By Andrew Liszewski
In Japan you have to be 20 years old to legally buy cigarettes. While the age limit makes buying smokes from an honest shopkeep difficult, vending machines have traditionally sold cigarettes to anyone and everyone with the right amount of currency. But earlier this year the Tobacco Institute of Japan instituted a new system that requires smart vending machines to check the buyer’s ID before allowing them to make a purchase.
So if you’re 20 or older and want to buy cigarettes from a machine in Japan, you need to get a tobacco passport age-verification card which is how they confirm you’re age. The circuit-embedded cards also feature electronic money capabilities allowing you to simply swipe the card to verify your age and complete your purchase. Obviously the system is far from foolproof, since there’s nothing stopping someone with a tobacco passport from simply handing the purchased cigarettes to an underage smoker, but if they somehow combined these machines with those giant Gundam bots I think they’d have a pretty good deterrent.