Selling restricted products - tobacco, alcohol and lottery - to individuals under age is illegal in West Virginia. State and federal law prohibits selling tobacco and lottery products to anyone under age 18.  An individual must be 21 to purchase alcohol.

OMEGA members are involved in a number of efforts to identify and stop sales of restricted products to those under the legal age and continue to work with the Legislature and State government to investigate and pass responsible legislation. The industry provides ongoing training programs to educate store employees on how to properly check identification and spot situations where adults may be attempting to purchase restricted products for youths.

The national "We Card" program also has been adopted in West Virginia.  This initiative requires tobacco retailers to display signage alerting customers that the establishment checks identification before selling tobacco products. A California State University study found that when retailers asked for age identification, underage customers were refused 99 percent of the time. The study concluded that success in preventing sales to minors can be improved by enhancing efforts to increase merchants' requests for ID. Retailers have a responsibility to train employees, post minimum-age signage, and support employees who support the law. The convenience store industry was at the lead in developing employee education and signage programs, and we continue to promote participation in all of our communications and member meetings.

While a concerted effort by parents, lawmakers and retailers is needed to impede under age tobacco and alcohol use, OMEGA members are committed to keeping age restricted products out of the hands of minors and are doing their part to enforce the law.

For additional information on what OMEGA is doing to prevent restricted product sales, please contact us at (304) 343-5500.

OMEGA worked with the WV ABCA to develop this poster which is available to all convenience stores in the state.

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