Small stores now have exactly three months to the day before the tobacco display ban is enforced.

Communications to retailers will be stepped up in the month ahead with the Department of Health running advertorials in key trade titles including Convenience Store.

Imperial Tobacco has also embarked on a mass communication drive with sales representatives visiting stores to answer questions and offer advice.

Imperial Tobacco’s dark market project manager Gary Avery said: “Our aim is to ensure retailers are not caught out when the restrictions come into effect.  

“Retailers should ensure their staff are fully trained and should continue to focus on ensuring excellent availability; retailers who embrace the change and take early action to ensure they are prepared should see their tobacco sales remain stable once the doors go on.”