The vast majority of adult smokers are unaware that small stores will have an additional three years in which to sell tobacco from open displays, once large retailers go dark on April 6.

Research from HIM unveiled at the National Convenience Show revealed that 80% of tobacco shoppers didn’t know that small stores in England wouldn’t go dark until 2015.

Meanwhile, 40% of adult smokers had no idea that a display ban was to be enforced at all.

More than 4,000 tobacco shoppers were questioned for the survey, which also revealed that 20% were confused by the idea of covered up gantries, and a further 25% said they did not like them.

However, 13% of shoppers said the ban in large stores would prompt them to buy from small stores instead, where they could still see their brands of choice, and be served efficiently.

HIM client director Katie Hemmings said the findings were encouraging for convenience stores, which were likely to benefit from increased tobacco sales and associated purchases such as confectionery and soft drinks.