But we are not giving up our campaign, because there is still much to fight for.
There are still three main arenas where pressure from the trade can influence outcomes the consultation on display regulations, the next election, and calls for more action against the illegitimate tobacco trade.
First, the consultation. The Department of Health is now seeking the trade's views on how they propose to implement the ban in practice.
The draft regulations say:
An area no larger than 1,500sq cm (about the same size as an A3 sheet of paper) can be exposed during a sale or during restocking
No open boxes/outers of tobacco on display, even during restocking
Price labels can have brand names on them as long as the characters are no bigger than 3mm (roughly 12 point text)
A tobacco price list no larger than 630sq cm (roughly A4) with text no larger than 7mm can be shown on request to customers over the age of 18. No other products can be included on the list, and there can only be one price list per till.
Specialist tobacconists stores in which more than 50% of trade is in specialist tobacco products will still be allowed to have tobacco displays inside the store, as long as neither the display nor any advertising material is visible from the outside.
The consultation asks for specific feedback on whether the new regulations are proportionate, workable, enforceable and will enable staff to provide customers with information "without creating avenues for promotion". Replies must be received by January 4, 2010.
The trade's second opportunity to reverse or at least mitigate the effects of the ban will come at the next general election, which will take place before the new regulations become compulsory for small stores.
The Conservatives generally opposed the display ban in its passage through parliament, but allowed their MPs a free vote on the issue rather than making it official Party policy.
However, the door is still ajar for lobbying. The parliamentary expenses scandal has taken its toll so there will be a host of new candidates at the next election. More than 100 MPs have already said they won't be standing again, and political commentators say this number could rise to 200 by the time the election is called. Couple this with the likelihood of Conservatives making gains at the expense of Labour and it is entirely possible that half of the next parliament will comprise new MPs, so there are fresh lobbying opportunities for thousands of retailers before the ban comes into play.
And finally, our Keep Tobacco Over the Counter campaign was never just about displays, it is also about ensuring that the tobacco market is maintained within the legitimate retail sector rather than handed over to the shadowy criminal networks.
MPs have dealt the trade a severe blow in terms of cost and efficiency by voting for the display ban, so it is only fair to ask them to do something to help you, too. More resources to clamp down on the illegal trade in smuggled, counterfeit and stolen cigarettes is the least they can do. Take them to task.
If you would like to submit a response to the consultation, you should write to: Tobacco Regulations Consultation, Department of Health, Room 712, Wellington House, 133-155 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8UG.
Alternatively, you can email the consultation here.