The ban was encouraged by UK heart charity The British Heart Foundation after it emerged that 1 out of every 10 underage smokers will obtain their cigarettes from a vending machine.
Betty McBride, policy director at the BHF, said: “Shopkeepers should be aware that more children could try to buy cigarettes over the counter now. They’ll need to do their bit to protect our children’s health by asking for proof of age – that’s the whole point of the vending machine ban.”
The vast majority of cigarette vending machines are located in licensed venues such as pubs and bars- so in theory, they should be inaccessible to under 18s. The problem is that the machines are often hidden away in unsupervised corridors or dark corners, which means that underage smokers can slip by quite easily without being noticed.
McBride insists the ban is a good idea that will, in the long run, make it more difficult for newer generations to obtain cigarettes. Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease and kills approximately 1million people a year in the UK.
During the passing of the ban in parliament this June, owner of 200,000 vending machines Sinclair Collins attempted to argue that to ban them would be a breach of EU free trade rules due to the inconsistency of still allowing over-the-counter sales.
Eventually the appeal court-judges voted 2-1 and the ban came into action last Saturday 1st October.
A spokesman for the Association of Convenience Stores stated that no specific action has been taken to warn shopkeepers of the increase in underage smokers attempting to buy cigarettes, however, many retailers have been upping their security for a number of years by instigating stricter ID rules.
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