Not content with forcing retailers to hide cigarette packs under the counter, the tobacco control industry now wants tobacco to be sold in plain packaging.

There is no evidence that plain packs will make any difference to youth smoking rates. The vast majority of young people are influenced not by packaging but by peer pressure and the fact that members of their family are smokers.

Tens of millions of people have been exposed to branded cigarette packs for decades and have never been encouraged to start smoking. To suggest that people are so easily influenced by the sight of a coloured pack is not only patronising, it is downright offensive.

Plain packaging has nothing to do with youth smoking rates. It is just another step towards the denormalisation and eventual prohibition of a legal consumer product that is enjoyed by millions of adults and generates billions of pounds for retailers and the government.

Simon Clark, director, Forest