The current proposals to ban the display of tobacco products and 10-packs of cigarettes is only the thin end of what will be a vast legislative wedge, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “The government has a strong record of regulating tobacco in the UK, and everywhere you look it is trumpeting its achievements. These new proposals are the next wave and there will be much, much more to come.”

ACS plans to submit its response to the government’s tobacco consultation next week. It will include the findings of an in-depth study into the cost and benefits of implementing a display ban.

“The study shows that there is no credible evidence that a display ban would reduce youth smoking rates,” Brennan said. “On that basis it is not right to use retailers as guinea pigs and press ahead.”

ACS is proposing a number of alternative measures, including the creation of a law making it illegal for an adult to buy tobacco for an under-18, and for a crackdown on the illegal tobacco market. It is also calling for tougher penalties for people caught selling illegal tobacco on the street.