Northern Ireland cigarette vending machine ban due in March

health minister edwin poots Mr Poots said the move was an important milestone in achieving a tobacco-free society in Northern Ireland

Related Stories

Cigarettes will no longer be sold in vending machines in Northern Ireland from 1 March 2012.

MLAs agreed the move during a debate in the assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

It is being introduced to drive down the number of children and young people who smoke by limiting their unsupervised access to the machines.

Health Minister Edwin Poots said the regulations would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

"A survey in Northern Ireland in 2010 highlighted that for 14% of smokers aged between 11 and 16 years, cigarette vending machines are a usual source of tobacco," he said.

"Children and young people are particularly vulnerable consumers in that they are generally unaware of the long-term health implications of tobacco use.

"The main aim in introducing the legislation is to prevent children and young people from being able to access tobacco from a largely unsupervised source."

England commenced its ban on sales of tobacco from vending machines from 1 October 2011.

Regulations have also been made in Wales to commence from 1 February 2012 and Scotland intends to follow suit shortly.

Mr Poots said he recognised that banning the sale of tobacco from vending machines would not, in itself, solve the problem of children's smoking.

"However it will remove an easily accessible source of tobacco from underage children, as well as support the thousands of smokers who try to quit each year," he said.

"This links in with the two main objectives in my department's new tobacco control strategy which is due to be published later this month.

"These regulations represent another important milestone in our pursuance of the long-term goal - that of a tobacco-free society in Northern Ireland."

Legislative controls on tobacco is the responsibility of district councils' environmental health officers.

It is estimated that there are 1,800 tobacco vending machines in Northern Ireland.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Northern Ireland stories



  • chocolate cake and strawberriesTrick your tongue

    Would this dessert taste different on a black plate?

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George leaving New Zealand'Great ambassadors'

    How New Zealand reacted to William, Kate - and George

  • Major Power Failure ident on BBC2Going live

    Why BBC Two's launch was not all right on the night

  • Front display of radio Strange echoes

    The mysterious 'numbers stations' left over from the Cold War era

  • A letter from a Somali refugee to a Syrian child'Be a star'

    Children's uplifting letters of hope to homeless Syrians

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.