Charity calls for ban on tobacco vending machines
The British Heart Foundation has called for cigarette vending machines to be banned in order to protect children from the harmful effects of smoking. Smoking increases a person's risk of developing heart disease and several types of cancer, and Cancer Research UK is supporting the charity's call to ban cigarette vending machines. Nine per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds are regular smokers, according to the charity's latest research, and as many as one in six of these buy their cigarettes from vending machines. However, the figures were collated before the recent legislation raising the legal age of tobacco purchase to 18 was introduced, suggesting that the real figures are likely to be even higher. Stuart Barber, head of policy and public affairs at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Too many of our children are taking advantage of how easy it can be to buy cigarettes from vending machines. The machines are an obvious loophole that needs to be closed up urgently if we are to protect our children's health." Smoking is one of the major risk factors for cancer and nine out of ten cases of lung cancer are due to tobacco products. Elspeth Lee, senior tobacco control manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "We fully support the call to ban vending machines as a measure to reduce the accessibility of cigarettes to young people. "We would also like to see further measures introduced to reduce the number of young people who smoke, including price increases and the provision of targeted stop smoking services and support. "The issue must remain a government priority if we are to prevent today's teenagers becoming tomorrow's adult smokers and greatly increasing their risk of developing cancer in later life."
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