PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Mayor Sophie Masloff, concerned about possible legal challenges, on Friday vetoed legislation that would have banned cigarette vending machines in most public places.
Instead, Masloff proposed legislation to make such machines operable only with tokens purchased by adults.
"Without fairly balancing the needs of owners of publicly used commercial establishments with the need to protect the health of our children, this bill could only be implemented after serious delays," the mayor said in a letter to the council urging it to sustain her veto.
The City Council approved the vending machine ban, 7 to 1, last week. Its intent was to stop minors from being able to purchase cigarettes. The measure faced almost certain legal action from tobacco lobbying groups, vending companies and retailers.
Some officials said the ban would hurt smaller grocery operations and possibly lead to an increased number of cigarette thefts from such stores.
Masloff's legislation calls for modification of all cigarette vending machines to accept tokens and not currency. The only exception, as was the case in the vetoed legislation, would be in establishments licensed by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, private clubs or work places not accessible to the general public.