We Card Spotlights Training, Education for Clerks

The nonprofit shares four key tips for retailers to prevent underage sales of tobacco and vape products.

October 18, 2021

We Card Signage
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—"We Card now more than ever” is the message from retailers who participated in September’s We Card Awareness Month. We Card—now in its 26th year—reminded retailers of four key action steps to make sure they’re doing all they can do to prevent underage sales of tobacco and vapor products.
  1. Make sure retailers are following Best Practices for Responsible Retailing. Retailers can take a survey here.
  2. Stay abreast of laws and regulations, particularly around U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actions related to vapor products. The national minimum age of 21 for vapor and tobacco products is still fairly new to the public and newly hired employees. Remember, it’s 21 in 2021 and beyond.
  3. Redouble efforts to recognize adult-for-underage-purchases—called social sourcing—by participating in We Card's Pledge Program. Research shows underage youth report getting access 80% to 90% of the time through “social sources”—the gifting, proxy purchase by another, or transfer from one to another, such as “bumming” or “borrowing.”
  4. Training is vital for every employee. We Card recently launched its revamped manager training course with new video training on store reputation, handling confrontational situations, using age scanners and more and is offering a 50% discount through December 2021. (Use code 50MGR21 at We Card’s eLearning Center.)

“We Card’s Awareness Month brought a sharp focus on training and education of retail employees as we know that trained and confident employees are essential to preventing underage sales of tobacco and vapor products,” said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations and a We Card board chairman. NACS is a founding board member of We Card.

“We took the opportunity to offer some key reminders,” said Doug Anderson, president of The We Card Program Inc., "as there are several fast-moving developments that retailers should be aware of.”

  • FDA restarted compliance checks again after a pause during the COVID outbreak and is expected to quickly ramp up to normal levels of around 10,000 store inspections per month.
  • ID scanning technology is moving at a fast pace—we encourage retailers to investigate adding ID barcode scanning technology and We Card has age verification tools and can help locate a scanner that’s right for your store; and,
  • Underage social sourcing of tobacco and vapor products is becoming the single biggest challenge that needs addressing. We Card will be working to create greater awareness around this issue.
  • Making sure retailers have the latest training materials as the 2022 in-store materials are now available.  

For more information, contact We Card at comments@wecard.org .

Nearly 4 in 5 (78%) consumers say they favor a mandatory/universal “We Card” approach (i.e., manually checking IDs for customers who make an age-restricted purchase). We Card is supporting NACS in its effort to bring TruAgeTM, the new digital solution that enhances current age-verification systems and protects user privacy, to market.

The We Card Program is a national nonprofit organization that represents a unified effort among trade associations, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. It was created 26 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, 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.