CUSTOMS officers of the 15 European Union (EU) member countries seized "several million" packets of counterfeit cigarettes in 2002, a sharp increase in criminal activity in the tobacco sector over the previous year. A European Commission report said that some seized cigarettes seized "had a rate of nicotine or tar double or triple that indicated on the packet". Brussels said this reflected a trend where counterfeiters are moving downmarket from luxury products to everyday consumer items.

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