Age-verification app

| May 4, 2017

The problem of underage people buying cigarettes and alcohol might soon be a thing of the past in Denmark, according to a story by Stephen Gadd for cphpost.dk.

Fourteen interested parties from different sectors such as business, trade unions, interest organisations and producers have come together to launch a new mobile app called Smart ID, which can be presented by would-be purchasers to verify their age.

“I hope it will become more customary to be asked your age in a shop and that we can agree that children should not be allowed to buy adult-exclusive products,” said Susanne Mørch Koch, the administrative director of Danske Spil, one of the developers of the app.

Gadd said that a recent series of articles in Politiken had highlighted how easy it was for underage children to buy cigarettes in Denmark, where nearly all the shops approached sold tobacco products to people without checking their IDs.

De Samvirkende Købmænd, an organization representing many shops, kiosks and petrol stations, says that it is happy to co-operate with the initiative, but there is a problem. Many shops experience a negative reaction when people are asked their age. “If a cashier is repeatedly berated for just doing their job and asking for ID, then it could well be that they don’t ask in the future,” Claus Bøgelund, the vice director of the organization, said. “We have to do something about that.”

Meanwhile, the Danish Cancer Society’s project director Niels Them Kjær, who is involved in tobacco limitation programs, was quoted as saying he was happy to see some focus on the problem. But he was sceptical as to whether the initiative would have the desired result without the campaign’s being followed by concrete action.

“Now we just need shops to start asking young people their ages, but they’ve promised to do that before,” he said. “We also need the authorities to get involved, and I think we will probably have to start fining shops that break the law.”

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