MONTVALE, N.J. -- A&P here has decided to snuff out cigarette vending machines in its stores by the end of this month.
Taking part in what promises to be one of the key issues in this election year, the retailer said it is pulling out its cigarette vending machines in response to President Clinton's call to curb juvenile smoking.
"We recognize that by removing cigarette vending machines in our stores we will greatly limit access by minors to tobacco products," James Wood, A&P's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We are in full support of President Clinton's effort to reduce the use of tobacco among young people," he added.
Michael Rourke, senior vice president, communications and corporate affairs, told SN A&P has been gradually removing the machines for the last several years and now has probably less than 100 in its more than 1,000 stores.
"In the past, we had hundreds of vending machines. At one time we had one or two in almost every store. Over the last several years, we have been reducing those machines as they became more difficult to administer and as the emphasis on [stopping] sales to minors increased, we reduced it even further," Rourke said, adding that the machines account for only a very small percentage of cigarette sales.
Most of the cigarette machines are from leased vendors, he said.
Rourke said that single packs of cigarettes will continue to be sold at A&P stores from behind the courtesy counter or at the cash register.