The industry has called for new strategies to fight the illicit tobacco trade.

JTI has pushed for other suppliers to withdraw support for retailers who are caught selling illegal cigarettes.

Charles Wilson, Booker chief executive, said he fully agrees with JTI on the need to address the issue, however he is more concerned with the scale of illicit trade outside of retail, labelling social media as the biggest threat.

“I think some retailers are genuinely confused because they are being offered what looks like legitimate stock,” he said.

“Independent retailers have been through one heck of a lot of beating and our job is to support them.

“We need to focus on illicit trade outside of retail – Facebook is a bigger problem.”

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