The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has mobilised its army of about 16,000 members to launch an “all-out assault” against government proposals to move tobacco into plain packs.

Ahead of the deadline to the consultation on 10 August, it is asking all its members to sign a petition, visit or write to their MPs, and to forward a letter prepared by the NFRN to the Department of Health.

The letter calls for the government to reconsider its proposals because they would damage businesses, fuel the illicit market, increase transaction times and increase retailer vulnerability to crime.

“This is a very serious matter and it is really important that as many members as possible respond and oppose this preposterous proposal,” said NFRN national president Alan Smith.

“Putting tobacco products in plain packs will not reduce the number of smokers but is a gift to counterfeiters who will find it easier and cheaper to copy duty-paid tobacco.”

The NFRN will also submit its own formal response to the consultation, which was extended in July.