The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into price fixing in the tobacco trade and has written to all tobacco manufacturers and some retailers requesting information.
The watchdog said it had reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of the 1998 Competition Act.
No timescale has been set for the investigation and the OFT was unwilling to divulge any further information.
The probe follows an investigation into Imperial Tobacco that began in February to examine the terms and conditions of the supply of Rizla rolling papers to UK trade customers after a complaint was filed by Swedish Match UK - maker of Swan cigarette papers (The Grocer, June 21, p5). The OFT spokeswoman said the two investigations were not linked.
The Tobacco Manufacturers Association would not comment on the investigation.
Tobacco manufacturers Gallaher and Imperial Tobacco both confirmed they had received a request for information and were co-operating with the OFT. British American Tobacco was unavailable for comment.