ARLINGTON, Va. – As of August 8, 2016, new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations expanded the list of regulated products to include cigars, e-cigarettes and vaping products, hookah and pipe tobacco, among others. “The FDA’s focus on these new products is a perfect opportunity to re-invigorate retailers’ store level efforts on preventing illegal sales and their commitment to compliance,” said Doug Anderson, president of We Card, in a press release.
Governors in 15 states (Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia) have issued Governor’s Proclamations or Letters of Support for We Card Awareness Month and more governors are expected to do so all month long.
Twenty years ago, the retailer non-compliance rate surpassed 40% (rate of sale to minors), while today government compliance statistics show compliance has a high of between 80% and 90% for traditional tobacco products. Yet with these newly regulated products, retailers need to adjust their training and ensure their employees know what’s expected of them.
We Card’s Awareness Month aims to boost retailer commitment to compliance along with the availability of 2017 training and materials. Retailers can prepare for the coming year by ordering We Card in-store materials and lining up their employees for We Card’s online training courses.
“We Card is a critical training and education resource for convenience stores and one of the main reasons ‘carding’ and responsible retailing is a mainstream business function today for all age-restricted products,” said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations and a We Card board member. NACS is a founding board member of We Card.
With the advent of the new FDA regulations governing e-vapor products and e-cigarettes, We Card has uniquely focused in-store materials and tools that include:
- New “Under 18, No E-Vapor: WE CARD” in-store signage.
- A new in-store E-Vapor kit of resources that is especially suited for vape stores new to handling age-restricted product sales.
- An “E-Cig and Vapor Central” dedicated home on wecard.org where resources can be quickly found, ordered and used.
In addition, the FDA has issued official guidance for Tobacco Retailer Training Programs and We Card’s e-learning training, not only matching this federal curriculum but exceeding it, with retail-focused emphasis on customer service, role-playing and interactive gaming, earning the training an American Business Awards 2013 Bronze Stevie Award as a Best Training Site.