Customs & Excise has stubbed out attempts by a Spanish company which sought to export 'free' cigarettes to UK customers by exploiting what they perceived to be a loophole in duty laws. The Spaniards' plan was to get around British excise regulations by 'selling' a cigarette lighter for £24.99 and enclosing 200 'complimentary' cigarettes or 250gm of 'your favourite tobacco' with every lighter sold. But Customs officials have indicated that the deal does not meet the definition of a gift. Since customers would indirectly pay for the smokes, they would still be liable for excise duty and can be seized as they come through the post. Customs could also demand duty from the recipients, who were limited to purchasing only one lighter per person. But that's Customs for you - tough on smoking, tough on the causes of smoking.
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