SAN FRANCISCO — As word spreads of Juul Labs' new measures to combat underage vaping, convenience-store retailers and representatives across the industry are expressing their support for the system.
Juul’s Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program locks down the retail point-of-sale (POS) system when a Juul product is scanned. The system remains locked until a retailer electronically scans a valid, of-age government-issued ID to verify both the age and the ID validity. RACS also imposes automatic limits on the amount of product a legal-age customer can purchase.
The system combats two large drivers of underage access to vapor products at retail: failure to check and verify ID, and legal-age individuals buying bulk quantities of age-restricted products to resell to minors, the company said.
Word of the launch, announced early Aug. 29, spread quickly across consumer news, with reports in The Wall Street Journal, CBS News and others outlets, including Juul Labs’ CEO Kevin Burns’ first broadcast interview on “CBS This Morning.”
And as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers additional regulations for vape products—including restricting them to sales in adult-only retail locations—Juul’s innovation appears to be a welcome move for retailers.
“Our values are aligned with Juul’s,” said Scott Keplinger, vice president of category management for Kum & Go, West Des Moines, Iowa. “We are pleased to jointly develop methods, like RACS, to further these objectives in a more seamless, efficient and effective manner.”
Brian Mulcahy, merchandising manager for ExtraMile Convenience Stores LLC, San Ramon, Calif., said Juul’s innovation is a step forward in its commitment to preventing of underage use and access to tobacco products. “We look forward to working with Juul Labs to explore the deployment of RACS at our franchisee locations and believe it will be an additional valuable resource combating underage use and bulk purchases of age-restricted products,” he said.
The Arab-American Grocers’ Association, San Francisco, said the system will benefit independent retailers in their efforts to keep nicotine products out of the hands of underage users. “Local community stores and neighborhood businesses that sell vapor and other tobacco products must help prevent underage access,” the organization said in a statement. “[We will] work with Juul Labs to adopt this new technology as part of our commitment to the community to prevent youth use of these products.”
And Conexxus, a nonprofit organization that defines industry standards for the convenience-store and petroleum markets, expressed support for the concept.
“We support standards and technologically based solutions that will restrict underage access, while providing a level playing field for responsible retailers,” the group said in a statement. “Collectively, we can work together to keep these products out of the hands of youth.”
Click here to read details of the system rollout.