Basic Retailer Information
Preventing early addiction to tobacco in underage users can have a dramatic effect on tobacco use rates. 90% of adults who use tobacco started before age 19, the legal age of use in Utah.
Your participation in the overall strategy to reduce use of tobacco by Utah's underage youth is crucial. By developing an active policy prohibiting sales to underage buyers, you will play a major role in preventing the illegal use of tobacco. Establishing a reputation of refusing sales of tobacco to those under age 19, drastically reduces illegal purchase attempts.
This guide contains useful tips for managers and employees to use in order to prevent illegal underage sales of tobacco. You can also access a listing of underage-related tobacco laws and local health department contacts for more information.
Tips for Managers and Employees
As a manager or employee, you have a responsibility to prevent underage youth from illegally purchasing or stealing tobacco from your retail outlet(s). Here are a few suggestions for eliminating underage sales and theft of tobacco:
- Issue and post a store/company-wide directive alerting store managers and employees that your company will not sell tobacco to anyone under the age of 19.
- Review Utah's tobacco laws during new/ongoing employee training.
- Develop a store-wide policy requiring managers and employees to request legitimate picture forms of identification.
- If customers complain about your policy, explain utah law prohibits the sale of tobacco to anyone under age 19.
- Develop a procedure where the store manager is called to the registers to deal with unruly underage buyers.
- In stores where a manager is not always present, develop a protocol for your employees to follow if underage buyers become unruly when a sale is refused.
- Develop a policy that requires staff to encourage underage youth to leave the outlet's premises when they are using tobacco.
- Post a copy of pertinent tobacco laws in a conspicuous place.
- Post signs indicating your store doesn't sell to underage youth.
- Stock tobacco in locked cabinets or overhead racks that are only accessible to clerks.
- I.D., develop the habit of requesting to see legitimate picture forms of identification from anyone who appears underage.
- Monitor tobacco racks/displays in order to prevent theft.
- Don't jeopardize your job by being careless about underage tobacco sales. If caught you may lose your job, establish a criminal record, and pay a large fine.
Acceptable Forms of I.D.
Signs indicating that I.D. will be checked act as a deterrent to underage tobacco buys. However, signs don't replace the careful checking of an I.D. and verification of age. The revised Utah Driver's License and Identification cards indicate the day, month, and year that the person presenting the I.D. will turn age 19. This makes the math out of computing the legal age. Many retail outlets have established policies of asking for I.D. from anyone who appears younger than the age of 27, in order to prevent illegal underage sales of tobacco. The following are acceptable forms of I.D. customers may use to purchase tobacco:
- A current Utah driver's license
- A current Utah state I.D. card
- A valid passport
- A current out-of-state driver's license
- A current military I.D. card
- Effective January 1, 2010: Limited-Term driver's license
- Utah Annual Report
- 2010 Utah Tobacco Facts
- Decreasing Smoking 1% Benefits
- School's Guide to Tobacco Control
Selling to Youth:
- 1st Offense: Not more than $300
- 2nd Offense: Not more than $750
- 3rd Offense: Not more than $1,000 and up to 30 day suspension of tobacco license
- 4th Offense: Not more than $1,000 and 1 year revocation of tobacco license
Providing to Youth:
- Class A Misd.: up to a year term/up to $2,500 fine
- Class B Misd.: up to 6 months term/up to $1,000 fine
- Class C Misd.: up to 90 day term/up to $750 fine
- Unclassified: up to $750 fine