Thursday, October 26, 2006


DoCoMo moves to reduce underage smoking

It’s one of the regular finding of our mobileYouth report report that increased spending on mobile amongst early teens has led to a decrease in underage smoking as youth have less disposable income to spend on cigarettes. DoCoMo is looking to cut teen smoking down even further with a new system – “Taspo”.

It’s illegal to sell tobacco to under 20s in Japan. However, vending machines are everywhere, selling not only drinks but also tobacco. Vending machines provide an easy opportunity for underage smokers to get supplies without being challenged to prove their age – and this is what DoCoMo is looking to change.

“Taspo” is an IC card based system. To buy tobacco, consumers must first touch an “Taspo” IC card to confirm their age. The vending machine then connects to a server over DoCoMo’s wireless network to verify age and authorise the transaction.

Strangely, DoCoMo doesn’t mention any plans to extend the system to IC enabled wallet phones, but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the case when the system is rolled out in mid-2008.

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