LONDON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Cigarette vending machines have been banned in England in an effort to discourage children from becoming smokers.
Supporters say vending machines, which are often unsupervised, are a major source of cigarettes for underage smokers, the BBC reported.
"The ban on cigarette sales from vending machines will protect children by making cigarettes less accessible to them -- we want to do everything we can to encourage young people not to start smoking in the first place," Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said.
The rest of the United Kingdom is expected to follow suit in 2012, the British news network said.
Some pub owners object to the new rule, saying it deprives them of a source of revenue. Pubs can sell cigarettes from behind the bar, but owners say that will interfere with serving beer and other drinks to customers.
Another rule in the pipeline is a ban on cigarette advertising in stores. Large retailers must get rid of the ads by next April while smaller shops have until 2015.