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Those underage are getting access to tobacco and vapor products despite retailers’ efforts to reject underage purchase attempts approximately 90% of the time.  Age restricted product retailers are doing a good job identifying and denying underage purchase attempts, focusing on compliance with FDA regulations and federal law and state law requirements. So how do the underage get age restricted products?  It’s called “social sourcing.” 
Back in our March 2021 posting, we reviewed how an FDA compliance check works.  Let’s take a look at some compliance numbers and how they relate to fines.
Many people live-for-the-weekend or even just a short vacation, but there’s no such rest for compliance training and practice. Each and every shift an employee works is an ideal time for training and gaining on-the-job practice and familiarity with the knowledge and skills designed to prevent the sale of age-restricted products, including alcohol, tobacco, e-cigarettes and vaping products. And for new hires, thorough onboarding is critical to ensure they have a skillset foundation to build upon.
State laws are far from one-size-fits-all; instead, they vary significantly. If you own or operate stores in more than one state or even within a state, and sell age-restricted products, such as tobacco and vaping products, it’s your responsibility to keep up with these law variations. With We Card, you don’t have to go at it alone in understanding the state laws.
Reinforce compliance education among your employees with We Card’s ID CHECK-UP training service. The mystery shopper program offers real-time practice with a We Card Checker, age 21-25, to ensure accurate performance in preventing underage e-cigarette, vaping and tobacco product sales. Users of the training service report improved employee compliance by as much as 40 percent.*          How it Works          Step 1:             A We Card Checker enters your store and attempts to purchase an age-restricted product.
We Card’s mission is to provide tools and training to help retailers prevent the underage sale of age restricted products.  For 26 years, We Card has offered a range of ala carte tools and a complete turn-key suite of products along with broad educational efforts to help retailers not only understand minimum age sales laws and requirements but comply with them. At We Card, you can find everything you need to get from zero to sixty quickly.  If your store only needs a few training tools, We Card has that too.
“Most kids I know have fakes” is a regular statement among many college kids.   Some fake IDs are altered by their owners, with date-of-birth numbers or photos changed.  Some IDs are expired and handed off to friends or younger siblings.  Trained employees can spot these IDs – a mismatched photo or an expiration. And while ‘old school’ fake IDs are still used, there’s a new class of fakes that are far more sophisticated.
Some retailers have moved to a policy of carding every customer who buys an age restricted product.  And some ID scanning technologies will not proceed with a transaction unless an ID is scanned. How does your store handle carding for age restricted product sales?  When it comes to asking for IDs, laws and regulations vary from state to state and the FDA sets a minimum carding age as well. 
You may not know it, but it’s likely your store has had an FDA compliance inspection using underage youth to attempt to purchase a tobacco or vapor product. Since 2010, FDA has conducted over 1.1 million store inspections. Nearly 88% of those inspections are flagged as a “No Violation” – which means the FDA inspected and did not find a violation -- a passed check.
When We Card started 26 years ago, our most effective method of teaching retail employees how to prevent underage sales of age-restricted products was in the classroom.  Instructor-led discussions and role playing with a class member allowed for practice while others in the class could see how to handle tough customer situations.  The classes were fantastic, expensive and effective in getting frontline employees prepared.

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