Health Minister Gillian Merrion has told retailers' representatives that the government is determined to force through its proposed display ban on tobacco products.

In meetings earlier this week with the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, Merrion heard retailers' objections to the move, which highlight the lack of evidence for its effectiveness and the likely cost to small stores.

Although the Minister stressed the importance of c-stores, she said that the government would not weaken its position as it believed the ban would have health benefits.

"They are committed to going full-on behind a complete ban in the final debate in October," said ACS chief executive James Lowman. "But within that there is a range of outcomes, and we have asked the Minister for the lightest touch possible to ease the burden on retailers."

ACS told Merrion retailers were disappointed the government had not considered a wider strategy, including controls on proxy purchasing and tobacco smuggling.