Sir, As your Top Products Survey shows, price not packaging is the key factor in determining the brand of cigarette people buy ('Consumers choose price over branding', The Grocer, 18 December).

Smokers do not impulse buy, so banning product display or introducing plain packaging will have little or no impact on purchasing habits. We support all reasonable measures that discourage or prevent children from accessing tobacco. But banning display and introducing plain packaging is unreasonable because the idea is based on a desire to denormalise tobacco and stigmatise the consumer.

"Glitzy" packaging, allegedly designed to encourage young people to start smoking, is a figment of the tobacco control industry's fevered imagination. Young people take up smoking for a number of reasons, usually peer pressure. Plain packaging is unlikely to have any effect on youth smoking rates.

A ban on tobacco display and the introduction of plain packaging will eventually reduce choice because companies are less likely to develop new brands and products if their ability to communicate with their customers is severely compromised.

As long as tobacco remains a legal product consumers should have the right to differentiate between brands, and retailers must retain the right to display and sell it in a way that does not harm their business.

Simon Clark, director, Forest