Tobacco sales laws welcomed

NEW laws that prevent the sale of cigarettes from vending machines have been welcomed by the North East’s programme for tobacco control.

FRESH says the legislation, which came into force at the weekend, will cut off an easy means for children to buy them in pubs, bowling alleys and amusement arcades.

The North East Trading Standards Association has previously found that children as young as 11 were able to purchase cigarettes from local vending machines in 58 out of 99 cases.

The machines themselves are not banned and they can stay in their current position if they are no longer used to sell cigarettes and all advertisements of tobacco products are removed or covered up.

Ailsa Rutter, Director of FRESH, said: “This is a move we very much welcome. Vending machines are not the only source for young people to buy cigarettes easily, but they are a significant one.

“Tobacco is a highly dangerous addiction which leads to a number of serious health issues.

“With the average age of starting smoking in the North East being 15 years old, this new legislation is a step towards helping to reduce the availability of cigarettes to underage smokers.”

Any person found guilty of selling tobacco from a vending machine will be liable for a fine of £2,500.