Anti-smoking pressure group ASH has reiterated its support for a ban on retail tobacco

Writing to Convenience Store, chief executive Deborah Arnott said: "Tobacco displays are a form of promotion, and promotions encourage people, particularly young people, to buy cigarettes. Since the law banning tobacco advertising came into effect the tobacco companies have focused instead on making the cigarette packs themselves the 'silent salesman' through use of sophisticated design."

Arnott argued that removing tobacco from public view would not affect smokers' ability to select their brand of choice, as an in-store price list would allow them to make comparisons. She said: "As most smokers know which brand they want before they set foot in a shop, a ban on display shouldn't make any difference to their purchasing habits."

She also maintained tobacco manufacturers should foot the bill for any required changes to display equipment.

"Given that the tobacco industry has traditionally paid for tobacco gantries, we believe it should continue to assist retailers to make the necessary modifications," she added.

Convenience Store continues to oppose the proposed ban on gantry displays.