The ads say that standardising cigarette packs will lead to an increase in organised crime that will end up costing tax payers more.
JTI claims that £3bn was lost last year in unpaid duty as a result of black market tobacco, adding that this figure will soar if it’s made easier to fake packaging.
The cigarette firm, which also owns the Camel and Silk Cut brands, says that with standardised packaging it will become more difficult to spot fake packs which will fuel black market tobacco sales making cheap cigarettes available to “the very people the policy is intended to protect”.
The campaign, which uses the strapline Plain Packs Don’t Make Common Sense, launches in newspapers tomorrow (29 September).
JTI has timed the campaign to coincide with the political party conference season to raise awareness of the potential impact of plain packaging proposals.
Martin Southgate, managing director for JTI UK, says: “The Government has said that it is looking to small and medium sized businesses to lead us out of the recession, however the plain packaging proposals threaten those same businesses at a time when they are most vulnerable.
“Tobacco is a key driver of turnover and footfall for community stores. Our campaign will therefore focus on explaining the issues, how the illegal trade in tobacco products is already affecting retailers, and how it could get worse.
“The UK is meant to be open for business and growth is meant to be the Governments top priority. Plain packaging will seriously undermine that.”