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Hampshire County Council Trading Standards officers will begin enforcing new laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco from vending machines in pubs, clubs and restaurants across the county.
From 1 October 2011, new legislation introduced across England will make it illegal to sell cigarettes and tobacco from the machines. The law does not ban vending machines themselves which can remain in place, provided they are no longer used for selling tobacco products and all the adverts for tobacco products are removed or covered up so that they are no longer visible.
The move aims to help prevent cigarettes and other tobacco products from getting into the hands of under 18s. Research shows that vending machines are an easy way for under 18s to buy cigarettes, especially as many of the machines are unsupervised. 11% of 11-15 year olds who regularly smoke say that they buy cigarettes from vending machines.
Building on their existing work to tackle underage sales of tobacco across Hampshire, Trading Standards officers will be responsible for ensuring that the new laws are adhered to in any premises that continues to have a vending machine. Premises that sell cigarettes to the public directly from such a machine could be fined up to £2,500, whereas if a vending machine still displays tobacco advertising the fine increases to £5,000 with the risk of two years in prison.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said:
"Trading Standards provides training, advice and guidance to retailers on how to avoid making under-age sales but cigarette machines have presented a different challenge. This new law will not only help to make it even more difficult for youngsters to get hold of cigarettes and tobacco in Hampshire, but it is hoped that it will also help to support adults who might be trying to quit smoking from being tempted to buy tobacco on a night out, for example."
Jill Wilson from Quit4Life, Hampshire's NHS Stop Smoking Service, said:
"This is great news for people who want to break the habit of having a cigarette with their pint. A lot of the people who come to us for help to quit say it can be difficult to resist the temptation to buy tobacco while on a night out."
If you have any information on underage tobacco sales contact Hampshire County Council Trading Standards on 01962 833620.
For more information about the work of Trading Standards in tackling underage sales visit