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Vape Vending Opens Opportunities

For first time consumers can use digital IDs to buy vaping goods from a vending machine thanks to 1account

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For the first time in the UK people can use a digital ID on their smartphones to buy vape products from a vending machine as part of a 12-month trial approved by Bucks & Surrey Trading Standards – a decade since the sale of tobacco products from machines was banned in the UK to prevent them getting into under-aged hands. The vending machine can be seen in the Leicester branch of The Vape Shop.

The advice from Trading Standards extends to high street retail, pubs and even NHS locations seeking to make their venues completely smoke free.

Using state-of-the-art digital identification technology from award winning age verification specialist 1account, the high-tech vape vending machines are a world away from their easy to access predecessors, ensuring only identity and age checked adults can access them.

The company has integrated it software to machines built by leading, London based vending manufacturer Aeguana and is in discussion with other manufacturers.

The first of the new generation vending machines has been installed in the Leicester branch of The Vape Shop, however a household name grocery retailer will also trial the vending machines at its stores this spring with more brands set to follow.

To create the digital ID, vapers simply download the 1account’s app, upload a form of ID to prove their age and who they are, and take a selfie. This information is cross referenced and verified with multiple data points such as mobile phone records, and the digital ID is ready to go.

At the vending machine, the consumer simply selects the product they want before opening the app and scanning a QR code on the machine to unlock it. Then their identity information, including age and photo image, are intelligently checked and verified to ensure that the person making the purchase is over 18 and who they say they are. They then make a card payment and their product is dispensed.

“‘Smart’ vending machines deliver never before seen levels of convenience

1account’s mission is to provide better access to age restricted goods and services, especially for those with less access to traditional forms of identity such as passports or driving licenses, while better protecting children by restricting their exposure to age-inappropriate goods and services both online and off.

Ben Keirle, founder and CEO of 1account, said: “The use of vending machines for the sale of consumable products has grown significantly in recent years as retailers better understand the demands of modern consumers.

“This pilot with Ecigwizard, and future trial partners, aims to evaluate if the sale of age restricted goods can form part of the continued expansion of this new generation of ‘smart’ vending machines which ensure children are not able to access age restricted products.”

Before launching the pilot, 1account carried out an extensive consultation process to gauge demand and support for the vape vending machine concept, including engagement with Members of Parliament, Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, smoking cessation experts including ASH, the New Nicotine Alliance and Smoke Free App, the UK Vaping Industry Association and various academic experts on vaping, including from King’s College, London.

Ben Keirle continued: “Before the ban on cigarette vending machines was introduced ten years ago, it was estimated that 35 million cigarettes were sold illegally through vending machines to children every year.

“This new generation of machines, incorporating our leading-edge digital ID technology, provides adults with greater access to vape products, which Public Health England state are at least 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes, while at the same time safeguarding against under 18s getting their hands on vape devices and e-liquids.

“Today adult customers have greater than ever choice where they buy their vape products, including specialist vape retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, online and now vending machines.

“This is important as vaping is widely evidenced as the best way to quit smoking and therefore has a critical role to play in helping the government achieve its target of a smokefree England by 2030.”

John Dunne, director general of the UK Vaping Industry Association welcomed the announcement of 1account’s vaping vending machine.  He added: “Vaping has been one of the most disruptive and successful business sectors in the 21st century. Innovation has been at the heart of its hugely positive impact on the health of former smokers and the country’s economy. The advent of the vape vending machine is another example of the innovative spirit within the sector which will support more smokers make a successful transition from conventional cigarettes to considerably less harmful vape products and at the same time boosting the retail economy.

“Today there are some 2.4m former adult smokers as a result of completely switching over to vaping and there is relatively low take up amongst under 18-year-olds. The vending machine, with its built-in digital ID technology, will help to ensure both trends continue.”

The introduction of the vending machine is part of 1account’s expansion plans to roll out its digital ID technology in shops selling age restricted products such as alcohol, knives and medications; as well as in establishments where it is illegal for U18s to be present including pubs, nightclubs and casinos.

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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