Council Proposes Outlawing Cigarette Vending Machines

Following the example of two other cities in Massachusetts, Cambridge may soon ban cigarette vending machines.

Last Monday, City Councillor Francis H. Duehay '55 proposed the ban, which will be reviewed by the ordinance committee on November 16. If the proposal is passed by the committee, cigarette vending machines will become illegal in Cambridge.

"We'd simply be better off without cigarette machines," said Duehay, who added that similar laws have been uphelp by the Supreme Courts of Massachusetts and New Jersey. Duehay says he sees no need for cigarette machines because smoking is already banned in public places by the City of Cambridge.

But Boston-area distributors of cigarette vending machines see the proposal as a serious threat to their businesses.

Mark Levine, president of the Massachusetts Vending Association and treasurer of Melo-tone Vending, Inc., said the ban "would greatly affect" the machine distributors' business, and would hurt establishments that currently have cigarette machines.


"Locations have cigarette machines to cater to their clientele," said Levine. "What you're going to do by banning the machines is twist their arms and force them to sell over the counter."

Levine and other distributors of cigarette vending machines propose that instead of banning the machines altogether, the City Council consider mandating the use of locking devices which would prevent minors from obtaining cigarettes from public machines. Levine said he will fight the ban and intendsto demonstrate the locking devices at theordinance committee hearing.

These locking devices are currently required oncigarette machines in more than 50 communities inMassachusetts, he said.

Vending machines equipped with these devicesrestrict customers' access to the products.

They require that attendants at restaurants andother locales verify the age of their customersbefore allowing them to purchase cigarettes.

`The First Step'

Duehay said his main concern is keepingcigarettes from the hands of minors, but heintends to address the issue of smoking in "allsegments of the population."

He said the ban on cigarette machines is justthe first step in strengthening other antismokingordinances in Cambridge.

"The fewer places that sell cigarettes, thebetter," Duehay said. "I'm not for banning thesale of cigarettes, I just want to keep them outof the way of children and to make sure they'renot generally available in bars and restaurantsand places of that sort."

As the leader of the council's environmentalcommittee, Duehay has already led otheranti-smoking efforts, most not ably a referendumon cigarette taxes last fall