Biometric measures for age verification are gaining ground in Canada and Washington state, as retailers and regulators try to prevent youth from accessing vapes and other restricted products.
Imperial Tobacco Canada (ITCAN), which produces most of Canada’s major cigarette brands as well as the VUSE brand of vapes, has announced the expansion of a pilot for a biometric pass to access its VUSE retail stores, according to media reports.
According to a release, customers who sign up for the VUSE Pass through a one-time age verification process will be able to verify their age at VUSE outlets with a biometric palm scan.
The nationwide rollout follows a successful pilot program in Toronto.
“We say we are committed to preventing youth vaping, and we mean it,” says Frank Silva, the president and CEO of ITCAN. “A root cause of the problem is that kids unfortunately have access to vaping products. We’ve taken an important first step by making sure that we do more to control access to our own stores.”
Silva says there is a lack of government leadership around ensuring proper age verification procedures for restricted products. “Governments have all the tools necessary to stop retailers from selling to minors. They are simply not being enforced.”
Lawmakers in Washington State are deciding whether or not regulators will be able to add fingerprint scans for biometric age verification to their ID toolkit. The State Liquor and Cannabis Board has been considering a pilot project for biometric age verification. But, as the Center Square reports, doubts and questions about equity, security and oversight continue to arise.