Cigarette vending machines
were a rarity when I was a young kid, and now, 9 or 10 years later, they are pretty much extinct
around these parts.
These quaint little devices were quite different from your standard chip or soda vendors in both shape and retrieval method. They consisted of a glass case shaped sort of like an ATM machine, albeit lower and broader. Across the front was a row of cigarette brand name labels to choose from. To receive said cancer sticks, one would deposit the proper amount in CHANGE, then pull out the handle that was designated for his or her brand of choice. Voila! The cigarette carton would fall into the retrieval tray just like in all other vending machines.
Sometime in the early 90's, there were several news stories pointing out the startlingly obvious fact that these machines were a danger as *gasp* people under 18 might be able to access these unmonitored machines and would possibly purchase cigarettes without having to show ID (or even interact with an actual person). Slowly, the machines faded from existence and were never mentioned again. I've only seen cigarette vending machines in the lobbies of a few old greasy spoon diners and this one skating rink I frequented. One place converted theirs into a rather odd looking candy dispenser, but other than that, these quaint old things only exist in my memory.