The chairman of an influential House of Commons select committee investigating the tobacco trade hosted a parliamentary reception funded by a cigarette giant, the Observer has established.
Anti-smoking lobbyists have welcomed much-delayed government plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging.
Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized in St Helens as part of a campaign to tackle rogue traders.
Seven men have been jailed after HM Revenue and Customs smashed a £28million cigarette smuggling ring.
A FORMER greengrocer who turned to illegal cigarettes and alcohol as a more lucrative trade has been order to pay £216,500 within six months or serve a further two and-a-half jail sentence.