Forty per cent of shops in England failed underage tobacco purchase tests in 2018-2019, according to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). However, while convenience stores recorded the most illegal tobacco sales (39%), forecourt stores fared much better accounting for just 3% of illegal sales.

The 40% figure was a significant rise compared to last year’s report when 28% of shops made illegal sales.

The government wants to reduce the number of 15-year-olds who regularly smoke to 3% or less by the end of 2022. The CTSI says this is an ambitious target given that 12% of boys and 18% of girls aged 15 describe themselves as current smokers.

Although it is illegal to supply cigarettes to people under the age of 18, when questioned, 38% of regular young smokers stated that they obtained their cigarettes from shops.