Belgium Will Ban Tobacco Vending Machines in Places of Entertainment

Belgium’s Parliamentary Committee on Public Health has agreed to ban all tobacco vending machines in throughout the hospitality industry such as bars or restaurants.

Last week, the Federal Government approved a bill by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke to completely ban tobacco vending machines across the the hospitality industry, with one of the main aims being reducing exposure and access to minors.

“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,” said Federal MP for the Christian-democratic CD&V party Els Van Hoof.

The bill comes with an exemption for supermarkets, however mentions the importance of explicit age verification at the checkout, where even with self-scanning checkouts, shop assistants are required to carry out explicit age verifications.

With this measure, Belgium will be following in the footsteps of several European countries such as the UK, France, Finland, Norway, Hungary and the Netherlands, where such a ban has been in place since 1 January 2022.


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