2015 We Card Materials Available for Order Starting September 1 at WeCard.org
September is We Card Awareness Month across the country, and the California Grocers Association encourages all California retailers to continue in their efforts to successfully identify and prevent age-restricted product sales to minors.
The legal requirements of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations governing certain tobacco products, combined with state level restrictions and the rising focus on e-cigarettes, pushes responsible retailing of age-restricted products to a new level.
The national retailer violation rate with youth access to tobacco laws is 9.1 percent — significantly below the target percent rate. Even so, preventing age-restricted product sales to minors continues to be a top retail industry priority. Furthermore, California has a violation rate of 5.6 percent that is below the national average according to the FFY 2012 Synar Report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“California retailers have always taken sales of age-restricted products very seriously,” says Ronald Fong, President and CEO of the CGA. “They continue to be leaders by embracing ongoing education and training that helps prepare frontline employees to comply with the law.”
“Trained retail employees are confident and prepared to identify and deny underage attempts to purchase tobacco, e-cigarettes or other age-restricted products. We Card Awareness Month helps reinforce retailers’ daily efforts and highlights the services and tools We Card avails to help them complete it,” said We Card president Doug Anderson.
FDA requirements of retailers demand the “carding” of every under 27-year old customer for cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco or roll-your-own tobacco. Additional products, such as cigars and e-cigarettes may be added to this requirement since FDA proposed adding them to the list of restricted products earlier this year. Since 2010 FDA has completed more than 320,000 retail compliance checks to see if retailers’ are asking for ID of customers under 27 years old and rejecting those underage purchase attempts.
California retailers have experienced over 8,000 checks since FDA starting doing compliance checks, and that number will only increase.
Furthermore, e-cigarettes are now considered age-restricted products in nearly 40 states – including California – so an increased focus on responsible retailing and knowing which products to “card” and deny sales to minors is particularly important for the retail industry.
To help retailers,We Card Awareness Month launches the availability of We Card’s 2015 materials including a range of new age-of-purchase calendars and tools. From Labor Day to New Year’s Eve, it is We Card’s busiest time of the year as retailers order the coming year’s Age-of-Purchase Calendar – a daily reminder age-calculation tool — and a slew of other point-of-sale tools and signage to equip their stores.
We Card also offers award-winning training courses offered online through We Card’s eLearning Center at www.wecard.org or through licensing to retailers and other organizations.
FDA has issued official guidance for Tobacco Retailer Training Programs and We Card’s eLearning training matches and exceeds this federal curriculum 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.
“We Card Awareness Month is a good time for California retailers to evaluate their tools and training to make sure they have the very best systems in place to identify and reject underage sales,” says Fong.
About We Card: The We Card Program, Inc. is a national non-profit organization created 18 years ago to support retailers of tobacco and other age-restricted products. Individual retail establishments as well as large retail chains use We Card’s educational and training services to comply with federal and state laws while working to prevent underage tobacco and age-restricted product sales. National and state retail trade associations, government officials, community groups and others also support We Card’s ongoing efforts to educate and train retailers.
We Card’s Board of Directors represents all classes of trade from independent convenience stores, chains, grocers, and wholesalers. Combined, the board member national associations connect with 235,000 tobacco-selling outlets. Through We Card’s Advisory Board members, We Card reaches some 200,000 retail outlets through direct contact.