Will cigarette vending machine ban work?

It is hoped that moves to make the sale of cigarettes from vending machines illegal in England will help prevent young people from picking up the habit. The Department of Health noted the ban has been introduced to stop under-age sales of tobacco and to also remove temptation for adults trying to quit.

A fine of £2,500 has been implemented for those selling cartons this way and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley observed vending machines - which are often left unsupervised - can make it easy for young people to buy cigarettes.

Mr Lansley said he is determined to do everything possible to prevent adolescents smoking in the first place and added: "The ban on cigarette sales from vending machines will protect children by making cigarettes less accessible to them."

The politician - who is also the MP for South Cambridgeshire - added smoking poses one of the most sizeable challenges to public health at present, with more than 80,000 deaths a year caused by the habit.

Earlier in the year, the British Psychological Society lent its support to the Smokefree Action Coalition - a group of organisations committed to improving public health.

The Society said it was pleased to back the body and Dr Gerry Mulhern, President of the British Psychological Society, commented: "We are happy to endorse the Smokefree Action Coalition. Many of our members work with people who want extra support to stop smoking."

Initially emerging as a group to lobby for cigarettes to be banned from the workplace, the Smokefree Action Coalition has since gone on to broaden its aim to help reduce the harm caused by tobacco on a larger scale.