Cigarette vending machines could soon disappear from the UK after MPs agreed to ban them. MPs also voted to ban the display of cigarettes in shops, despite strong opposition to the Government’s proposals from the Tories.
Former Cabinet minister Mr McCartney said the approval of his ban proposal on vending machines “was going to change history.” Condemning tobacco vending machines as an “unacceptable mistake in our country’s struggle to prevent thousands of children suffering illness and premature death,” he protested that tobacco was still “the only product in Britain that can be sold legally, which routinely kills and injures its customers.”
Mr McCartney’s amendment to the law was passed without a vote and Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the Government would not oppose the measure. The move has been greeted as a brave one and welcomed by health activists and anti-smoking campaigners, including the British Heart Foundation which has been campaigning for a ban on vending machines in pubs.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: “Stopping tobacco sales from vending machines has made a strong bill even stronger. We wouldn’t tolerate other age-restricted products such as alcohol or knives being sold in this way. This prohibition means that a lethal and addictive product will no longer be easily accessible to children”.
Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, added: “We are delighted that MPs have voted to protect young people from tobacco marketing. Putting tobacco out of sight in shops and removing cigarette vending machines will help reduce the number of young people taking up a lethal addiction: tobacco kills half of all long term users.”
Conservative Party member Phillip Davies expressed concern over proposals for a ban on the display of cigarettes, particularly during the recession when shops could suffer from a lack of business. He said: “As someone who was a shop-keeper for 12 years before entering Parliament, I can tell you that tobacco is not bought on an impulse in the same way that cakes are.” His party’s attempt to allow shops to continue displaying cigarettes was defeated by 288 votes to 180.
Before last night’s vote, thousands of newsagents threatened to boycott the Labour Party at the general election if the display legislation was passed. They said the measure would put hundreds of small shop-keepers out of business. Pub industry bodies such as the British Beer and Pub Association have said that the measures are another obstacle to an already aggravated pub industry. A spokesperson from the BBPA said: “It’s unnecessary, and will make life even more difficult for our publicans. Vending machines are well supervised, and governed by a strict code. Publicans are well used to selling a product restricted by age, and don’t need further restrictions.”
But Health Minister Gillian Merron said: “Today’s children might be tomorrow’s smokers—these new plans will help to ensure that we make sure they are not. Protecting young people from a lifetime of addiction and possible death from smoking-related diseases is crucial as is supporting smokers who want to quit. It is encouraging to know that MPs agree on this.”
Text adapted from Mail Online (October 2009)
- ban: prohibir, prohibició / prohibir, prohibición
- display: exposar, tenir a la vista / exponer, tener a la vista
- bill: projecte de llei / proyecto de ley
- lethal: mortal
- to threaten: amenaçar / amenazar
- publican: propietari (regent) d’un pub / dueño (que regenta) un pub
Part 1: Reading comprehensionChoose the best answer according to the text. Only ONE answer is possible.
1. According to the article, under the new UK Government’s law…
- tobacco will no longer be displayed at points of sale.
- tobacco will be forbidden by the Government.
- tobacco machines will be allowed in bars and shops.
- all vending machines will soon disappear in the UK.
- are a serious danger to children’s entertainment.
- have contributed to change history.
- legally provide a product that causes death.
- prevent children from suffering illness and premature death…
- to stop the presence of tobacco machines in pubs.
- to restrict tolerance in the sales of alcohol and knives.
- in favour of free access to pubs.
- to join the British Heart Foundation.
- it reinforces the existing law against easy access to addictive products.
- tobacco is more lethal than any other addictive drug.
- it will make dangerous products accessible to children.
- the Government will forbid children from using vending machines.
- the new law will reduce the percentage of addictions amongst youngsters.
- the new law will not protect young people from smoking.
- all long term smokers are killed by tobacco.
- this new law was voted to protect tobacco marketing.
- in time of recession shop-keepers will lose business.
- people should be able to buy tobacco as they buy cakes.
- shops will continue to display cigarettes.
- Government should protect the tobacco industry.
- refuse to participate in the next general election.
- campaign against Labour vote at the general election.
- boycott the Conservative Party.
- put shop-keepers out of their business.
- help prevent children from becoming potential smokers.
- prevent children from contracting new diseases.
- encourage more people to keep on smoking.
- protect young people from infectious diseases.