The spectre of a ban on branded packaging for cigarettes has returned, with MPs set to raise the issue in this week’s debate on the Health Bill.

A cross-party group of backbenchers in the House of Lords have reportedly tabled an amendment to the Bill that would allow the health secretary to ban products that do not comply with packaging regulations.

If the amendment is adopted, ministers will be able to dictate what colours and trademarks can appear on packaging for cigarettes.

“The idea of plain packaging for tobacco is on hold, not dropped,” a tobacco industry figure told The Times.

And he warned: “Tomorrow's likely headache for tobacco companies will surely be the next day's for alcohol, fast food and confectionery, at least.”

The move comes amid rising concern over the cost of the proposed tobacco display ban, which will force retailers to bring cigarettes under the counter.