THE THEORY of evolution is as relevant to the tobacco industry's battle against counterfeiters as it is to the animal kingdom. As technology evolves to give the brand owners the edge, so the counterfeiter moves quickly to play catch up, with both cat and mouse becoming ever more sophisticated in efforts to gain the upper hand.

The scale of the trade in pirated tobacco brands remains immense, despite all attempts to fight the crime. More than 100 billion units of counterfeit cigarettes were produced last year in China but counterfeits ...

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