Skip to Content
Agencies | Governor
Search Virginia.Gov

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

Back to Top


There is a mistake on Spanish version of stickers, throw away stickers with 1996 for alcohol sales.

“Do Not Sell” Stickers Help Prevent Underage Sales

The selling and serving of alcoholic beverages is a business that is subject to higher legal and social accountability than almost any other industry. Do Not Sell stickers are easy-to-read tools that help sellers prevent underage sales when checking IDs.

Similar to the 2013 stickers, this year's stickers have been coated with a smear-resistant varnish to prevent fading, and were created using two different colors -- one color for alcohol and one for tobacco. The bold colors were selected to ensure the dates are clearly visible to both consumers and sellers. To deter underage buyers, ABC suggests placing the stickers where both the seller and buyer can see them, possibly on the countertop or bar where purchases are made.

Although not mandatory, it is extremely important these stickers are displayed in all licensed establishments. Additional stickers, including stickers in Spanish, are available free of charge by contacting ABC's Public Affairs Division at or by phone at (804) 213-4418. Please indicate the number of sheets, mailing address and which versions (alcohol, tobacco or both, and English, Spanish or both) are needed.

Another essential ABC compliance tool is the "Ask 4 ID" training video, a four-minute film that helps sellers and servers prevent underage alcohol and tobacco sales by recognizing driver's licenses and other forms of ID. View "Ask 4 ID" at

Statistics for fiscal year 2013 show the licensee compliance rate for not selling alcoholic beverages to people under the legal drinking age was 86 percent, a slight drop from 87 percent the prior year. As a public safety agency, ABC remains committed to working with the licensee community to reverse this trend by providing information and tools to help prevent underage alcohol sales and maintain compliance.

Download printable, letter-sized 2014 "Do Not Sell Alcohol" poster (PDF file). Help with Downloads

2014 Do Not Sell Alcohol Stickers - 21 is the Legal Age 2014 Do Not Sell Tobacco Stickers - 18 is the Legal Age

Back to Top


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.”

Back to Top


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.

Back to Top


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.

Back to Top


“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

Back to Top


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.



Start of Page | Start of Content