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+ - Japan introducing Tobacco ID cards

Submitted by
Riquez
Riquez writes "Over the past year Japan has been upgrading Cigarette Vending Machines with card reading facilities. Starting March 2008 all Tobacco purchases must be made using a special Electronic ID card. The reasoning behind this is to stop underage smoking. Currently, Tobacco Vending Machines turn off at 11pm — the objective is again that children can't use the machines under the cover of darkness.
Several questions on this policy come to mind. In a country where smoking is acceptable mostly anywhere, how do they expect this to have an effect on underage smoking? Small shops will still sell to those who look old enough, children will still be able to steal/borrow their parents or friends ID card. At the same time, legitimate smokers are being inconvenienced, what if I forget my card, or lose it?
Japan is traditionally behind the rest of the world on social laws such as smoking & drinking, but at the same time this provides freedoms such as impromptu parties in the park.

It may only be an issue for Japan now, but how many ID cards do we need?"

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