Editor’s note: Posts from the Community is the place for community announcements and event postings. If you have a community-oriented event you feel our readers would be interested in, please submit here.
Like everyone else, retailers have adjusted to life during a pandemic to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But, unlike many of us, retailers, including those who sell tobacco, operate on a face-to-face, hand transaction to hand transaction basis, which puts them at high-risk for COVID-19.
While mitigating those risks, retailers still take other measures that impact public health. One of those measures is checking IDs to ensure that underage individuals and minors can’t access dangerous products such as tobacco. This is extremely important considering most adult smokers first used tobacco as minors, and because the federal government has raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21-years, up from 18.
We are thankful to retailers for taking and also mitigating risks of spreading COVID-19, and would like to offer them some tips on how to check IDs while doing your best to keep safe.
- Institute a ID bar-code scanner or use a smart-phone app to check IDs.
- Place glass or plastic partitions and have customers show their ID through it.
- Use gloves to handle customer IDs.
- Do your best to compare ID photos with an individual’s face, even with a mask. If you are unsure, you have the right to deny a sale.
- Despite many government offices being closed, which limits the ability to renew IDs, treat expired IDs as non-valid.
These are just some tips we offer retailers to help remain safe while also helping keep youth away from tobacco. Another helpful tip is for retailers to access WiTobaccoCheck.org, which provides free online training for employees, and best practices for checking ID’s. You can also Retailers were also given a new window decal detailing the new age requirement as a deterrent for underage buyers.
Retailers looking to learn more about this change in Federal tobacco sales law should visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/tobacco21. They can receive access to free, state-approved training to help their employees avoid underage sales at www.witobaccocheck.org. This training is intended to keep communities healthier and prevents retailers from receiving fines for selling tobacco to those underage. Tobacco users ready to quit can call 1-800-QUIT NOW (784-8669) or text “READY” to 200-400 for free help. Tobacco users enrolled in Medicaid can also talk to their doctor about free support available.