LONDON -- Imperial Tobacco Group PLC (Bristol, England) reports that it has lost its appeal of the United Kingdom's new prohibition of cigarette vending. The vending ban becomes effective in October.
Great Britain's Court of Appeal upheld a December decision by the High Court that rejected the legal challenge by Imperial subsidiary Sinclair Collis (Wolverhampton, England) to provisions of the 2009 UK Health Act that forbids the sale of tobacco through vending machines.
Britain's National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators, which represents companies that manufacture and place tobacco venders in the UK, has said that its 55 member companies provide 580 jobs generating £275 million annually.
After the Parliament approved the vending ban, NACMO northern chairman Rod Bullough explained that the group "would support any genuine attempt to reduce smoking among young people, but we feel our industry is being made a scapegoat. The ban will wipe out a legitimate business sector and result in considerable job losses, as well as being another kick in the teeth for the pubs and clubs."
Smoking has been banned in public places, including restaurants and taverns, since July 2007.
Other provisions of the Health Act include a ban on tobacco product advertising, except under certain limited circumstances, in large retail outlets starting in April, 2012, and extending to all shops in April 2015.
The UK government also is considering a requirement that tobacco products be sold only in unbranded packaging.