Top 4 Reasons For Compliance Failure
Just about everyone who works behind the counter in a convenience store or a grocery store knows by now that it's against the law to sell tobacco to minors.
So why do retailers still fail compliance checks?
Tales From The Trenches
Trainers for the We Card program travel the country to train retail employees on how to avoid selling cigarettes to minors.
They teach the importance of checking ID's, how to prevent conflict while denying a sale and how to juggle all the tasks of a high-stress job.
The stakes are high. In many states an employee can be fined for selling cigarettes to underage customers and the store can lose its license.
Imagine you're at the register and a customer, who doesn't look much older than your kid brother, asks for a pack of cigarettes. You check his ID and sure enough he's too young, so you refuse the sale.
The teenager heads outside and starts talking to a person in a parked car. Next thing you know, the person is standing in front of you asking for the same brand the teenager just asked for.
Again, you do what you've been trained to do.
"I'm not allowed to sell you those cigarettes because it appears you're buying for a minor," you say.
Click here to see what's required in your state.
Alaska keeps its warning against tobacco sales to minors simple, requiring retailers to post these words where customers can easily see them: "The Sale of Tobacco Products to Persons Under Age 19 is Illegal."
Delaware requires bold red and black graphics. "Under 18? Don't Even Try to Buy."
And in Oklahoma, the state-required sign comes in orange. "It's The Law. We Do Not Sell Tobacco Products to Persons Under 18 Years of Age."
Driver licenses in California are color-coded to identify a minor, so it should be pretty easy for a front line employee to identify a 16-year-old trying to make an illegal purchase of cigarettes.
But law enforcement in Yolo County, outside Sacramento, find that frequently the sales associates they cite in enforcement stings have sold to minors who present valid ID's that show they are too young to buy cigarettes.
Eleven states prohibit sales to minors...
e-Cigarettes are increasing in popularity.
States are adding them to the list of restricted products that should not be sold to minors.
Today, 11 states consider e-cigarettes as an age-restricted product. In short order, 11 states could change to 12, 15 or even 50 states.
We often hear that carding is no big deal, that it's easy... but my response is usually, "you might think so, but it isn't."
Please feel free to download and distribute to your employees.
Let's think about steps...
FDA Issues Guidance for Retailers
We Card to Update Training based upon new FDA info
There is a lot of big compliance news to share with you.
Some of it will impact your decisions on training employees.
Good job! You've trained your employees to prevent tobacco sales to underage customers.
But you're not done yet.
In fact, you're at risk if your employees don't have the right tools or job aids, as professional trainers would say.
Yes, they need tools.
We call them "In-Store Support Materials," and they range from a sign in the window to a 365-day tear-off calendar or age-of purchase calendar.