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Since 1995 We Card has conducted on-going internal research, analyzed external research, retailer business practices and compliance success and failure – all in effort to provide retailers the best training and education services to assist them in their efforts to prevent tobacco sales to minors.

We Card has compiled what has been learned from these experiences into the We Card Guide to Best Practices, which serves as a comprehensive guide to preventing underage tobacco sales.

By implementing these practices and processes within your company and at the store level, you will be establishing successful strategies followed by retailers nationwide to prevent underage tobacco sales and improve compliance performance.

Throughout this course you will be provided with many links to Wecard’s site which offers courses, tests, and programs for employees and managers.

If you see this icon,


it tells you there’s an interactive link embedded in this document to help you take action related to the Best Practice page you are reading. Simply click the text beside this click here icon and you’ll be on your way to preventing underage tobacco sales.


#1 Make Sure Store Policies are Fair and Consistent

Author: breezein

Setting up fair and consistent store policies is a good way to make sure employees clearly understand their responsibility to refuse underage tobacco sales, especially in those situations not covered by federal law, FDA regulations or state law.

#2 Provide Recurring Training

Author: breezein

Training is not a one-and-done activity; it’s an ongoing effort that should result in your employees gaining the knowledge, skills and abilities required to responsibly retail tobacco products.

#3 Offer Employees Computer-Based Training

Author: breezein

An effective employee training program should be available immediately for newly-hired employees. Experienced employees should also have “refresher training” opportunities while remedial training should be available for those in need.

#5 Train for Mandatory Identification

Author: breezein

FDA Regulations require retailers to check proof of age for anyone under 27 years old by verifying that any person buying cigarettes or smokeless tobacco is at least 18 years old.* We Card recommends that retailers ask for identification in the form of a valid government-issue photo ID with date-of-birth.

#7 Train Younger Employees to Handle Peer Pressure

Author: breezein

Younger employees may encounter situations where friends or others their age may attempt to purchase tobacco products. A stressful dynamic exists when a minor must refuse a sale to another minor. That is why it is extremely important to train younger employees how to deal with it BEFORE it occurs.

#8 Provide Employees Practice Opportunities with Age Verification Tools

Author: breezein

We Card research of employees who fail compliance checks after they have asked for ID indicates that cashiers often make mistakes calculating a customer’s age. We Card recommends that you provide your employees with practice opportunities with your store’s age verification tools BEFORE they perform their task of verifying a customer’s age.

#9 Require All Employees to Pass a Test

Author: breezein

How do you know your employees have learned what they need to know to prevent illegal tobacco sales to minors? Require all employees to pass a test after their comprehensive training, their remedial or Refresher Training.

#10 Continuously Supervise and Offer Positive Recognition

Author: breezein

It’s extremely important to coach and develop your employees. One of the best ways to do this is to provide positive reinforcement when they do the right things and constructive feedback when they do the wrong things. If you don’t, your employees will do what they think is right instead of what you know is right.

#12 Use Point-of-Sale Tools Effectively

Author: breezein

The sales counter is where everything your employees have learned becomes critical. Make sure they have the right job aids they need to responsibly retail tobacco products. Age Calculation tools, tipsheets and customer-facing signage all help employees perform their responsible retailing tasks.