Education sources for retailers
This yellow sign is required by the State of Washington to be posted so that it is clearly visible to anyone buying tobacco products. You can also download a version to print out here.
Note: The best placement for these signs is on or near the register facing your clerks, NOT facing the customer. Click on the images or the text link below to download and print:
Effective September 22, 2009, any artificial or natural characterizing flavors (other than tobacco or menthol) are banned from all cigarettes. This prohibits a cigarette or any of its component parts (the tobacco, filter, or paper) from containing an artificial or natural flavor or an herb or spice, including strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee, that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.
The following became effective June 22, 2010:
- Advertising changes - Ads for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco must be in black and white text only and cannot be within 1,000 feet of schools, parks or playgrounds.
- Warning labels - Companies are required to include larger warning labels on all packaging and advertising of smokeless tobacco products.
- Manufacturers are prohibited from producing any tobacco products labeled or advertised as "light," "low," "mild," or any other similar descriptor.
- Product access - No free samples of tobacco products and no vending machines or self-service displays of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, except in adult-only facilities. Sampling of smokeless tobacco will be allowed in adult-only facilities in certain restricted situations.
- Branded products - Tie-ins / giveaways are restricted from accompanying the purchase of tobacco products (t-shirts, lighters, wallets, etc.).
- Sponsorship - Cigarette and smokeless manufacturers, distributors and retailers are restricted from branded sponsorship of athletic and cultural events.
See also: Tobacco Products by the CDC.
Acceptable forms of identification for tobacco sales
All forms of acceptable Identification must have the person's picture, name, address, date of birth, physical description, and signature. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Drivers license, drivers permit or identification card issued by any state in the US or Canadian Province
- US Military ID card
- Some Tribal ID's are now acceptable
- A merchant marine ID card (issued by US Coast Guard)
If you think the ID is not valid, you have the right and responsibility to refuse selling the tobacco product. Don't forget to check the expiration date. If you are interested in obtaining information about other states' IDs, please call us at 206-263-8271. You can also visit the Department of Licensing’s website about ID card designs.
- Temporary paper IDs or driver licenses are only acceptable if accompanied with the previous (valid or expired) ID/license.
- A punched WA State driver license is still considered an acceptable form of ID as long as it is not expired. This happens when a person can no longer drive, but can still use the license for ID purposes.
Don't be afraid to ask everyone for identification. Your customers will understand and appreciate your efforts to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors. Checking ID is a critical step refusing to sell tobacco to minors. In fact, clerks that ask for ID are almost six times more likely to refuse to sell tobacco to a minor. Don't take any chances - always ask for ID to make sure the customer is 18 or older.
Checking identification is easier than you might think. The key is to become familiar with the different types of ID's that you will be checking.
Here’s a quick and easy-to-read form that details what to look for when checking someone's ID. You can review it here, or print it out and keep it by your register: Checking ID Guide.