Imperial fails to overturn vending machine ban

July 29, 2011

Imperial Tobacco has failed in its bid to get the Supreme Court to hear an appeal against the ban on cigarette vending machines.

The Bristol-based group, the world's fourth-largest cigarette company, had hoped the court would overturn the ban, which comes into effect on October 1.

The legilsation is part of the 2009 Health Act introduced by the Labour Government.

The Court of Appeal last month threw out a legal challenge against the move by Imperial during which it claimed outlawing the machines would encourage the trade in illicit cigarettes. It also said the move would flout European human rights legislation and free trade rules.

But health organisations and anti-tobacco pressure groups say the ban will cut down underage smoking and prevent deaths from smoking-related diseases.

Imperial owns around 20,000 vending machines in the UK, mainly in bars, clubs and restaurants, through its Wolverhampton-based subsidiary Sinclair Collis.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Imperial said Sinclair Collis was now focused on meeting its responsibilities under the legislation.

The tobacco industry claims the ban, which takes effect from October 1, will result in at least 550 job losses.



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