A blitz on illegal cigarette production in Guizhou province has kicked off a national campaign to check the spread of the lucrative trade. Vice-director of the State Quality Monitoring Bureau, Pan Yue, led a recent operation that raided 26 factories producing the cigarettes in Guizhou, Xinhua reported yesterday. The raids were the prelude to a nationwide campaign against the rampant spread of counterfeit cigarette production from Fujian, Guangdong and Henan provinces to other parts of the mainland, the report said. The campaign was carried out in conjunction with efforts to promote legitimate branded cigarettes to help raise local economies which had been hurt by the fake, untaxed, products, Xinhua said. Mr Pan acknowledged that present measures to stop production were inadequate. He said many manufacturers had employed advanced production technologies posing new difficulties for police. He called for joint operations among government departments in combating the trade instead of unco-ordinated efforts among different bodies. 'The root of the problem lies in regional protectionism and local leaders should be held accountable for enforcing the crackdown,' Mr Pan said. Police would also step up surveillance over the transport network and regional wholesale centres in an effort to curb the illicit business, he said.