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.
If your store has excellent training and education around carding those buyers who might be 15-17 year olds, now is the time to make sure your employees are carding older customers too. Many stores have a minimum age to card policy such as Under 30 (which is also the federal law). It's time to double down on this practice.
Three things to do right now:
- Management should issue a top-down alert:
- Remind employees of the new national age is 21 to buy tobacco and vape products
- Remind employees of your store’s Age-to-Card threshold
- Federal law requires carding “under 30” year old customers
- If your store has a higher age threshold or “all customers”, re-state your policy to everyone!
- Remind employees of the internal consequences for failing a compliance check as well as the significant fines and penalties that the store can suffer (FDA fines store owners), and the state law fines and penalties that may directly impact employees.
- Re-Train veteran employees (and always train newly hired employees) – and emphasize the 21-year minimum-age law and the Age-to-Card threshold
- Consider hiring mystery shoppers to measure your store’s performance. Don't wait for the government compliance check to see how well your store is doing. See We Card's ID Check Up service.
For more information on this uptick in violation rates, check out our latest posting.
It's not too late to re-invigorate your responsible retailing efforts and make it a priority and get involved in September We Card’s Awareness Month.