We Card Program Highlights Retailer Steps to Combat Underage Tobacco Sales

Operators are encouraged to ramp up employee training on new regulations as the FDA steps up its enforcement mechanisms.
We Card Awareness Month 2023 banner

ARLINGTON, Va. — We Card Program Inc. is celebrating its 11th National Awareness Month in September by encouraging retailers to ramp up and renew their training and compliance efforts while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up enforcement activities around underage tobacco sales

[Read more: C-store Opportunities to Cater to the Tobacco Polyuser]

The We Card Program, now in its 28th year, will be highlighting steps retailers can take to ensure they can identify and deny underage purchase attempts of tobacco and vapor products.

"September's We Card Awareness Month is the time to ramp up and renew retailer compliance efforts on federal law and FDA requirements as well as state and local requirements for responsibly retailing age-restricted products," said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS and a We Card founding board member.

Among other things, We Card is providing retailers with several key steps to ensure they can comply with state and federal regulations including:

  • Making certain new hires are fully trained, while providing re-training to veteran staff using comprehensive e-learning training, either store developed or offered through We Card. Courses should cover FDA requirements of retailers and state law requirements along with role playing.
  • Refreshing training materials and in-store signage to ensure both the store and employees have the latest tools and information to prevent the underage sale of tobacco and vapor products.
  • Measuring performance of both employees and the store through mystery shopping checks to confirm employees are properly carding or scanning IDs as required by store management. 
  • Double checking overall store practices against We Card's Guide to Best Practices, which may be found here, after a brief survey.
  • Advocating for We Card's new campaign to raise awareness of the underage access problem of "social sourcing," which allows underage youth to access tobacco and vaping products through gifting, proxy purchase by another or the transfer of products from one to another.

We Card is a national nonprofit organization that represents a unified coalition of trade associations, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to support retailers of tobacco and other age-restricted products. Retailers 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.