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10/27/2021

Leading Manufacturers of Age-Restricted Products Announce Their Support of New TruAge Solution

Altria and Juul Labs join Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors and more than 130 retailer companies as backers of the technology.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Four leading manufacturers of age-restricted products are supporting TruAge, the new digital solution that enhances current age-verification systems and protects user privacy.

Altria Group Distribution Co. and e-cigarette manufacturer Juul Labs Inc. announced their sponsorship of TruAge during the 2021 NACS Show, which took place Oct. 5-8 in Chicago, joining supporters Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors Beverage Co.

"Ninety percent of U.S. consumers say they support a nationwide standard for age-verification, and this growing list of brands committed to TruAge support what our customers tell us," said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour.

The solution is supported by more than 130 retail companies that represent 22,000-plus convenience store locations in the United States, plus four industry point-of-sale (POS) providers.

"We are excited to join this important initiative because TruAge deepens our trade partners' support of underage prevention and helps establish retail as the most trusted place to responsibly sell tobacco products," said Scott Myers, president and CEO of Altria Group Distribution Co.

Developed by NACS and its standards-setting partner Conexxus, TruAge makes the traditional carding experience more convenient and accurate in verifying a customer's age when purchasing age-restricted products, and at the same time makes identity theft difficult. One-time-use tokens are used to share only the most important elements to confirm the purchaser is of legal age, which also protects the user's privacy.

"Over the past few years, we have worked closely with our retailer partners across the United States to implement enhanced access controls for the sale of JUUL products, automatically requiring electronic ID scanning to verify the purchaser is at least 21 years of age and limiting the amount of product sold to reduce social sourcing," said Parker Kasmer, vice president of regulatory engagement for Juul Labs. "We are eager to support TruAge and the extension of technologically-based, age-verification solutions across all vapor and other age-restricted products to combat underage use and support a more responsible marketplace."

For the past 50 years, NACS has led efforts to restrict youth access to age-restricted products, from launching training programs and videos to cofounding the We Card program. We Card is supporting NACS in its effort to bring TruAge to market.  

"TruAge can accelerate the three biggest demands that consumers are asking of retailers: Give me a fast, frictionless experience, provide more last-mile delivery options beyond the storefront and protect my privacy," said Conexxus Executive Director Gray Taylor.

The convenience retailing industry conducts 165 million transactions a day and 50 million of them involve an age-restricted product. 

"Encouraging people to enjoy our products responsibly is at the cornerstone of our business," said Jim Hughes, vice president of convenience for Molson Coors. "We are excited to be an early supporter of this technology that we believe will help reduce underage access to our products and can be expanded across all our major markets."

TruAge is free to retailers, consumers and POS providers, and its relevant intellectual property will be placed in the public domain, removing significant barriers to adoption. More information is available here.

"As an industry leader, Anheuser-Busch is committed to fostering a culture of smart drinking behaviors; we go the extra mile to ensure our consumers enjoy our products in a responsible way, that includes preventing underage access and consumption," said Colleen Lucas, vice president of Better World at Anheuser-Busch. "We are excited to be working alongside NACS and other partners to expand access to innovative age-verification solutions to ensure every sale of our products is conducted responsibly."

Alexandria-based NACS is the leading global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing. It is a trusted advisor to more than 1,500 retailer and 1,500 supplier members from more than 50 countries.