Erin O. Pressley
My husband has been a smoker for at least 20 years,
and for the last eight years he’s been successfully
hiding it from our daughter. Well, until about three
months ago when she found out.
Now that the jig is up, he’s trying to smoke
less and has looked to e-cigarettes for help. Our
daughter now sees the occasional cartridge on
the coffee table or might even catch my husband
puffing away while watching TV. Not surprisingly, she’s intrigued. Daddy’s new cigarettes are
nothing like what she’s been told about smoking.
Just the other day, she asked if she could smoke
an e-cig too, when she’s 12 (the age at which she
can get a cell phone, a dog and everything else
we’re delaying as parents). We explained to her
that e-cigarettes are a grown-up thing and she
gets it. Thankfully, NACS “gets it” too.
In March, NACS issued a statement of position,
developed with the help of our Board of Directors:
It is NACS’s position that e-cigarettes should
be treated the same way as other age-restricted
products, similar to alcohol and tobacco.
It’s the right thing for NACS to do as leader
in the convenience industry. C-stores are the
largest retail channel for e-cigarette sales, with
overall sales of nearly $540 million in 2013,
representing 75% of all brick-and-mortar sales
(excluding kiosks and tobacco-only outlets).
With few exceptions, convenience stores are
responsible retailers and conduct more face-to-face age-verification checks than anyone in
the world. It only makes sense that convenience
stores check IDs as part of the more than 4. 5
million age-verification checks that we conduct
Some key elements of our position:
n Retailers should, as a best practice, follow the
same applicable federal, state and local laws for
verifying the age of purchasers of tobacco and
apply these standards for the sale of e-cigarettes.
n NACS will promote effective procedures for
retailers to verify sales of age-restricted products
and will encourage retailers to use these procedures and training tools.
n NACS will work with all appropriate federal
organizations to ensure that convenience stores
continue to play a leadership role in establishing guidelines that take into account current
research related to the age-restricted products.
This is not the first time NACS has taken a
leadership role in age-verification practices. If you
didn’t already know, we are a founding member of
the We Card program, which was established in the
1990s to provide training and educational programs
to properly use age-verification tools and processes.
Since its inception, We Card has provided retailers
with more than 1. 1 million in-store educational kits
and has trained more than 350,000 retail employees
around the country. We Card has also produced new
materials specifically for e-cigarette age verification, and we encourage you to use their procedures
and training tools.
Our announcement last month will likely just enhance what convenience stores are already doing
in carding for e-cigarettes. But it’s good to know
that NACS has my back as a parent — and
your back as a retailer.