The cigarette display ban will today reach the House of Commons when MPs vote on the proposals to force shopkeepers to keep cigarettes hidden from view.

Critics say the ban would force thousands of c-stores out of business, and a campaign led by the Association of Convenience Stores has gained momentum among backbench MPs. According to The Times, as many as one in 10 Labour MPs are set to vote against the government-backed scheme.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the ban was simply a “policy gimmick” that would have no effect on youth smoking.

But ASH, the anti-smoking group, said evidence from other countries that have banned the display of tobacco, showed small shops had not been affected.