Landlords say legislation will kill small businesses

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 September 2011

New law will ban cigarettes being sold from vending machines.

New law will ban cigarettes being sold from vending machines.

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PUB landlords say a new ban on tobacco vending machines, to prevent children from smoking, is unnecessary and yet another blow for small businesses.

From October 1 it will be an offence to sell tobacco products from vending machines, which are commonly seen in pubs, restaurants and clubs, and some landlords say the measure will put people out of work.

Steve Dean, landlord of the Crossways Inn, in Withy Road, West Huntspill, said: “The distributor of our cigarette machine recently came to collect it, and now he has been put out of business overnight, I really feel for the guy.

“The changes have come in particularly quickly and now he hasn’t got a leg to stand on. The government have put these people out of business. I think it’s another service being taken away which is unnecessary.”

However, a Trading Standards investigation across the South West found 73 per cent of attempts by 15-year-olds to buy tobacco from a vending machine were successful.

This means the new law has been welcomed by health professionals.

Fiona Miles, health improvement development manager at NHS North Somerset said: “We welcome the proposed legislation and are committed to reducing smoking in young people.

“Anything that helps to prevent young people from starting or continuing to smoke is encouraging.”

A survey of smoking among UK children revealed that 17 per cent of regular smokers aged 11-15 said vending machines were their usual source of cigarettes.

Mr Dean said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea at all. You have to be 18 to buy cigarettes and we do not have anyone under-age drinking in here. From my point of view I do not think it’s necessary.”

Janet Oftler, landlord of the Red Cow in Brent Street, Brent Knoll said: “This is going to put vending machine people out of business which is sad. But the smoking ban has been in force for so long, some people accept cigarettes are a bit of a no-no.”

Landlord of Weston pub Geez in Wadham Street, Givanni Ferrari, agreed that businesses who supply the machines will face the biggest impact.

He said: “When we had a vending machine there were some young people who would try to use it and we had to send them away, so I think it’s a good idea to stop that.”

It will still be possible for staff to sell tobacco products, by dispensing cigarettes on behalf of customers from vending machines which are not accessible to the public.

The legislation does not ban the machines, only tobacco purchases directly by the public from them.

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