Belgium will prohibit tobacco vending machines in bars and restaurants but not in supermarkets, reports The Brussels Times, citing an Oct. 19 decision by the country’s Parliamentary Committee on Public Health.
The federal government backed a bill by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke to ban tobacco vending machines in the hospitality industry. Federal MP Els Van Hoof, who paved the way with a similar bill in 2016, stressed that the ban should make it harder for minors to access cigarettes.
Since 2006, tobacco vending machines in Belgium can be accessed only with a special proof-of-age coin that may not be given to minors. In reality, however, the coins have been widely available, including to underage buyers.
The ban will take effect after a yet-to-be-determined transition period to give the industry time to remove the machines.
With its new rule, Belgium will join the Netherlands, the U.K. and France, among other countries that restrict mechanical sales of tobacco products.