New FDA regulations on the horizon and 40-plus states now forbid e-cigarette sales to minors
For today’s 18-year olds, there has always been “We Card.” The iconic yellow and red logo “UNDER 18, NO TOBACCO: WE CARD” is everywhere at the nation’s tobacco-selling retailers and has been for 18 years running.
September is We Card Awareness Month and retailers will look to We Card to stay current on their responsible retailing efforts to identify and prevent not just tobacco but e-cigarettes and other age-restricted product sales to minors.
In just a year’s time, the number of states restricting the sale of e-cigarette or vaping products to minors has nearly doubled. More than 40 states now require retailers to deny underage sales. Following behind the states is the FDA, which has proposed “deeming” e-cigarettes and other products it does not currently regulate as falling within its tobacco product regulations — eventually requiring retailers to “card” customers under 27 years old and deny underage sales.
“We’re ready to handle this new wave of retail requirements and deliver the employee training, the in-store tools, signage and awareness-building efforts necessary so retailers can comply with the law,” said Doug Anderson, president of We Card.
Retailers might be a little ahead in their preparation for the recent wave of new and coming laws since We Card and NACS adopted a policy to encourage retailers to treat e-cigarettes as an age-restricted product, even though every state and FDA have not done so yet.
“We Card is prepping retailers for the responsible retailing of tobacco, e-cigarettes and any new age-restricted product category just as we had hoped when we launched it some 18 years ago. It is a staple of the industry, and a significant resource that retailers have used to dramatically reduce youth access to tobacco,” said NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith.
September, We Card Awareness Month, launches an awareness effort that ties in with the availability of 2015 We Card materials. Labor Day to New Year’s Eve is We Card’s busiest time of the year as retailers order the coming year’s Age-of-Purchase Calendar and a variety of other point-of-sale tools and signage to equip their stores. We Card employee training is a primary offering, especially the award-winning e-learning for frontline retail employees. We Card’s eLearning Center offers Internet-based training while some retail chains license the e-learning and deploy it internally.
FDA has completed more than 324,000 retailer compliance checks since 2010 — at a rate of approximately 100,000 for the past three years. FDA has issued official guidance for Tobacco Retailer Training Programs and We Card’s e-learning training not only matches this federal curriculum but exceeds 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.
For more information, visit www.wecard.org.