Tobacco manufacturer JTI (Ireland) has severed its trading relationship with an Irish retailer it believes has been selling counterfeit versions of its products. The decision is believed to be the first time a supplier has taken such action.

Recent reports (Convenience Store, August 21) suggest that the illicit trade in smuggled and counterfeit tobacco products is rife in Ireland, and JTI’s drastic action part of its policy of zero tolerance towards the problem is a warning to retailers who are tempted by cut-price fakes.

JTI Ireland general manager Martin Southgate said: “In this instance we have no option but to cease trading immediately with this retailer. The illicit sale of tobacco is a huge problem for the Irish economy and retailers in general. We need to ensure an immediate halt to this trade.”

Retailer Peter Walsh of Cork backed the move and said it would demonstrate to those who may be tempted by the black market that there are huge consequences for both them personally and their business.

“Retailers should demand that the government does all it can to counteract the sale of illicit tobacco, in particular in certain street markets,” he said.