Japanese machine determines skin age

Japanese smokers will face skin age test to deter underage smokers

If all the regular ways to give up smoking fail, then a new Japanese machine that counts wrinkles and determines skin age could make a pretty good deterrent.

A Japanese company is developing a vending machine that counts wrinkles and skin sagging to check a smoker’s age.

The face recognition technology is actually aimed at stopping anyone under the legal age of 20 from buying cigarettes. However it will also give smokers a fright if their predicted age is older than it actually is.

From July onwards in Japan, vending machine companies could be prosecuted if cigarettes are sold to anyone under the legal age.

People buying cigarettes who fail a digital camera ‘age test’ must show the machine an ID card to determine if they are legally allowed to smoke.

The system compares facial features including bone structure, sags and crow’s feet against a record of 100,000 people.

A spokesman for the new technology, Hajime Yamamoto told Reuters: ‘With face recognition, so long as you’ve got some change and you are an adult, you can buy cigarettes like before.’

He added: ‘The problem of minors borrowing identification cards to purchase cigarettes could be avoided as well.’

Japan has 570,000 tobacco vending machines and although underage smoking is on the decline, a 2004 survey showed 14% of boys and 4% of girls between 17 and 18 smoke everyday.

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