TS finds good compliance with new vending machine law
As from the 1st October 2011 the sale of tobacco products from vending machines became illegal. The Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines) (England) Regulations 2010, which prohibits the sale of cigarettes from an automatic machine, carries a maximum fine of £2500.
To ensure compliance with the new law,West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTSS) recently conducted an inspection of public houses that had a known history of illegal sales to underage test purchasers. It was found that 49 out of 50 premises had either removed their vending machine or taken measures to stop consumers using them.
Only one premise inspected by Trading Standards had ignored previous advice and continued to allow customers to purchase cigarettes from the vending machine.
In December 2010, prior to the implementation of the new law, visits were made to the same 50 premises throughoutWest Yorkshire with an underage test purchaser. Sales to the underage volunteer were made by 35 of the premises visited. Only 4 absolute refusals were made when a staff member noticed the child operating the machine challenged them. In the remaining premises, either the machine was faulty or some other circumstances prevented the attempted sale.
Following the offence, Trading Standards made contact with each premises and informed them of the underage test purchase result, offering advice and in appropriate cases issuing warnings. Further advice was offered when TradingStandards became aware of the new legislation, each of the 50 premises were contacted and given further guidance on the steps licensees should take to comply.
As seen by this years results, all but one of the premises has taken this advice on board and has either removed the vending machine or made it impossible to purchase cigarettes from.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service advises that all premises that have a cigarette vending machine should either remove the machine or make it inaccessible to customers. Any underage sale of cigarettes that takes place in a licensed premises can also affect its alcohol licence.
The Government is of the view that tobacco vending machines are regularly used by children as traditionally the machines are located in areas not regularly supervised. This was recognised by the officers who carriedout the visits in the West Yorkshire area. In many of the premises visited the machines were located in places totally unsuitable to allow for supervision by persons working behind the bar.
Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standardssaid: “I am pleased with the level of compliance, this will hopefully spread the message to all owners of premises that continue to sell cigarettes from vending machines. The ease of which cigarettes were available to underage smokers was hampering the effortsto stop children having easy access to cigarettes and one of major reasons for this new legislation."
Councillor Neil Taggart, Chair of West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the workof Trading Standards, said“It is great to see that publicans are complying with this legislation and are doing their bit to protect children and young people from the harm caused by tobacco.”
Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health forWakefield, said “Smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of ill health in our region with most people, including smokers, supporting such changes.”
Anyone wishing to report the continued illegal use of tobacco vending machines by pubs, and other businesses, should contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.
Notes to Editor:
For further information please contact:
David Lodge –Divisional Officer 0113 393 9704
David Strover –Principal Officer 0113 393 9902