The new site is called "Hands Off Our Packs". Forest - an acronym for Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco - says the petition comes in response to Plain Packs Protect, a campaign launched in January by an alliance of tobacco control groups including Smokefree South West, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the British Heart Foundation.
Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: "Public consultations on tobacco control can best be described as public sector consultations. Thousands of public sector workers are deployed to persuade MPs that there is overwhelming public support for the latest tobacco control initiative.
"All over the country groups funded by the taxpayer will be gathering signatures or signing their own petitions. We want to give opponents of pointless regulation the voice they are often denied. The Hands Off Our Packs website and petition will give ordinary consumers the chance to have their say."
Opponents of plain packaging who have pledged their support for the petition include include Mark Littlewood, director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs; Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas and Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club which campaigns for “freedom in everyday life”.
The Hands Off Our Packs campaign will be run and managed by Forest which is supported by British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Limited and Gallaher Limited (a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies). (ci)