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Underage Sales Prevention

Tools to Prevent Underage Sales

Do Not Sell Tobacco or Alternative Tobacco Products to Minors!

Gov. Terry McAuliffe, with unanimous support from the Virginia legislature, has enacted legislation effective July 1, 2014 that will:

  • Ban retailers from selling electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to minors; and
  • Mandate retailers post a sign stating the sale of these products to any person under 18 years of age is prohibited by law.

More specifically, the proposed legislation, “prohibits the purchase or possession of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products by minors or sale of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products to minors.” The legislation also mandates, “the proprietor of every retail establishment which that offers for sale any tobacco product, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, and bidis, nicotine vapor product, or alternative nicotine product shall post in a conspicuous manner and place a sign or signs indicating that the sale of tobacco products, including wrappings, nicotine vapor products, or alternative nicotine products to any person under 18 years of age is prohibited by law.”

Virginia ABC recommends licensees use the following verbiage: “The sale of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products or alternative nicotine products to any person under 18 years of age is prohibited by law.”

Download ready-made sign (PDF file). Help with Downloads

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Do Not Sell Stickers Help Prevent Underage Sales

The business of selling alcoholic beverages and tobacco products is subject to a level of legal and social accountability higher than in most other industries. As an agency charged with maintaining the public’s safety, Virginia ABC partners with retail establishments selling tobacco and serving alcohol to combat sales to underage persons by providing tools and resources to help achieve and maintain compliance with state laws.

Do Not Sell stickers are easy-to-read tools that assist sellers, servers and customer service representatives when checking IDs before making a sale of alcohol or tobacco. These stickers were created using two different colors—one for alcohol and one for tobacco. The bold colors were selected to ensure the dates are clearly visible to both consumers and sellers. Employees should be able to quickly glance at the sticker and then at the ID to compare the date of birth to determine a customer’s age.

It is extremely important these stickers are displayed at all points of sale with customers in all licensed establishments in Virginia. Stickers should be placed where both the seller and buyer can see them, such as on a bar or countertop where purchases are made or on a register.

The 2015 stickers were mailed to licensees in late 2014. They replace the 2014 stickers and should be visible until December 31, 2015. The stickers are coated with a smear-resistant varnish in order to prevent fading and damage from cleaning solution spray.

If you need additional or replacement stickers, if you prefer smaller stickers or if you need stickers that are in Spanish, please call the Virginia ABC Communications Division at (804) 213-4418. Please leave the business name and mailing address, as well as indicate the number of sheets and which versions (regular stickers or small stickers and English or Spanish) are needed. Stickers will be mailed at no charge to the licensee.

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Check Virginia Driver’s Licenses!

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has made Virginia driver's licenses easier for checking an ID to determine if a person is underage.

Driver license photos will be taken face-forward, and the entire license will be printed vertically rather than horizontally so clerks and servers will be able to tell quickly and easily if a customer is under 21.

DMV added a feature to help determine if someone is old enough to buy tobacco products. In addition to the "Under 21" wording near the top of the driver's license, DMV also added at the bottom dates showing "Under 18 Until" and "Under 21 Until."

Visit DMV’s website for sample images of driver's licenses and ID cards.

Under 21 Virginia Driver's License
TIP--Under 21 Vertical ID - Near the top of Virginia Driver’s license - has wording “Under 21”, a photo on left near the middle of ID, and at the bottom of the ID - dates showing “Under 18 Until”, “Under 21 Until.”

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ID Checking Guide

ID Checking GuideThe Drivers License Guide Co. publishes an annual edition of the ID Checking Guide that helps retailers and law enforcement agencies identify fake IDs. Every valid driver's license format is shown in actual size and full color for all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. You can order the guide from their website or by calling 800-227-8827.

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We Card!

Under 18 No Tobacco. We Card.The Coalition for Responsible Tobacco Retailing administers the "We Card" program. "We Card" offers training and materials to help retailers prevent underage sales of tobacco. While most of their materials apply to tobacco law, many of their items also apply to the legal age to purchase alcohol.

Visit their website at to learn more about their efforts and to see their catalog of underage purchase prevention materials.

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“We Don’t Sell to Underage/Intoxicated” Campaign Posters

The posters, “We Don’t Sell to Underage” and “We Don’t Sell to Intoxicated Patrons” inform customers that sellers and servers follow ABC laws to protect the businesses they work for, promote public safety and safeguard customers. One poster focuses on denying sales of alcohol and tobacco to underage individuals; the other makes it clear that serving intoxicated patrons is against the law.

We Don't Sell to Underage - Click to view larger image     We Don't Sell to Intoxicated Patrons - Click to view larger image

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Learn about more training and resources for Virginia’s licensees.

Do you have an idea for preventing underage sales? Send us an e-mail at or call (804) 977-7440.



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