The decision to introduce a blanket ban on smoking in public places has received a mixed reaction from retailers.

Although many agree with a workplace ban and already enforce a no-smoking policy themselves, some fear a total ban - expected to come into force in 2007 - could result in a fall in tobacco sales.

Wolverhampton retailer Malcolm Crump told C-Store: “Tobacco makes up a large percentage of our sales and I expect a ban will have a negative impact on sales. Although it’s very early to predict, I think a ban will eventually lead to fewer people smoking.”

Mark Colbeck, who runs Wharfdale Value Convenience Store in Hull, disagrees: “Although tobacco is crucial to our business I’m not massively concerned that a ban will result in us missing out on sales.

“I think people are still going to smoke and it’s even possible we could sell more tobacco as people are going to be less likely to buy cigarettes in pubs.”