The Welsh government has recently approved a ban on the sale of tobacco from vending machines in Wales which will come into force on 1 February 2012.
Although tobacco vending machines account for only one per cent of the UK market in tobacco sales, a disproportionate number of young people under 18 purchase cigarettes from vending machines.
According to government figures ten per cent of regular smokers aged 11 to 15 have said that cigarette vending machines are their usual source of tobacco.
The Protection from Tobacco (Sales from Vending Machines) (Wales) Regulations 2011 are designed to protect children and young people by restricting their access to tobacco.
Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “Most smokers start during adolescence. Two thirds of adults who have ever smoked say they started before they were 18.
“A voluntary code has not been effective in sufficiently restricting young people’s access to tobacco from vending machines.
“I am therefore pleased that we are able to introduce regulations banning the sale of tobacco from vending machines in Wales as part of our wider effort to safeguard children and young people from the dangers of smoking.”
Enforcement of the regulations will be the responsibility of local authorities and information will be distributed to explain the requirements of the regulations and to outline to owners and managers of premises what they will need to do in order to comply.