WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Supermarkets and convenience stores have banded together in a industrywide retail program to combat the sale of cigarettes to minors.
k identification cards of certain shoppers, the program is being underwritten by the tobacco industry and costs initially more than $5 million. While organizers said "We Card" isn't in response to increased congressional and government scrutiny of tobacco sales to minors, it comes at a time when the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to require retailers to verify the age of tobacco buyers and to ban the use of cigarette self-service displays and vending machines.
"We Card" involves training cashiers how to ask identification of customers who appear under 18 and to refuse sales to anyone who doesn't qualify. Signs stating "Under 18, We Card, No Tobacco" will be positioned at checkouts and other locations in the stores.
Starting next month, nine retail associations, members of the Coalition for Responsible Tobacco Retailing, will make "We Card" brochures available to members describing how they can obtain a kit containing materials to establish the program. The associations include the National Grocers' Association, the Food Marketing Institute and the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association.