Our campaign to see the law changed to stop adults buying cigarettes for children has highlighted what many retailers believe is the true route of supply to under-18s.

We're pressing the government to acknowledge that in its fight to prevent youth smoking, the legitimate retailer is an ally, not an enemy.

In one week this month the following stories appeared in the national press: in Northern Ireland two men were arrested by customs officers investigating the smuggling of 'hundreds of millions' of cigarettes (Belfast Telegraph, July 8); Customs seized over a million cigarettes in a raid in Leicestershire (BBC News, July 13); Four Chinese nationals who imported 15 million cigarettes into the UK in a year were jailed (The Mirror, July 15).

These show how cigarettes reach the streets, with no duty paid and no concern for the age of the customer.

It's time for government and the anti-smoking lobby to accept that these are the real villains, and that this is the battleground where the war on underage smoking will be won.