Tobacco machine ban ‘another blow’

AS THE new ban on tobacco vending machines takes effect, pub landlords say it represents another blow to small businesses.

Since Saturday, the new law has made it an offence for pubs and clubs to sell tobacco products through vending machines, which is to prevent children from smoking.

While some landlords have agreed this will deter many young people from smoking, they also say the measure will put people out of work.

Harry Cheeseright, of The Old Farmhouse, in Trendlewood Way, Nailsea, said: “The people who supply these machines will probably go out of business pretty soon. Pubs are a big part of their business and quite a lot of the pubs in this area had cigarette machines. I imagine they will be pretty annoyed by this.

“Quite a few of our customers used to buy cigarettes from our machine and quite a lot of people have complained about the law changing.”

The new law aims to cut the number of young people who smoke. A Trading Standards investigation across the South West found 73 per cent of attempts by 15-year-olds to buy tobacco from a vending machine were successful.

This means the new law has been welcomed by health professionals.

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Fiona Miles, health improvement development manager at NHS North Somerset said: “We welcome the legislation and are committed to reducing smoking in young people.

“Anything that helps to prevent young people from starting or continuing to smoke is encouraging.”

A survey of smoking among UK children revealed that 17 per cent of regular smokers aged 11-15 said vending machines were their usual source of cigarettes.

It will still be possible for pub and club staff to sell tobacco products, by dispensing cigarettes on behalf of customers from vending machines which are not accessible to the public.

The legislation does not ban the machines, only tobacco purchases directly from them.

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