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We Card Awareness Month -- A rise in violation rates and a call to action

09/2022

ARLINGTON, VA-- We Card issues a call-to-action to retailers to renew and boost compliance with underage sales laws forbidding the sale of tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21 years old.

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.

  1. Ensure veteran and newly-hired employees are trained using proven and tested eLearning training -- either store developed or offered through We Card. The best eLearning courses should cover federal and state laws, FDA requirements and include role-playing practice at “carding” along with techniques to politely refuse underage purchase attempts.
  2. Update training materials to ensure employees have the latest tools and information to prevent the underage sale of tobacco and vapor products. 2023 We Card kits can be ordered through wecard.org.
  3. Measure store and employee performance through mystery shopping that uses young looking 21+ checkers to see if employees are properly “carding” or scanning IDs as required by store management. We Card offers its ID Check-Up service as one easy option.
  4. Double check store Best Practices by completing a brief survey and get the free We Card Guide to Best Practices.

We Card Awareness Month is indeed a timely call-to-action to renew compliance efforts, particularly as we see the latest FDA compliance results", said Lyle Beckwith, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the National Association of Convenience Stores and a We Card board member. “Convenience stores – and all age-restricted product retailers – will benefit greatly by focusing on Age 21 compliance,” he added. NACS is a founding member of The We Card Program Inc and has launched a groundbreaking secure digital ID verification system called TruAge™.

“Focusing on T21 compliance is an everyday priority for tobacco and vapor retailers", said Thomas Briant, Executive Director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets and a We Card board member. “We strongly encourage retailers to embrace We Card Awareness Month’s call-to-action and renew compliance efforts this September,” he added.

"A collective effort across all trade categories and public efforts such as Letters of Support and Governor’s Proclamations are a key part of raising awareness as there are important changes in the marketplace of compliance,” said Doug Anderson, President of The We Card Program, Inc.

Anderson pointed to changes such as:

  • Government compliance checks conducted by 18-20-year-olds rather than 15-17-year-olds as in past years. The federal law raised the minimum age to 21 years old. However, untrained retail employees may still think 18 is the minimum age. The federal law also calls for carding everyone under 30 years old.
  • The rise in ID date of birth scanning technology and the need for education and training around the proper use and reliance on these new technologies.

We Card Awareness Month highlights compliance tools that can help, including a tipsheet on Using an ID Scanner and We SCAN IDs signage. We Card has age verification tools and can help locate a scanner that's right for retailers along with a How it Works infographic download and brief video on the value of ID scanning technology.

September’s We Card Awareness Month also unveils the availability of 2023 in-store materials – where retailers order next year’s training and education We Card Kits and Age-of-Purchase Calendars – a daily reminder age calculation tool.

About We Card: The We Card Program, Inc. is a national non-profit organization that represents a unified effort among trade associations, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. It was created 27 years ago to support retailers of tobacco and other age-restricted products. Individual retail establishments as well as large retail chains use We Card's educational and training services to comply with federal and state laws while working to prevent underage tobacco, e-vapor and other age-restricted product sales. National and state retail trade associations, government officials, community groups and others also support We Card's ongoing efforts to educate and train retailers.

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