We Card Awareness Month – As FDA Steps Up Enforcement, Awareness Month is a Good Time for Retailers to Renew Training and Improve Compliance
ARLINGTON, VA ⸺ We Card’s message to retailers is to ramp up and renew training and compliance efforts during We Card’s 11th National Awareness Month in September as FDA steps up enforcement activities.
The We Card Program, now in its 28th year – is highlighting steps retailers can take to make sure they’re doing all they can to identify and deny underage purchase attempts of tobacco and vapor products.
“September’s We Card Awareness Month is the time to ramp up and renew retailer compliance efforts on federal law and FDA requirements as well as state and local requirements for responsibly retailing age-restricted products,” said Lyle Beckwith, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and a We Card founding board member.
“We Card has always been a collective effort across all retail trade categories and public awareness-raising efforts, such as Governor’s Proclamations and Letters of Support, are a key part of We Card Awareness Month. All September, we anticipate a rising tide of support for what is really the retailer community’s year-round efforts of “carding” and preventing underage youth access to tobacco and vaping products. Governor’s Proclamations and Letters of Support from Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri , Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Washington have been issued in support of We Card Awareness Month and more are expected all throughout September,” said Doug Anderson, president of The We Card Program, Inc.
We Card is asking retailers to take several key steps:
- Make certain newly-hired employees are fully trained and re-train veteran employees using comprehensive eLearning training – either store-developed or offered through We Card. Courses should cover FDA requirements of retailers and state law requirements along with role-playing practice at “carding” (or ID scanning if that’s the store’s practice). Equipping store personnel with “What to Say” phrases is key since a customer-service friendly way to both “card” and deny sales is important for both customers and employees.
- Refresh training materials and in-store signage to ensure both the store and employees have the latest tools and information to prevent the underage sale of tobacco and vapor products. On September 1st, retailers can order 2024 We Card materials, including the 2024 Renewal Kit and the 2024 We Card Age of Purchase Calendar.
- Measure performance of both employees and the store through mystery shopping checks to confirm employees are properly “carding” or scanning IDs as required by store management. We Card’s service, ID Check-Up, uses 21+ year old checkers with an online management reporting portal tool.
- Double check overall store practices against We Card’s Guide to Best Practices – complete a brief survey to download the free Guide.
- Join We Card’s new campaign to raise awareness of the underage access problem of “social sourcing” by ordering a free in-store campaign kit of materials. Research shows underage youth report getting access to tobacco and vaping products 80-90% of the time through social sources – the gifting, proxy purchase by another, or transfer from one to another, such as “bumming” or “borrowing.” We Card’s new campaign focuses on raising awareness of one element of the problem of social sourcing where those underage ask 21+ year-old adults to buy or provide to them tobacco or vaping products.