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Japan's ciggie machines to sniff out buyer's age

All smoke and mirrors?

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Most people wouldn’t welcome the onset of wrinkles and crow’s feet, but Japanese smokers could soon need some if they’re to buy smokes from the country’s cigarette machines.

Japan’s legal smoking age is 20, but the country already has around 570,000 vending machines that dispense packs at whim. However, new regulations come into force in July that could mean prosecutions for any vending-machine company whose dispenser sells tobacco to someone under the legal age.

According to a report by Reuters, Japanese firm Fujitaka has developed a software and digital camera combo that prevents cigarette supply confusions. The camera snaps a picture of the buyer then the software analyses the person’s face for wrinkles around the eyes, bone structure and sagging skin - all signs that the punter is old enough to partake of the wicked weed.

The software compares the buyer's wrinkle round-up with the facial data of over 100,000 existing snaps and decides if the buyer is old enough to be legally sold cigarettes.

A spokesman for the company said the system is about 90 per cent accurate, with the remaining ten per cent of buyers sitting in a “grey-zone” of baby-faced adults. Rather than wrinkly-faced juveniles, we assume.

If the system can’t verify a person’s age with a single snap, it asks the buyer to insert their driving licence in order to confirm their age.

Hardened smokers should be able to get their fix quite easily though, because puffing cigs is known to cause aging of the skin.

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