to make a claim in the future.
  • If there are any witnesses to your asbestos exposure, take their details and keep them safe as you may need their help in the future.

Asbestos conditions are rare 

Thankfully, asbestos conditions are rare and there are only a small portion of people who are exposed to asbestos go on to develop incurable asbestos conditions. However, that does not mean people shouldn’t be cautious as it is impossible to know who is susceptible to the diseases.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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