In a recent crackdown by Edinburgh's Trading Standards Service, 15 of the 69 stores targeted were found to be breaking the law.
The sting operation, which covered both convenience stores and multiples, found that 22% of retailers were in breach of the law, compared with 20% when a similar project was carried out in 2004.
Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive John Drummond claimed the rise was not endemic of a major trend. However, he recognised that the rogue traders reflected badly on good operators.
Drummond said: "These are ill-disciplined retailers who should be exposed for selling cigarettes to under-16s. There should be zero tolerance on this."