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A cigarette machine is a vending machine that takes cash in payment for packs of cigarettes. Vending machines often dispense packs containing 16 or 18 cigarettes, although the dimensions of the packaging are the same as the equivalent pack containing 20.
Bans and restrictions
In order to aid the restriction of sale of tobacco to minors, cigarette machines are regulated in many countries.
Since July 2008, companies may face prosecution if found selling tobacco to anyone under the legal age, 20 years old. To avoid this, Japan has introduced a government registered electronic smart card, called Taspo, that allows the user to purchase from the machines. To get a Taspo card, the purchaser must present their passport or ID to any government-authorized business offering the service.
As an automated way of determining age, the Fujitaka company is developing a technology that allows the vending machine to determine, using a digital camera and based on the facial wrinkles and sags of the potential buyer, whether the buyer is old enough to purchase cigarettes. The system compares facial characteristics including bone structure, sags, and crow's feet against a record of more than 100,000 people. However, if the user fails they can still use the machine with a Taspo card.
Tobacco vending machine prevalence by country
|Country/Territory||Situation regarding cigarette vending machines|
|Australia||Sales prohibited under 18. Can only be located in liquor licensed and gaming venues, must display health warnings and cannot contain images of product (only a description and price on a black and white label).|
|Austria||Sales prohibited under 16. Machines must attempt to verify a customer's age by requiring the insertion of a debit card or mobile phone verification.|
|Belgium||Sales prohibited under 16. Machines need to be locked/unlocked by a responsible adult.|
|Czech Republic||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines situated in bars and similar places only.|
|Denmark||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines generally situated in restaurants, bars and hotel lobbies. Age verification monitored by staff.|
|England||Ban came into force on 1 October 2011.|
|Finland||Ban came into force on 1 January 2015.|
|Germany||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines must provide an age verification (usually: German identity card, European driving licence or Electronic cash-Card). Until 2007 the sale was prohibited to under 16. Since 31. December 2008 all public cigarette machines must have an age verification to prove that the buyer is 18 or over.|
|Guernsey||A ban was approved on 1 July 2010, following an amendment to the existing tobacco advertising law. The exact date of implementation has yet to be decided.|
|Hungary||Banned in 2006|
|Ireland||Sales prohibited under 18. Restricted to licensed premises only since 1 July 2009. Vending machines are operated by a token or card obtained from the bar once the age of the buyer has been identified.|
|Israel||Ban came into force on 1 January 2014|
|Italy||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines must contain an electronic device to verify age of buyer.|
|Luxembourg||Sales prohibited under 16. Age has to be proven at the counter or bar before a token is issued so that the machine can be used.|
|Malta||Sales prohibited under 16.|
|Netherlands||Sales prohibited under 18. Token issued at counter once the purchasers age has been verified.|
|New Zealand||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines situated in bars and similar places only. From 10 December 2004, machines can only be operated by staff.|
|Northern Ireland||Ban came into force on 1 March 2012|
|Norway||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines are token operated.|
|Portugal||Sales prohibited under 18. Machines must contain an electronic device to verify age of buyer.|
|Spain||Sales prohibited under 18.|
|Scotland||Ban came into force on 29 April 2013.|
|Sweden||Sales prohibited under 18.|
|Switzerland||Sales from machines are age restricted in 21 out of 26 cantons (12 cantons—under 16; 9 cantons—under 18; 5 cantons-no age restriction (although most retailers won't sell to under 16.).|
|United States||Only in facilities where people under 18 are not allowed.|
|Wales||Ban came into force on 1 February 2012.|
- Clark Whittington, creator of the Art-o-mat, a project to convert disused cigarette machines into art vending machines
- Distroboto, a project to convert disused cigarette machines into zine vending machines
- Taspo, a Japanese system for age verification at cigarette machines
- Action on Smoking and Health
- "Japanese smokers to face age test". BBC. 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
- "Cigarette vending machines banned in England". BBC. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
- "Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents" (PDF). 19 March 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
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