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Friday, 29th February 2008
In General Japan News,

Cigarette machines to require proof-of-age

Anyone purchasing cigarettes from a vending machine in Japan will soon have to verify their age.

A report by the Japan Times has highlighted the new technology, which makes use of an "integrated circuit" age verification card.

The new cards will enter into force next month.

Known as Taspo, a reference to the term "tobacco, access, passport", the new age-verification card will be issued by the Tobacco Institute of Japan and will be necessary for each and every vending machine cigarette purchase.

"Taspo is the ultimate way of rigorously conducting age verification checks and is expected to be a highly effective way of preventing underage smoking," said the Tobacco Institute of Japan.

An additional function of the card will enable smokers to deposit up to a total of ¥20,000, which can then be used as payment for tobacco products.

Anyone attempting to purchase tobacco from a normal store will not be required to show the card.