Lords vote for pub cigarette machine ban

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cigarette vending machines Vending machine Cigarette machine Vending machines

Vending machines: face the chop in England
Vending machines: face the chop in England
A total ban on cigarette vending machines looks almost inevitable after Lords rejected an attempt to stop it. Last night an amendment by Lord Howe...

A total ban on cigarette vending machines looks almost inevitable after Lords rejected an attempt to stop it.

Last night an amendment by Lord Howe to reject a complete ban, which had earlier been agreed by MPs, was defeated by 170 votes to 82.

During the debate, Howe argued that an outright ban would cause "disproportionate harm and damage".

"The damage would be felt by pubs, which stand to lose trade from people who, from time to time, wish to access their vending machines but, more seriously, it would have an instant and devastating effect on those who depend for a living on supplying and operating such machines.

"There are roughly 650 people in this country whose livelihoods are earned in that way, and several hundred more in the supply chain. I do not believe that any sort of case has been made for bankrupting those individuals and putting them on to the dole queue without giving the regulatory route a chance to work.

"Parliament should contemplate taking that drastic step only when all else has failed. It is not a step that should be taken lightly."

Lord Monson backed Howe's motion and questioned why the original proposal, to put in place tough measures like ensuring sales can only occur when verified by a member of staff, were rejected.

He said a blanket ban "would cause much dislocation and hardship, with a number of long-established businesses going bankrupt and many hundreds of people losing their jobs at a time when unemployment is forecast to get progressively worse".

He said the move would be "counterproductive" and "result in more underage people smoking than would have been the case if the clause had been left alone".

He said: "If they are banned, the cigarettes that pubs and similar places have to stock will have to be kept under the counter, loose. At busy times, hard-pressed bar staff will find it difficult to keep tabs on them. This will almost certainly be taken advantage of by wily teenagers.

"Let us revert to the sensible compromise put forward by the Government six months ago and retained until quite recently, to give the new machines a trial, see if they actually work and cut down teenage smoking, and then — but only then — move to ban them altogether if necessary."

The new machines would be "tightly controlled and monitored".

Related topics Health & safety

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