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We Card September 2022 Awareness Month is particularly important as violation rates are on the rise the past few months according to FDA enforcement data posted to its website. We Card is asking retailers to re-invigorate their responsible retailing efforts of age-restricted products with FOUR simple steps.
The latest FDA compliance reports show an upward trend in violations since the national 21-year minimum-age law took effect in December 2019. And with the raise in the minimum age from 18 or 19 to a national law of 21 for vapor and tobacco products comes a change in the way compliance checks may be conducted in your state. Under contract from the FDA, more states are using an older age group of 18-20 year olds when conducting underage sale inspections.
Your Customers and New Hires May Not Be Aware The legal age of purchase for tobacco and vapor products rose to 21 three years ago, but it’s still news to a lot of people. Your customers may not know about the law, and your new hires may not know either. Customers who don't know about the new federal law can pose a conflict when employees deny their attempted purchase, and untrained newly hired employees can make that mistake of not “carding” or selling to a 20-year old.
It should come as no surprise that online and computer-based learning have risen dramatically over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders made eLearning a crucial part of every business’ training program. Results from the We Card Best Practices Survey show the rate of eLearning rose to 62 percent in 2021 from 40 percent in 2010.
A local retailer in Arlington, VA had revised store hours posted on the front door. The manager, who most customers know well, said he had to reduce the hours because he can't find people to staff the store during normal hours. "My customers love our store and ask about the staff they meet when they come in," he added, "but it's hard to find the right people and training them is a significant up-front investment."
FDA has again increased its fines to reflect rising inflation so as of 3-17-22, all levels of fines on the illegal underage sale of age-restricted products have increased.  
Early indications are showing a spike in violation rates Asking for ID can be challenging, doing so during masking and a global pandemic even more so.  The minimum age sales law changed nationally to Under 21 just two years ago.   Most states followed suit and passed laws to parallel the federal 21-year minimum age law. 
How do underage people get access to tobacco and vapes? The data is clear. Most of the time, youth report getting their tobacco and vapor products through the three B’s: bumming, borrowing or buying it from someone else. We know this from years of data, especially from the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which surveys students every two years on tobacco and vaping and other risky behaviors. Here is what the surveys found:
FDA has increased its fines to reflect rising inflation so as of 11-15-21, all levels of fines on the illegal underage sale of age-restricted products have gone up.  FDA hasn't changed the first violation as a warning but keep in mind 1) not checking an under 27 year old customer's ID and 2) selling to someone underage counts as two violations which means a single compliance inspection can get you to 2 violations.  The previous fine was $297, and the new fine is $301.  This doesn't seem like much until you get to higher violation amounts.  Check out our updated chart on these fines in our 
Fake IDs are becoming more common particularly sophisticated Fake IDs manufactured using state-of-the-art printing and lamination. These fake ID's not only have an authentic looking picture but also have a bar code on the back that matches the date of birth on the front of the ID.  When this type of fake ID is scanned, it can produce an okay to sell  result.  What should a retailer do?

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