An old[clarification needed] British pack of Regal cigarettes, with an English text warning at the bottom of the pack
|Produced by||Imperial Tobacco|
Originally released as Embassy Regal,[when?] the brand became very popular and was a coupon cigarette until around 1999. They are classed as a "premium" brand cigarette and one of the most expensive available in the United Kingdom. Regal are very popular in Scotland, Northern Ireland and in the north of England; further south Regal's sister brand Embassy is more popular. Regal is available in king size and regular filter size.
In the 1990s, Imperial Tobacco launched an advertising campaign called "Reg on Smoking" that featured an everyman named Reg who offered his dad-humor insights on various subjects. The first ad read, "Reg on Smoking: I smoke 'em because my name's on 'em." As he held his fingers over the 'al' in Regal. More adverts followed, such as "Reg on train-spotting: "There's one."" and "Reg on party politics: "If you drop ash on the carpet you won't get invited again."". The campaign was eventually banned because medical researchers discovered that the stupid humor of the ads appealed mostly to young adolescents, whereas adults 33-55 years old, who were supposedly the target group for the campaign, didn't identify much with Reg.
Counterfeit Chinese cigarettes smuggled into and sold in the UK
In April 2002, it was reported that a quarter of all the cigarettes smoked in Great Britain were thought to be counterfeits produced in illegal factories in China using the sweepings of workshop floors.
Wrapped in cellophane, the cheap packets of Regal and Silk Cut cigarettes carried HM Government's official health warning and looked like the real thing. They should, however, carry a second warning: Counterfeited in China. Every year, billions of these highly toxic cigarettes - which had no connection with genuine Regal or Silk Cut products - were bought from shady middlemen by British smokers who believe that all they were doing was cheating the taxman of his cut. The reality is that they were smoking cigarettes produced not in hygienic factories in the West, but in scruffy little workshops in China, and what they very often were smoking the sweepings of a dirty floor. It is thought that more than 100 billion counterfeit cigarettes were produced annually in the villages of the remote area on the border between the Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The newsreporter visited one makeshift factory at the end of a rutted track concealed by a line of banana trees. In this dilapidated house with mildewed granite walls, gangs of men scurried around carrying pots of chemicals; outside, a diesel generator powered the machines that churned out 250,000 cigarettes a day. Wiry workers chopped rough-cut tobacco leaves on the ground, mixing them with sawdust and dirt before shovelling them into the machine. Other men, evidently more senior and significantly more portly, measured out white powders and red liquids from containers of chemicals, adding them to the heaps of tobacco. Once packaged and boxed, the cigarettes left on a truck at dusk. From there it was a six-hour haul to a warehouse in the port of Xiamen, from where they would be dispatched abroad. Within three weeks, they would be on sale in Britain to smokers who will think they are getting a genuine, duty-free bargain.
The Treasury estimated that Chinese counterfeits accounted for at least one quarter of all the cigarettes sold in Britain in 2001, costing the taxpayer £2.5 billion in lost revenue. The Chinese counterfeits contained high levels of tar, nicotine and banned chemicals: a powerful, carcinogenic cocktail. "Counterfeit cigarettes are made with very poor quality and dangerous ingredients." said Chen Yisheng, deputy secretary of the China Smoking and Health Association. "They are a very grave hazard to health".
Romanian lorry driver caught smuggling counterfeit cigarettes in baguettes
In December 2016, it was reported that a Romanian lorry driver had been jailed for trying to smuggle three million cigarettes into the UK inside mouldy baguettes.
Simion Bocan, 23, used soggy, raw and mouldy bread to conceal boxes of Regal King-Size cigarettes in his attempt to swerve the £8,000 tax bill on them. Bocan, from Transylvania, Romania, was caught in the act by Border Force officers in October of 2015. Evidence shows that a trial run was made a few days earlier using the same bread and was successful. Bocan fled the UK while on bail and a European Arrest Warrant was issued to hunt him down. He was eventually discovered in Romania and was brought back to the UK in July 2016 to face his trial. Alan Tully, Assistant Director of the Fraud Investigation Service, said: "Bocan smuggled a substantial quantity of illegal cigarettes into the UK and fled the country to avoid paying for his crimes. However, no-one is beyond HMRC's reach, and with the co-operation of our overseas partners he is now behind bars".
Bocan pleaded not guilty to the crime at Maidstone Crown Court on August 31 but changed his plea to admit guilt on December 8. He has since been jailed for four years and three months.
In May 2017, it was reported that trading standards officers had found illegal tobacco at a Gloucester shop on multiple occasions, with increasingly unusual hiding places.
In the latest visit to the shop, located in Eastgate Street, Gloucester, trading standards officers carried out a thorough inspection of the shop floor and outside yard. In the yard, they found a holdall near the fence which looked out of place. Opening it, they found 131 packets of cigarettes and 24 pouches of hand rolling tobacco. Closer inspection of the fence revealed that it contained a hidden compartment, hinged to swing open like a door containing a further 390 packets of cigarettes and 110 pouches of tobacco. Brands seized include Marlboro, Regal, Mayfair, Richmond and Minsk cigarettes and Golden Virginia and Amber leaf tobacco. It was expected that examination of the Mayfair, Richmond and Regal cigarettes would confirm they were counterfeit. The shop would have made approximately £3000 from selling the seized items, and in doing so would have avoided paying approximately £7,500 in duty.
Andy Hermiston, head of trading standards, said: "This demonstrates the degree of sophistication involved in the sale of illegal tobacco. The hiding place has taken time and effort to create, suggesting a highly profitable activity. Trading standards will continue to prosecute shop owners who sell illegal tobacco from their shops".
Regal is mainly sold in the United Kingdom, but also was or still is sold in The Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United States.
- Regal King Size 20 Pack
- Regal Filter 20 Pack
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