Retailers, wholesalers and tobacco manufacturers have slammed government moves to relax restrictions on personal imports of cigarettes and alcohol.
New guidelines drawn up by customs minister John Healey quadruple the number of cigarettes and triple the amount of hand-rolled tobacco British shoppers can bring back from overseas for personal use.
The number of cigarettes would rise from 800 to 3,200 and the amount of hand-rolled tobacco would increase from 1kg to 3kg. David Rae, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said the government had missed the point and should focus on reducing UK excise duty on tobacco products.
"Until UK duty rates are comparable with our European neighbours, the government will continue to offer incentives to a black market in tobacco."
Alan Toft, director general of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said: "The new policy is a stab in the back for the honest wholesaler and retailer."

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