The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance is calling for Westminster to scrap the tobacco tax escalator to prevent further growth in illicit trade.

The TRA’s campaign includes a new website and online petition, and encourages retailers to write to MPs and the treasury minister.

Suleman Khonat, national spokesman for the TRA, said tobacco taxes increased by more than 40% during the course of the last parliament, which has led to many smokers buying their tobacco illegally.

“It is frustrating to be on the receiving end of these relentless tax increases. It means customers are being priced out of the legitimate market, further encouraging the growing black market in tobacco.”

Smokers group Forest has launched an 'Axe the escalator' campaign, calling for the Government to freeze or reduce tobacco taxation.