One in five c-stores could be forced to close as a result of tobacco smuggling.
This is the worrying statistic to emerge from a survey by Retailers Against Smuggling, which also warns that a third of retailers have considered staff cuts to compensate for the effects of smuggled tobacco.
Leicester retailer and national spokesman for Retailers Against Smuggling, Ken Patel, said: "How are we expected to compete with the smugglers when they can offer cigarettes for half the price that we can?
"What the government needs to grasp is that the only reason smugglers target the UK is because the high tax levels in this country provide the greatest potential profit in the EU."
The poll also found that 44% of shopkeepers were aware of counterfeit tobacco being sold in their area, up from 35% last year.
The group called for the government to use the next Budget to bring UK taxes in line with the rest of the EU.