Revoking the forthcoming ban on tobacco displays would be a "striking signal" of the new government's commitment to supporting small businesses, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has said.

ACS has written to business secretary Vince Cable to ask that tobacco restrictions be included in his review of impending business regulations inherited from the previous government (Convenience Store, June 11).

Chief executive James Lowman said the government must be prepared to go into politically controversial areas and take an objective look at the evidence. "A willingness to review measures like the tobacco display ban would be a striking signal of intent," he added.

ACS also drew Cable's attention to new evidence that suggests that youth smoking rates in Canada have risen since bans were introduced there (Convenience Store, June 11).

"The main justification for the tobacco display ban was that it has been proven to reduce youth smoking in jurisdictions like Canada, but recent figures from Canadian Health authorities show that it is having no effect on smoking behaviour among young people," said Lowman.

"Given this, the display ban legislation should be a prime candidate for review," he added.

The same message was put to MPs last week at a House of Commons event which showed the impact that Canadian display bans had had on the country's independent retailers.

The Democracy Institute's Dr Patrick Basham said that display bans, which have been present in some provinces since 2002, contributed to the closure of almost 15% of convenience stores in 2008. There was also no overriding evidence of a display ban's ability to reduce youth smoking rates, he added.