- 13 updates
The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has spoken about plans for a consultation on stripping all branding from cigarettes sold in England.
He said there would be arguments and counter-arguments for the move that will need to be be weighed up.
As the row rumbles on over whether tobacco should be sold without branding, a survey has found that more than half of people would be in favour of cigarette packs without any branding.
Among the critics of packaging proposals is Conservative MP Mark Field who warns it would create "a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial free speech" and encourage smuggling.
Anti-smoking group ASH has hit back:
An opinion poll has found strong public support for forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging in England.
The survey, by YouGov for campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), found 62% supported the policy, which is due to be put out for consultation by ministers on Monday.
Only 11% were opposed to the move.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley issued a hostile warning to the tobacco industry this week that he wanted to reach a point where it had "no business" in the UK.
Conservative MP Mark Field has spoken out against the proposed plans, warning that enforcing plain cigarette packages could infringe fundermaental legal rights and do further damage to the economy.
"The enforced introduction of plain packaging would infringe fundamental legal rights routinely afforded to international business, erode British intellectual property and brand equity and would create a dangerous precedent for the future of commercial free speech.
"I suspect plain packaging will result in other sorts of negative impacts, including the increased health threat posed by counterfeit tobacco, the encouragement of smuggled products and damaging competition.
"Indeed, the Treasury is already losing around £3 billion a year from tobacco that has evaded UK duty; criminal gangs operating a contraband supply chain at the expense of legitimate businesses.
"All of this could result in a potential loss of investment and jobs that goes way beyond the tobacco manufacturing sector."
Last year, Australia approved similar laws to those proposed by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, introducing plain packaging to reduce the attractions of smoking. Three global tobacco giants launched lawsuits saying the rules infringed trademark rights.
Three of the world's four largest tobacco groups, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco are challenging the new law in the High Court.
More than 300,000 children under 16 try smoking each year and 5% of children aged 11 to 15 are regular smokers, according to Department of Heath figures.
Meanwhile 39% of smokers say that they were smoking regularly before the age of 16.
The price of cigarettes has also been increased by the government in attempt to price them out of range of the younger smoker.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in last month's Budget that the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes would rise by 37p to an average of £7.36.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of campaigning charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: "The consultation is just the first step, putting us in pole position to be the first European nation to put tobacco in plain, standardised packs.
"Now that cigarette advertising, promotion and sponsorship and tobacco displays have all been banned this is the obvious next step if the Government truly wants to make smoking history."