ARLINGTON, Va.—September is We Card Awareness Month, and retailers should use the month to reinvigorate their responsible retailing efforts of age-restricted products, according to We Card, a nonprofit organization that provides educational and training services to train retailers on age verification to prevent underage tobacco, e-vapor and other age-restricted product sales.
We Card outlines four steps retailers should take during September:
- 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.
- Update training materials to ensure employees have the latest tools and information to prevent the underage sale of tobacco and vapor products. We Card kits for 2023 can be ordered through www.wecard.org.
- 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.
- Double check your store’s age-verification best practices by completing a brief survey from We Card and receive We Card’s Guide to Best Practices free of charge.
“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, NACS senior vice president of government and a We Card board member. “Convenience stores—and all age-restricted-product retailers—will benefit greatly by focusing on Age 21 compliance.” NACS is a founding member of the We Card program and recently launched a groundbreaking secure digital ID verification system called TruAge™. We Card is supporting the TruAge program.
“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 We Card.
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 purchase tobacco products to 21 years old in 2021. 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 also highlights compliance tools that can help retailers, including a tip sheet 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. Businesses can also download a “How it Works” infographic and watch brief video on the value of ID scanning technology.
We Card Awareness Month also unveils the availability of 2023 in-store materials, where retailers and order next year’s We Card Kits and Age-of-Purchase Calendars, a daily reminder age calculation tool.