Cigarette machines in bars and pubs could be scrapped under a new proposal by Health Minister, Alan Johnson, despite the risk of adding to the growing number of closures.
In a drive to stop young people from taking up smoking, Johnson is proposing to rid the nation of the convenient vendors from pubs and bars.
The ban is present in many European countries already, and Johnson, who started smoking as a youth, is very keen to implement it here too.
"Banning vending machines where you can`t have any control over the age of the person who`s buying it, happened in many other European countries a long time ago, with startling results there," he told the BBC. "I think they`re right to do that, and we`ll launch a consultation document on that next week.”
It’s been almost a year since the UK banned smoking in public places, and many clubs, bars and restaurants have felt the effects of it, with beer sales down by 6% in the last year, and an average of 27 closures a week.
Neil Williams, Communications Manager for the British Beer and Pub Association, disagrees with the proposal. "It`s completely unnecessary, and is another initiative that would make life even more difficult for hard pressed pubs,” he commented. “Publicans are well used to selling a product restricted by age, and don`t need further restrictions. Vending machines are perfectly legal, well supervised, and governed by a tough code.”
The proposal also includes a plan to ban sales of packs of 10 cigarettes, forcing smokers to purchase 20s instead.
Will the proposal help stop young people from taking up smoking, or simply contribute to the growing amount of pub closures? Leave a comment below by clicking on `Add Comment`.