Inside the FDA's New Age-Verification Program

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

FDA This Is Our Watch

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed its new age-verification program for retailers this month, offering training and point-of-purchase materials free of charge to encourage compliance with the agency’s rules against selling tobacco products to minors.

Called “This Is Our Watch,” the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ (CTP) program is broken up into several components, most of which are available online. The materials, which the CTP designed using feedback from store owners and employees, includes a free set of resources designed to support retailers’ efforts to educate staff on enforcing federal laws and regulations.

In a recent newsletter, the tobacco-retail trade association NATO, Minneapolis, said the use of the FDA materials is voluntary. Retailers can use the complete program or consider how it could be useful to supplement sales-training materials and practices currently in place.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s available …

Instruction booklet

FDA This Is Our Watch

An instructional booklet provides retailers with directions on how to use the program materials and explains how to train employees.

Poster and register signage

This is our watch

Highly visual posters and register signage communicate policies around age-restricted products.

Register stickers

FDA This Is Our Watch

Stickers designed for the point-of-sale can affix to registers as further communication.

Regulation flyers

FDA This Is Our Watch

Flyers further communicate to staff and customers the age-verification rules.

Age-verification calendar

FDA This Is Our Watch

A calendar that can help employees calculate a customer’s age is included in the kit.

Age-calculating app

Age-calculating app

An app that can help cashiers determine a customer’s age is also available for download. In both Android and Apple versions, the FDA Age Calculator can help retailers comply with federal age restrictions for selling tobacco products.