A ban on branding and logos on cigarette packets is unlikely to be introduced in the UK because it risks infringing trademark law, according to Dave Bryans, president of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association.

Bryans said the absence of a ban on cigarette branding in Canada, a country at the forefront of anti-tobacco legislation, also meant it was unrealistic that the UK would take such severe action. "Black and white packaging has never happened in any country in the world despite it being on the agenda in many," he said. "I think corporations around the world have the right to trademarks and would be able to challenge the government."

A display ban has been in force in Saskatchewan since 2004 and last week was introduced into Ontario, forcing retailers to put cigarettes behind closed doors. Packs must also carry anti-smoking images.

The UK was more likely to follow the Canadian model by introducing a tobacco display ban, he said.