The pressure on the government to announce an immediate delay in the implementation of the tobacco display ban has been cranked up yet another notch.

Earlier this week, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) wrote to ministers demanding that they put the brakes on the plans - currently set to come into force in just eight months’ time, despite a total lack of compliance details.

“It is unfair and irresponsible  of ministers to continue the uncertainty for retailers. They must announce a delay to the implementation of the ban and do so immediately,” ACS public affairs director Shane Brenan said.

Independent retailer and spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance (TRA) Ken Patel said it was deeply unfair of the government to leave retailers in such a state of limbo.

“This gimmicky policy would place a significant burden on small businesses like ours and we need to know what the government intends to do," he added.

Retailers are also anxiously awaiting the publication of the government’s new Tobacco Control Strategy which will outline its future plans to reduce UK smoking rates. Proposals for plain packaging are expected to form a key crutch.