The UK should follow a German-style education model to reduce youth smoking rather than implement plain packaging.

The is the latest argument from Imperial Tobacco as the major suppliers look to convince Sir Cyril Chantler, the man in charge of the government’s independent review, not to recommend plain packs.

The youth smoking rate in Germany had fallen from 27.5% in 2001 to 11.7% in 2012 as a result of “best practice examples of education on tobacco for German minors”, said Imperial.

“We believe the government should focus on increasing long-term educational programmes and Germany’s success in the area should provide a template for the UK to follow in reducing youth smoking,” said Imperial Tobacco’s head of UK corporate and legal affairs Colin Wragg.

“This approach, coupled with the welcome government announcement to ban the proxy purchasing of tobacco in England and Wales, will enable our law enforcement partners to reduce youth access to tobacco.”

In its submission to the review, Japan Tobacco International also argued for greater enforcement of existing legislation to prevent tobacco getting into the hands of minors and expressed its support for a ban on proxy purchasing,

Chantler is due to submit his review to government in March. If he suggests that plain packs should be brought in, the measure could be fast tracked under the Children and Families Bill, which is currently going through parliament.