With the launch of a public consultation into plain tobacco packaging imminent, retailers are doing their bit to educate adult smokers about the challenges created by unbranded, uniform packs.

Debbie Corris of Jim Ingram’s in Whitstable, Kent, said it was important that adult smokers understood the implications of the move. “Plain packaging would not only make it extremely difficult for retailers like me on the service and ordering side, but it could also exacerbate the illicit trade, particularly when we’ll already be operating under a tobacco display ban,” she said. “Most don’t understand why it’s even being consulted on, particularly when there’s no evidence that plain packaging would reduce youth smoking.”

Coventry retailer Arif Ahmed said that he, too, was keeping his shoppers updated with changes.

The past week has seen spats between the pro-choice and anti-tobacco lobby. A website, handsoffourpacks.com, was created by pro-smoking lobby group Forest, to give people a chance to petition against plain packaging. The website was a response to Plain Packs Protect, a campaign launched last month by tobacco control groups.