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Rules for Carding – What Exactly Should You Be Doing When Selling Age-Sensitive Products?

Although the rules are fairly cut and dried when it comes to actually selling age-sensitive products such as alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets, it is very important to be aware that these minimum ages can vary from state to state, and even by juridsdiction.  At the BARS Program, we recommend carding for 35 and under, period.  However, once staff reaches the point where they are ready to sell the products, are they fully aware of the actual minimum age for each of these products in your state?

  • Alcohol:  The minimum age to purchase alcohol in every state is currently 21.  Despite several states’ attempt to lower the age to 18 (in certain situations only)  in the recent 2016 election, the minimum age will remain 21.  Some of the carding requirements vary by jurisdiction and also by the type of establishment (grocery store or restaurant).But for training your staff and avoiding a failed sting,  building a culture of checking ID for 35 and under is your best ongoing defense.  The acceptable forms of ID also vary by state, however, this list usually includes a state-issued driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a military identification card or a state issued ID card.  The ID must have a photo.
  • Tobacco:  The age to purchase tobacco products in the U.S. varies anywhere between 18 and 21, with several states requiring a minimum age of 19 or 21.  When training your staff, it is very important to ensure everyone is aware of the exact age in your state, since it varies across the U.S., and staff members may be from a different state where the age is lower than where they now reside and work.  We again always set the standard of carding under 35 for the purchase of tobacco products, no question.
  • Lottery Tickets:  This is another age sensitive product that varies from state-to-state, just as tobacco.  The current minimum age range is 18 to 21, with Nebraska as the only state with a minimum age of 19.  It is again imperative to make sure your staff understands the minimum age in the area where they are currently working to avoid an issue of underage sales.  If you ID under the age of 35, you will most likely never sell to an underage person.

The key to properly selling any of the products is always providing good training for staff from the beginning.  At The BARS Program, we are committed to helping provide the best training available, which will ultimately help avoid failing a sting.  For more information, or for a free consultation, please contact us today at or 1-877-540-5500.

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