Belgium to ban all tobacco vending machines in bars, restaurants

The Federal Government of Belgium will soon ban all tobacco vending machines in bars or restaurants, but not in supermarkets which are exempted, as per the Parliamentary Committee on Public Health.

The officials made the decision on Wednesday. The Federal authorities backed a bill by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke to completely ban tobacco vending machines in the hospitality industry.

Along with this, Federal MP for the Christian-democratic CD&V party Els Van Hoof, who paved the way with a similar bill in 2016, highlighted that the prohibition should especially give minors less easy access to cigarettes.

She mentioned in the statement, “Since 2006, those tobacco vending machines must be equipped with a lock via ‘agecoins’, a kind of token that cannot be given to minors. In practice, however, we see that the tokens are often made available to anyone.”

Vandenbroucke also pointed out “frequent violations” of age coins as well as outlined that the vending machines create an over-availability of tobacco products at night.

In addition, that way, the bill refers to a 2015 opinion of the Superior Health Council, which mentioned that tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes, should not be sold freely as well as access to all people and should instead be limited to tobacco shops and newsagents.

Meanwhile, Van Hoof’s originial bill, as well as the advice of the Superior Health Council, Vandenbroucke does still provide an exception for tobacco vending machines in supermarkets, as well as refers to the significance of explicit age verification at the checkout.

As per the text, these are “less impulsive” purchases that are “Inherent to the addicted smoker’s consumption pattern.”

Even at supermarkets with self-scanning checkouts, shop assistants will still have to carry out detailed age verification.





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