There is a welcome shift in attitudes to the proposed ban on tobacco display. Increasing numbers of politicians - admittedly, mainly those in opposition - have been raising serious questions about the wisdom of such a ban.

And last week there was the potentially vital breakthrough in New Zealand, where prime minister John Key scrapped plans to ban displays because there is no evidence it would cut youth smoking.

The developments down under are crucial for a number of reasons. For one, it demonstrates that commitments made by politicians while in opposition can be made good when they gain power, and we are certain to have an election here before the ban affects the small store sector. But even more tellingly it shatters the international political stitch-up that has so far sustained the UK government's argument for a ban - Iceland's done it, Canada's done, and so should we.

As you know, we have been campaigning to scrap the proposed display ban, and key trade associations and hundreds of individual retailers have also made telling contributions and put in some tireless work.

As it stands, we haven't won anything yet, but the tide is turning and we are getting closer to our objective of getting the legislators to think carefully about the costs and (lack of) benefits of this badly conceived, poorly targeted and ultimately self-defeating piece of legislation-for-legislation's-sake.