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Cigarette vending machine ban in effect

Tue 04 Oct 2011

A ban on cigarette vending machines has come into effect in England.

The measure is designed to prevent underage smoking by making it harder for young people to get their hands on tobacco and anyone contravening the new law could be fined up to £2,500.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley explained cigarette vending machines are often unsupervised and this can make it easier for children to buy from them.

And with the vast majority of adult smokers having started before they were 18, it is hoped the number of young people taking up the habit will be reduced.

Betty McBride, policy director at the British Heart Foundation, warned shopkeepers they may see an increase in under-18s attempting to buy cigarettes over the counter, telling the Daily Telegraph that retailers must play their part in protecting health by asking for proof of age.

"That's the whole point of the vending machine ban," she said.

Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "All retailers of tobacco and alcohol operate an age verification scheme such as Challenge 21 or 25. Operators should remind all staff of their responsibilities to challenge for ID."

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