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Recently, the UK retailer are using ITL biometrics to verify consumer’s age. This is to avoid selling vape pens to the teens.
The Bestway Retail convenience store in Southampton, UK, is using age estimation software and hardware based on facial biometrics to anonymize customer information.
The system, MyCheckr is created by a supplier Innovative Technology. And it has been tested by similar UK budget retail chains Costcutter and Bargain Booze, as well as the UK government.
According to Innovative’s UK business development manager Chris Wright, if a customer appears to be underage, the device will display a red lighted on. Then whey will start a manual authentication to confirm the customer’s age. Innovative charges by device, and the verification operation is free.
Wright also says that Southampton has high concentration of students. Thus makes the age-verification tool particularly useful.
In the UK, the legal age to buy vape pen is 18, and selling to minors could face a £2,500 ($3,194) fine. In October 2022, the owner of a vape shop in Walsall, England, was fined more than £2,000 ($2,555).
In addition, some countries in Europe are also staring to use technology to avoid selling vapes to young people. For example, in Kolding, Denmark, the Bilka supermarket, has start using facial recognition-based age estimation at self-checkouts in March. The age estimation equipment are from an ID provider Yoti.
Moreover, according to a survey by Legal Serve, 70% of respondents purchased vape pens from corner and convenience stores. This makes it harder to prevent teens from buying vapes.
Besides, there may be some basis for why UK stores restrict manual authentication. A report by association The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) found that identity verification is a major trigger for violence.
In light of this, the British Retail Confederation (BRC) wants laws to allow the use of facial recognition technology for identity verification for alcohol sales.
In general, the purpose of implementing this measure is to avoid the teens from buying vape pens. This is also a useful way to protect the teens.
Even though there is no such technological equipment, the vape retail stores should also refuse to sell vapes and any other vape pen products to teens.