Philip Morris is taking to the courts to challenge the tobacco display ban that came into force in Ireland earlier this year.

The tobacco giant claims the ban is anti-competitive and plays into the hands of manufacturers of cheap brands that already have a large market share.

The maker of Marlboro and L&M cigarettes is now preparing to sue the Irish government to force a reversal of the ban, which came into force in July.

“The legislation just serves to hurt genuine retailers and favour smugglers and counterfeiters to sell their illegal products,” a source told The Times.