Council leaders call for cigarette vending machine ban

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Underage sales Vending machine Cigarette machine Vending machines

Council leaders call for cigarette vending machine ban
Call comes after a 50% rise in test purchase failure rates

Council leaders have called for a total ban on coin operated cigarette vending machines.

The call comes after a Trading Standards survey revealed that underage sales have risen 50% in the last year.

A six-month long test purchase operation using underage volunteers showed one in five retailers tested sold to underage volunteers.

Vending machines were the worst offenders with volunteers being able to buy cigarettes on 40% of tests and some councils reporting a 100% failure rate.

Vending machines account for less than 1% of total cigarette sales but research suggests one in six underage smokers use them to buy cigarettes.

"Despite the progress council trading standards teams have made in recent years on cutting underage sales this worrying increase shows that retailers are not doing enough to make sure they aren't selling cigarettes to kids,"​ said Lacors chairman Geoffrey Theobald.

"This isn't rocket science and it isn't anything new for retailers. If they suspect someone is underage who can't prove otherwise, then they must refuse to serve them or face the consequences.

"Council trading standards officers will not hesitate to prosecute retailers who persistently flout the law and damage the health of young people by illegally selling cigarettes to children."

LGA Community Well-being chair David Rogers said: "The worry is that the recent increase in the legal age to 18 has forced many more under-age smokers into pubs and other premises to try to buy cigarettes from vending machines after being turned down in shops. "Banning coin-operated machines would mean they are no longer the easy target for young people that these shocking figures show they clearly are."

Related topics Health & safety

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