The UK market for roll-your-own tobacco is now worth £1bn a year after sales rose almost a fifth in the past year.

Retail sales of RYO tobacco hit a new high of £1.026bn in the 12 months to July, according to data from AC Nielsen.

RYO sales rose 19% by value and 16.5% by volume over the period. Volumes have now shown double-digit rises three times in the past five years.

“This is a significant milestone for the RYO market,” said a spokesman for Imperial Tobacco’, whose brands include Golden Virginia and Drum. “We are proud that Golden Virginia continues to lead the market, accounting for around half of this figure.”

Overall tobacco sales in 2009 stood at £11.3bn.

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