Peace and Hope are the most popular Japanese cigarette brands. Billboards and journal advertisements depict stunning models. Cigarettes are constantly offered for free to customers at pubs and nightclubs. Most of the advertising is targeted towards women and the younger generation.
Cigarette advertising is allowed between 10:54pm and 5:00am, Monday through Friday, on TV however, the tobacco industry voluntarily “limits” cigarette advertisements. For instance, in 1998, Japanese cigarette manufacturers arranged to remove cigarette ads off television, radio, films and the Internet and cease offering free cigarettes on the streets nevertheless they intended to recompense by showing even more advertisements in magazines and newspapers.
In May 2010, Japan Tobacco started advertising smokeless cigarettes that utilize tobacco cartridges. The product that is known as Zero Style Mint, costs about 300. A package of four refill cartridges is available for ¥400.
You can find more than 520,000 cigarette vending machines in Japan. According to government rules, the machines automatically halt giving cigarettes between 11:00pm and 5:00am. The purpose of these rules is not clear. People can easily purchase cigarettes at convenience stores that sell cigarettes 24 hours a day.
However starting 2013, all smokers who wanted to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine needed a “taspo” so called age-verification card. Created in order to help stop underage smoking, the cards could be acquired by sending a pictures and a copy of document proving age, for example a driver’s license, to the Tobacco Institute of Japan. Numerous cigarette users have not taken the trouble to sign up for the new cards and instead purchase their cigarettes at supermarkets.
Fujitake Company creates vending machines that are able to identify those under 18 using a camera and modern facial recognition system according to bone structure, wrinkles and the way the skin looks. Thus, those who want to purchase cigarettes must look at the facial recognition camera and press a button. In several seconds, the machine establishes whether the person is 20 years old or older or not. In case the machine is not able to make a clear determination, the user has to place driver’s license and scan birthday date.