Our Keep Tobacco Over the Counter campaign is moving up a gear. As well as encouraging our readers to keep up pressure for a reversal of the tobacco display ban, we'll be working to convince the authorities that legitimate retail outlets need to be protected, not punished, as the best place to sell cigarettes.
However, as the rundown below clearly shows, the key political parties all have very different plans for how they would go about regulating the industry and its products, while falling short of an outright ban that would deprive the government of revenue.
Despite warnings about a surge in black market sales, it's a safe bet is that the duty on tobacco products will continue to rise, whichever party comes into power, and the tide of legislation, particularly surrounding underage sales, is unlikely to ebb either.
However, it is vital that this legislation is properly thought out and based on sound, fair and comparable evidence, to ensure that it does not end up harming the most effective guardians against underage tobacco sales a responsible local store network.
Removing the display of tobacco products at the point of sale by forcing retailers to screen their gantries from 2013 (2011 for large stores)
Introducing the new offence of 'displaying tobacco to under-18s'
Banning tobacco vending machines
Introducing Tobacco Banning Orders, which could prohibit the sale of tobacco for up to one year for retailers found to have sold tobacco to an under-18 on three or more occasions over a two-year period l Increased funding for test purchasing and enforcement campaigns l Increased funding to tackle the illicit trade and recruit more overseas officers
Consider a negative licensing system from 2016 l Regular increases in tobacco duty.
A review of the tobacco display ban legislation based on "real" evidence and a possible reversal
New approaches to tackling tobacco smuggling
A reduction in the number of cigarette cartons which can legally be brought into the UK from other EU countries
A review of the law relating to the proxy purchasing of tobacco by adults for children, as well as an investigation into the routes by which children access tobacco to secure better enforcement
An increase in tobacco duty.
Given that the Liberal Democrat's shadow communities and local government secretary Julia Goldsworthy recently accused retailers of "getting away scot-free" with underaged sales, and their notoriously tough stance on alcohol sales, it's fair to assume that the party would support much tougher penalties for retailers who sell tobacco to under-18s.
The whip is being cracked in Scotland, too, where the SNP is calling for a wide range of measures including a licensing scheme for tobacco retailers, a ban on retail displays and vending machines, as well as tobacco banning orders.