LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A tobacco company is trying to reinvent the fading cigarette vending machine with a model designed to prevent illegal purchases by those under 18.
The machine works only when customers prove they old enough by swiping a credit card and a valid identification with a magnetic strip. A virtual sales clerk on the machine's video screen tells kids they're too young.
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. is testing the machines in taverns, nightclubs and restaurants in Los Angeles and Cleveland.
Anti-smoking advocates said the new machines still fall short of verifying that their customers are over 18.
''There's a large potential for abuse by minors because they could fraudulently use someone over 18's ID,'' said Cindy Adams, an American Cancer Society spokesperson. ''It takes out the element of having a real live person who can determine properly if the person trying to purchase the cigarettes is age 18 or older.''
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