Three-quarters of all the UK's convenience stores could close because of the cost of implementing the tobacco display ban and the resulting loss of sales, a new poll claims.

The Tobacco Retailers Alliance said 77% of more than 1,000 c-store managers questioned thought the ban would affect the viability of their business. A further 90% believed the Government had ignored their concerns.

"This survey demonstrates what retailers have been saying for months - a ban on tobacco displays will put many independent shopkeepers out of business," said TRA spokesman Ken Patel.

"The evidence from Canada shows youth smoking levels went down more and faster in provinces where tobacco was still on display than those where displays were banned. There is no evidence a ban on displays reduces youth smoking and that is why New Zealand recently abandoned proposals to introduce a ban."

Patel said a display ban in Ontario and Quebec in Canada had forced the closure of 35 stores a week.

The TRA, which represents 26,000 'corner shopkeepers', believes the government should instead crack down on adults buying tobacco on behalf of children.