DON'T be tempted by cheap counterfeit cigarettes as they may actually be even worse for your health than the real ones.

Fakes like those confiscated from a car in Barrow (see page 2) may seem like a bargain but can contain arsenic, pesticides and rat poison, so you're never quite sure exactly what you're smoking.

According to health bodies, they can also contain more cancer-causing toxins than normal cigarettes, and their easy availability is undermining efforts to help people quit smoking.

Millions of the illegal cigs are coming into the UK every year and are sold on the black market to avoid paying tax.

Dodgy tobacco sellers are coaxing kids into buying them at pocket money prices and in the past trading standards officers have even uncovered the contraband hiding in boxes of sweets.

Many dealers are linked to even more serious criminal activity, meaning children who buy them to look cool in front of their mates could end up caught up in drugs or with loan sharks.

The counterfeit fags look almost identical to well-known UK brands but can be spotted because the packaging usually contains a foreign health warning with no picture.

So if you are a smoker, please heed the advice of the authorities and make sure you buy your cigarettes from a reputable retailer.

And if you know where illegal tobacco is being sold please report it.