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Tobacco Vending Machines Ban Youth Access

Posted July. 28, 2004 22:25,   


Effective Thursday, July 29, purchasing tobacco at a tobacco vending machine will require ID cards such as the resident registration card to be inserted to prove that the buyer is an adult.

The Health Promotion Law is revised to mandate the installation of equipment that checks the buyer’s age to prevent youth under the age of 19 from smoking, announced the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

The revised law allows the use of all ID cards, such as the resident registration card, driver’s license and credit cards, as means of age verification. However, KT&G, the operator of most of the tobacco vending machines nationwide, installed the equipment to accept resident registration cards only. Currently, 2,500 tobacco vending machines are run by KT&G, while 300 are operated by individual operators.

Operators who do not install such equipment on tobacco vending machines will face fines of up to two million won. “We will recommend all tobacco vending machine operators to install the equipment. For the coming three to six months, however, violators will not be fined for the purpose of instructing the operators to abide by the law,” said the ministry official.

Tae-Hoon Lee jefflee@donga.com