Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Smoke machines

With plain packaging, screened-off displays, and age limits, cigarettes are not as visible or easy to buy as they once were. Indeed, it's easy to forget that you used to be able to get them 24 hours a day from readily-accessible vending machines. However, a few are still around to remind us of simpler, unhealthier times. 

Right outside the station and highly-rated on Tripadvisor, the Bridge Coffee Shop once also offered cigarettes from its shiny vending machine. It's now empty, the Player's advert has faded, and even if you were tempted to use the coin slot, no price is shown.

The sale of cigarettes from vending machines began in the 1920s but was banned in 2011. However, judging by the prices on display, the Stoke-on-Trent example had ceased trading much earlier. While machines dispensed as few as 16 cigarettes in a packet, to keep prices stable and in round numbers, it is a very long time since they would have been 30p. In fact, the early 1970s seems likely, making this machine a real survivor.


Stephen Barker said...

Another thing you don't see these days are vending machines for chewing gum, I remember machines for Wrigleys and Beech-nut. I should imagine the rapid inflation of the 1970's would have made the machines more expensive to maintain. Another thing that has gone from the high street are the collection boxes for what was then the Spastics Society in the form of a child in callipers.

HughB said...

Around this time there was an Arab character in the Dandy (or was it the Beano?) named Mustapha Fagg..😁

CarolineLD said...

I'd forgotten about chewing gum machines!

Anonymous said...

Milk and paraffin were also available from vending machines - paraffin as late as the mid-1970s.