The Tobacco Institute of Japan said Thursday it will start switching cigarette vending machines nationwide to new machines featuring an age-verification system from March 2008 to prevent minors from buying cigarettes. The institute announced that a total of 620,000 tobacco vending machines nationwide will be switched during 2008 to types that can read “tobacco cards” with integrated circuit chips bought by adult smokers.
Not surpised, we’ve seen the same age verification function on “Sake Pass” machines [ .jpg image ] for some time already — Eds.
With the introduction of such vending machines, smokers would need to carry the microchip-embedded cards, with the new vending machines reading them through a sensor. The tobacco cards will have the function of prepaid cards, so smokers can buy tobacco products with them.