Cigarette machine ban moves closer

By Matt Eley Matt

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cigarette vending machines House of lords Vending machine Cigarette machine

The removal of cigarette vending machines from pubs moved a step closer after the House of Lords rejected a bid to stop the plans. In a vote...

The removal of cigarette vending machines from pubs moved a step closer after the House of Lords rejected a bid to stop the plans.

In a vote yesterday 170 peers voted against an amendment proposed by Frederic Curzon, Earl Howe, Shadow Minister for Health against a complete ban, with 82 in favour of his plan to provide better regulation to prevent underage sales.

During the debate he argued that a complete ban will hit pubs and other small businesses hard. He added it could also result in 650 people who are directly employed in the vending machine industry losing their jobs.

Instead he called for better regulation and the use of improved technology to prevent underage sales.

"There is a proportionate and workable course of action open to Parliament in pursuing its wish to bear down on underage access to vending machines. That is to allow the government to lay regulations designed to ensure that such access does not occur, while at the same time allowing legitimate adult smokers to purchase cigarettes from vending machines as they wish."

"We know that there is technology available and in use that would enable that to happen," he said.

Others in favour of the amendment argued that a ban on machines will lead to greater sales of counterfeit cigarettes.

However other members of the House raised concerns about ease of access to cigarettes via machines by youngsters.

Baroness Thornton said: "We are sympathetic to small businesses that will be affected by the legislation to prohibit tobacco vending machines, but we are also concerned about how easily young people can get tobacco from vending machines."

Rod Bullough, northern chairman of the National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators, said the industry has been made a "scapegoat" for underage tobacco sales.

"If a ban does eventually come about it will wipe out a legitimate business sector and result in considerable job losses as well as being another kick in the teeth for the pub and club industries," he said.

MPs in the House of Commons have already approved the plans.

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