NACS Weighs In on Age-Verification for E-Cig Sales

Position statement encourages same strict practices used for traditional tobacco products

electronic cigarettes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Although most states have not yet passed legislation restricting the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has issued a position statement encouraging c-stores that sell e-cigarettes to adopt, as a best practice, a policy of treating these products as age restricted and subjecting them to the same age-verification procedures as those applicable to tobacco products.

"Convenience stores are responsible retailers and conduct more face-to-face age-verification checks than anyone in the world," Henry Armour, NACS president and CEO, said. "Given the uncertain status of e-cigarettes, it just makes sense that convenience stores check IDs as part of the more than 4.5 million age-verification checks that we already conduct every day."

This group developed this position during a recent meeting of the NACS retail board of directors, recognizing the important role the convenience channel plays in the e-cigarette segment--with nearly $40 million in sales last year, the channel accounted for 75% of the brick-and-mortar e-cigarette business (excluding kiosks and tobacco-only retailers).

NACS also said that retailers should apply state, local and federal tobacco age-verification laws to e-cigarette sales.

The association will promote proper age-verification procedures and encourage its members to use those materials in training and sales practices. It will also work with federal associations to allow the convenience store channel to maintain a leadership role in establishing age-verification guidelines--something the industry has already done, as NACS was a founding member of the We Card training program.

NACS said that most c-stores are probably already following responsible age-verification practices for e-cigarettes.

"As responsible retailers, we want to help ensure that minors do not have access to e-cigarettes," said Armour. "Convenience stores will continue to act responsibly in retailing e-cigarettes and complying with existing laws."

Alexandria, Va.-based NACS is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. It has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.