Imperial Tobacco is fighting back against the illicit trade in tobacco by launching a novel cigarette-making kit that cuts the price of a pack of 20 JPS Silver cigarettes by over 20%.

The smoker must pay a one-off cost of £3.09 for the Make Your Own cigarette maker. The tubes (99p for a pack of 100) and tobacco (£3.60 for 14g) are sold separately.

On an ongoing basis the smoker would be able to create 20 king-size cigarettes for just £3.80, while the pre-Budget price of a pack of regular JPS Silver cigarettes the fastest growing cigarette brand in the UK according to The Grocer/Nielsen 2010 Top Products Survey was £5.08.

The cigarette-making machines have been a big hit in Germany, Imperial Tobacco said, and the time was right to launch into the UK, targeting smokers tempted to turn to the illicit trade for cheaper cigarettes.

A new category for tobacco, the kits will launch into the multiples on 1 April, and into the independent trade from 1 September.

The products will hit supermarkets first to give customers time to get used to the new concept ahead of the display ban, which is set to hit larger stores next April.

“This brand launch will ensure that cost-conscious smokers, who purchase tobacco from illicit tobacco traders, consider buying from legitimate retailers again,” said consumer marketing manager Sue Tranter.

Imperial Tobacco will also launch JPS Silver roll-your-own on 1 April, in both price-marked and non price-marked packs.

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