Description of Strategy
Employees at retail outlets, bars, and restaurants that sell alcohol and/or tobacco are responsible for checking the identification of customers who attempt to purchase alcohol or tobacco. Age identification policies are written guidelines for employees, provided by their place of work, specifying a set of standard instructions to follow as they check customers’ identification. Consistent use of these guidelines can help employees refuse to sell alcohol/tobacco to any customer that does not have a valid form of identification proving that they are 21 or older and increase the detection of the use of fake IDs (University of Minnesota Alcohol Epidemiology Program, 2009).
Discussion of Effectiveness
Evidence from studies that evaluated multi-component college campus alcohol prevention programs found a significant reduction in alcohol access. Checking ID for alcohol sales was a part of the program (Toomey, 2001; Wagenaar et al., 2000). A comprehensive study investigating the effects of 20 alcohol laws in the United States found 11.9% reduction in sales to minors when fake ID retailer support and detection technologies were in place (Fell, Scherer, Thomas, & Voas, 2016). Evidence, however, is insufficient to evaluate checking ID for alcohol sales as an independent prevention strategy.
Multiple studies have shown that ID checks can lower youth tobacco use to some extent. One study reported an effect, primarily among women when used in conjunction with other policies (Grucza et al., 2013). Results from three positively rated studies included in a systematic review found age and identification requests were effective in reducing illegal sales of tobacco to youth. Identification requests were found to be more effective in reducing tobacco sales to minors than when age was requested (Richardson et al., 2009).