Convenience stores are already starting to see the detrimental effects of the new tobacco regulations, according to a survey carried out by the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance.

The survey, taken just ahead of the Budget, found that 60% of small retailers said the introduction of plain packaging and other new legislation was already damaging their sales.

Standardised packaging will be fully implemented by May 20, alongside a ban on cigarette packs of less than 20 and rolling tobacco under 30g.

Other revealing figures suggested almost 100% said there was too much tax on tobacco, while 62% knew of illicit tobacco being sold locally.

Respondents said customers who could no longer purchase their regular smaller packs and who couldn’t afford the larger packs were looking to buy from alternative sources.

“These results confirm what we have long feared; that the banning of small packs and the introduction of plain packaging is having a detrimental impact on many small retailers," said national spokesman for the TRA, Cllr Suleman Khonat.

“Small retailers also believe that tax on tobacco is too high. We know that high tax is leading to the boom in black market tobacco that takes business away from legitimate traders."

In the Government's Spring Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a minimum excise tax on cigarettes back on a pack costing £7.35.