Carlisle firm finds loophole in law banning cigarette machines in pubs

A Carlisle business hit by the cigarette vending machine ban has found a way round the legislation.

Although the new rules ban machines which are in reach of punters in pubs, there’s nothing to say they can’t be kept behind the bar.

So Cumbria Vending Services, which on Kingstown Industrial Estate, is offering customers smaller replacements which are operated by staff.

Cigarette machines were the sole business for CVS and managing director Rod Bullough feared for his firm when the government announced plans to outlaw them.

CVS had been trading for more than 20 years and boasted contracts with about 300 pubs, clubs and hotels across Cumbria and the north east.

Mr Bullough wrote numerous letters requesting meetings with the politicians in charge health and business without success.

Two months ago, he decided to change the way he worked. The switch has been costly as the replacement machines need to be brought in and the old ones removed.

He said: “The take up has been good and we’re working very hard, but it took me 20-odd years to build my business up to what it was and it will probably take another 20 to get it back.

“Businesses like ours are legal and we pay our taxes but the government has treated us abominably, it has given us no support whatsoever.”

Vending machines only account for one per cent of the UK cigarette market and the government’s main aim was to stop youngsters getting their fix from them.

But Mr Bullough doubts it will have any effect on the numbers of children smoking and said pubs should be stopping children accessing the machines.

By Steph Johnson

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