Retailers from across the UK, Ireland and France have taken the fight against plain packaging to Paris as part of a mass demonstration organised by the French Confederation of Tobacconists.

The throng, which includes a number of NFRN members, is calling on the European Commission to halt plans by their respective Member States to adopt plain packaging for cigarettes.

Plain packaging legislation has been adopted in the UK and Ireland, and is set to go before the French Parliament shortly.

When the UK and Ireland notified the European Commission of their plans to proceed with plain packaging, 10 EU Member States objected to it moving forward on the grounds that it contravenes internal market rules.

More than 70% of French people think introducing plain packaging will not reduce smoking rates while 62% of people in Ireland support postponing the introduction of plain packaging and considering other alternatives to reduce youth smoking, such as education programmes, in its place, according to the NFRN.

NFRN national president Martyn Brown, said: “Plain packaging gives smugglers and counterfeiters the green light at the expense of public health and legitimate retailers. This policy contravenes the EU’s Internal Market rules and is most likely illegal under international law. We want to European Commission to intervene and stop this madness.”