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Age verification is profoundly important for the survival of the brick and mortar vape shop. Every vape shop owner, manager and employee needs to make an effort to educate sales reps on proper age verification.

The FDA has certain rules that a vape shop must follow, but your local state and county governments can also have specific rules and requirements. Check here for specific state vaping laws & tobacco retailer requirements, and check with your local chamber of commerce for city-specific requirements.

This post will serve as a free guide to all the resources available to vape shops to help curb youth access to vape products, and as a guide to how you can protect your shop from Civil Monetary Penalties that State and Federal governments can impose.

Also, read on below for a more in-depth overview of Age Verification for Vape Shops, and how to ensure protection from fake ID’s (something the Age Checker apps don’t help with)

Age Verification Tools For Brick & Mortar Vape Shops

The FDA requires vape shops to card anyone that appears under the age of 27. You have two options for your vape shop: ID Authentication and Age Verification apps. There is only one app (Intellicheck) that actually authenticates an ID. All other apps (including the FDA’s own app!) merely verify the age encoded in the barcode.

Here are your options:

Age Verification / Age Restriction Signage

“ID Required” signage is required per the FDA’s August 2016 deeming regulations. Here are the best free and paid options.

Age Verification Training Programs

Your sales reps are your first defense against a legal infraction. Making sure your reps are trained is paramount to a compliant shop. You have two paid options. The VapeMentors Certification program will also provide sales training in addition to age checking requirements.

Age Verification Tools For Online Sales

It’s fairly likely that online transactions are responsible for more underage access than brick-and-mortar sales, so ensuring your online portal is restricting youth access is even more important (and more difficult).

Here are the options you have as an ecommerce site:

A Quick History Of Age Restrictions in Vape Shops

If you are not up to date, let’s review quickly were we stand with age checking in vape shops.

  • August 2016: FDA’s Deeming Regulations take effect. Among other things, the rules deem that:
    • All customers under 27 years old must be ID’d
    • No one under 18 can purchase (and some states have even higher age requirements)
    • “ID required” warning signs must be posted in store
  • September of 2018: the FDA issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines against e-cigarette manufacturers and vape retailers for selling products to minors. Most of the violations came from convenience stores and smoke shops.
  • October 2018: Gottlieb stated in an interview on Squawk Box that he believes vape shops “do a better job of checking ID’s” and signaled that he would restrict e-cigarette sales to “adult vaping shops” and remove them from convenience stores.
  • November 2018: the FDA doubled down on their commitment to heavier enforcement and said in a press release:
    • “…moving forward, the FDA is indefinitely stepping up enforcement actions with a sustained campaign to monitor, penalize and prevent e-cigarette sales to minors in retail locations. The FDA is prepared to take additional “significant” steps to curb use of e-cigarettes among minors.”

So, if you didn’t already need a reason to be more diligent with checking ID’s in your vape shop, it should be obvious now.

Penalties For Selling To Minors

The FDA has defined “Civil Monetary Penalty” schedule for retailers that sell to minors.

The FDA may pursue a No-Tobacco-Sale Order (NTSO) against retailers with 5 or more repeated violations of certain restrictions within 36 months. Retailers cannot sell tobacco products during that period.

NOTE: Local city, county and state governments can also issue fines, penalties and NTSO’s on a different schedule. Check with your local chamber of commerce.

Fake ID’s Are Better Than They’ve Ever Been

Fake IDs are easily available from multiple sources on the web, and they are so sophisticated that even law enforcement can’t tell the difference.

Minors easily and anonymously purchase these Fake IDs by ordering through international eCommerce sites without a trace of the transaction or payment. These sites sell high quality fakes from all states that will pass all normal security checks…holograms, UV, Microprint and machine readable data in the barcode.

Needless to say, these aren’t your momma’s fake ID’s!

Age Checker Apps – What You Need To Know

Normal “ID Scanners” and “Age Checker Apps” only read what is encoded in the ID barcode and barcodes are easy to make and easy to alter. The high quality of fakes flooding the market ALL have data encoded in the barcode that shows the person is of legal age.

ID Scanners do not Authenticate the ID…they only tell you what data is present. Even the FDA’s own app is nothing more than a barcode scanner with a simple age calculator.

Here are the apps on the market that only scan barcodes. They will not protect you against a fake ID purchase:

  • FDA Age Calculator for iOS and Android
  • SCANNR for iOS
  • Bar & Club Stats for iOS and Android
  • Age Checker App from for iOS

While these are handy for quickly calculating an ID, and for storing and analyzing customer data for marketing purposes, VapeMentors no longer recommends these apps for vape shop age verification.

The Solution… Intellicheck Age ID

The ONLY app that can instantly and accurately authenticate a government-issued ID (real vs fake) via the encoded information stored in the bar code.

  • Authenticates ID’s against an extensive and proprietary database of authentic barcode information
  • Lab-Tests the authentication protocol prior to and after the market release of an ID
  • Integrates with many modern POS systems
  • Capable of authenticating U.S. Driver License (DL), State Issued IDs or Military IDs.

Age ID™ Mobile Screen Shots

Intellicheck customer scan statistics showed that 3.85% of all IDs scanned in 2018 for age-regulated products have been determined fraudulent. Here is what the mobile app looks like when it detects a fraudulent ID:

Special Offer for VapeMentors Subscribers

Intellicheck is regularly $59 a month. If you fill out the form below, Intellicheck will provide a $10 visa gift card to all new subscribers that follow VapeMentors.