ACS (The Association of Convenience Stores) has called on the government to give its backbenchers a free vote on whether to introduce a display ban on tobacco, in line with the two other major political parties. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman said Labour MPs, who are expected to be subjected to a three-line whip in order to prevent an embarrasing defeat for the government,  should be able to exercise their own judgment on the issue.

The Bill is now about to enter Committee Stage, having had its second reading in the Commons on June 8. 

“There is no analysis of the discreet impact of a tobacco display ban which points to this measure reducing youth smoking, with the government still relying on evidence of the impact of a host of in-store marketing activity that is already banned in the UK. Yet the costs to retailers are clear, with the Government’s own view that a display ban will cost an average of £1000
per store – with some paying much more,” he added. 

The issue returns to the Comons for a final vote at the end of June.
Lowman said that retailers could still make a difference by writing to their local MPs. 

A pro-fora letter is available at