Japan Fights Underage Smoking
Parents can rest assured that teenagers cannot easily buy cigarettes from vending machines
As part of its efforts to comply with recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Japan is doing more to keep cigarettes out of the hands of underage smokers.
The country has equipped cigarette vending machines with RFID-based, age-verification controls.
In 2008, the country set a deadline for outfitting some 500,000 vending machines with RFID tags that read cards issued to people 20 years or older.
Users must hold the cards close to the vending machine so that its chip, and the unique and encrypted ID on it, can be read, verifying that the cardholder is old enough to buy tobacco.
For those adult consumers who smoke, the card offers another benefit: It can be loaded with credit and used as a debit card. This makes quick dashes to vending machines even faster and more convenient, since buyers don’t have to dig in their pockets for coins or banknotes.
And parents, of course, can now more easily ensure that cigarettes don’t fall into the hands of their youngsters.
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