A new law that makes selling cigarettes from vending machines illegal has come into force today. NHS East of England has welcomed the new move.

Health campaigners were concerned about the fact that the vending machines are easily accessible to under-18 children. Government figures reveal that 11 per cent of 11- to15-year-old regular smokers claimed that they buy cigarettes from vending machines reported Echo.

The new law ensures that teenagers shouldn't have easy access to tobacco.

Last year, a regional test purchase programme by the East of England Trading Standards Association showed an alarming outcome. Underage volunteers were given the task to try and buy cigarettes from 104 vending machines all over the region, and surprisingly they succeeded 81 times. While others were broken, switched off or empty. Only an adult performed a right procedure on the grounds of challenging the volunteer about their age.

About 320,000 children under 16 try smoking every year, while the majority of adult smokers smoked daily even before they turned 18. That alone costs NHS around £2.7 billion a year.