Convenience Store readers have a final chance to avoid losing hundreds of pounds in alterations to their tobacco gantries and reduced service levels for customers – all for the price of a stamp. 

This issue contains a postcard addressed to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, asking him to overturn the proposed tobacco display ban on the grounds that it will impose costs and operational difficulties on shops, despite the lack of any evidence that it will reduce the number of young people who take up smoking.

The coalition government is under pressure to review the ban, which was passed by Labour in 2009. The postcard, which supports the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS)’ Stop The Tobacco Display Ban campaign and has also been distributed with The Grocer and through cash & carry depots, enables every single retailer in Britain to demonstrate their opposition to this ill-thought-out piece of legislation.

ACS and Convenience Store are asking you to show your support for the statement “The tobacco display ban will be a costly and disruptive burden on my shop. The government’s own estimate suggests it will cost more than  £40m for shops in England. There is no strong evidence it will reduce youth smoking.”

Instead, we suggest the government focuses on the illicit tobacco trade and considers taking firm action against adults who buy cigarettes for children.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said action by retailers would be the most powerful weapon to demonstrate the widespread opposition to the tobacco display ban. 

“In opposition, both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats recognised this lack of evidence and supported retailers’ calls to scrap the measure,” he added. “They now need to take action.”

Although regional assemblies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will make separate decisions about tobacco display, retailers in these countries can still make their feelings known to the government in Westminster by sending the postcard.

But retailers need to move quickly – a decision on the ban is expected in the next few weeks.