Documentation

DOCUMENTATION

ABOUT RACS

What is RACS?

JUUL Labs is partnering with retailers to support adoption of our Retail Access Control Standards (RACS) program, a technologically-based solution to prevent youth access. These standards automate the transaction from beginning-to-end to ensure JUUL products are sold to verified legal-aged purchasers. Whenever a transaction contains JUUL products, a RACS-compliant point-of-sale POS system will (i) require I.D. scanning to verify age and I.D. validity; (ii) limit the amount of product that can be purchased; and (iii) prevent manual override by the retail clerk.

RACS-certified retailers must use a RACS-compliant POS system. RACS-compliant POS systems have software features that detect JUUL products scanned during a transaction, and ensure transactions cannot be completed unless the above criteria are met.

Initial data have demonstrated the effectiveness of this automated technological solution. We piloted RACS with three retail partners across almost 200 individual retail stores. As part of this pilot, we conducted almost 2,000 compliance checks for these  locations and observed failure rates of less than one percent, on both age-verification and bulk-purchasing compliance.

Elements of RACS

The RACS program revolves around three criteria for any transaction containing JUUL products: age checks, bulk purchasing restrictions, and no exceptions to the rules. Certified retailers use a RACS-compliant POS system to help all transactions meet this criteria.

Age checks

Whenever a JUUL product is scanned as part of a transaction, the POS system prompts for an I.D. scan. This process verifies whether the customer is eligible to purchase JUUL products.

The POS system must be able to scan and process a variety of I.D.s that use standard barcode document formats (U.S. state I.D.s and driver’s licenses). Some RACS-compliant POS systems include international passport scanning capabilities.

Bulk purchasing restrictions

A RACS-compliant POS system must restrict the amount of products that can be purchased at one time. If more than 1 JUUL device and/or 4 JUULpods packs have been scanned as part of a transaction, the POS system blocks the transaction from completing.

No exceptions

Every transaction that contains JUUL products requires automated electronic age verification and compliance with our bulk-purchasing limits. RACS does not permit retail clerks to override these checks.

FOR RETAILERS

How to comply

As a retailer, your path to RACS certification starts with ensuring that your point-of-sale (POS) systems are RACS-certified. Your existing POS system may be compatible with RACS after a simple upgrade.

For a list of out-of-the-box compatible POS systems, see the Compatible POS systems section of this documentation.

POS system components

All RACS-compliant POS systems have the following components:

JUUL product detection

The POS must detect when a JUUL product is scanned as part of a transaction.

Barcode scanner

A compatible barcode scanner must be used as part of a RACS-compliant POS system.

Bulk-purchasing check

The POS system must check that the customer is not purchasing JUUL products in bulk.

I.D. scanning software features

I.D. scanning software features must be implemented. When photo I.D. is scanned, the POS system (i) confirms that the customer is the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products in the store’s region; (ii) confirms that the I.D. is valid and not expired; and (iii) confirms that the I.D. is authentic.

Confirmation screen

The result of each check that occurs during the transaction must be clearly displayed on a confirmation screen.

Transaction blocking

Transactions with JUUL products must be blocked if one of the following checks does not pass:

      • Customer is not of legal age to buy tobacco products, including vapor products, in that jurisdiction.
      • I.D. is expired or otherwise invalid.
      • Bulk-purchasing check fails.

Auditing features

Completed transactions should be auditable by retailers.

RACS expects compliant retailers to configure and use these features, in addition to training all employees how to handle transactions that include JUUL products.

Scanning and checking I.D.s

Your POS system must be able to scan and identify the following types of photo identification:

  • United States driver’s licenses
  • United States state identification cards
  • Native American identification cards
  • National identity cards1
  • Passports

When scanning an I.D. as part of a transaction that contains JUUL products, retailer employees must perform the following tasks:

  1. Check to ensure the customer’s physical appearance and the photo on the I.D. are a match.
  2. Scan the I.D. using a barcode scanner connected to the POS system.
  3. Verify that the POS system presents the same information found on the scanned I.D.:
    • The customer’s legal name.
    • The customer’s birthdate.
    • One additional piece of personally identifiable information (PII) printed on the I.D.
    • The expiration date on the I.D.

In order to scan all of the above types of photo identification, we recommend, at a minimum, using one of these two POS system configurations:

  1. An Android or iOS device with a built-in camera and an internet connection, accompanied by a RACS-compliant POS application.
  2. An internet-capable, RACS-compliant POS hardware system along with a 2D barcode scanner and an MRZ scanner.

See Compatible POS systems section below for a list of supported off-the-shelf POS systems with RACS built in.

For across the board I.D. scanning compatibility, we recommend using a internet-capable POS system connected to one or more scanners, so that all scannable I.D. types are covered by your system. See the following compatibility chart:

Compatibility

I.D. typeAndroid/iOS device
(w/ built-in camera)
2D barcode scannerMRZ scanner
United States driver’s license
United States state identification card
Native American identification cards
National identity cards
Passports

Compatible POS systems

The fastest way to RACS certification is to use a RACS-compliant POS system at your stores. RACS is currently supported by the following POS system products:

  • Shopkeep
  • Lightspeed
  • NCR Radiant
  • NCR Retalix
  • Gilbarco
  • Verifone Petroleum
  • FasTrax
  • Clover POS (with RACS or Age-Verify apps)

When your store is running a RACS-compliant POS system, you are on your way toward RACS-certification. See the Get Certified article for the next steps.

Other POS system providers

We are currently working with many major POS providers across the United States to support RACS. Reach out to your POS system manufacturer and ask about RACS.

Custom POS system

If your business uses a proprietary platform for your POS systems, talk to your POS developers about supporting RACS. For next steps, POS developers can go to the For POS providers section of this documentation.

Footnotes

  1. RACS only considers non-expired national identity cards that include a machine-readable passport (MRZ) or PDF417 document on the card. These are standard “QR code”-like data formats that are used by most world governments for passports, driver’s licenses, and official state photo identification cards.

Retailers decision flow

The following decision tree diagram illustrates how a transaction that contain JUUL products is handled by a RACS-compliant POS system.

Retailers decision flow

Click to view in fullscreen

Retailer FAQ

The Retail Access Control Standards program stops JUUL products from getting into underage hands.

I’m interested. How do I sign up?

Please get in touch with us by filling out the Get certified form.

Why should I become RACS compliant?

By being RACS compliant, you can help ensure that JUUL products do not get into the hands of youth. When you become RACS compliant, you are joining an alliance of retailers and organizations who believe in restricting access to adult products.

What does a RACS compliant POS system do?

A RACS-compliant POS system meets three requirements:

  1. Automated I.D. scanning: The POS system automatically prompts for I.D. scanning to verify the age and I.D. validity (for example, checking I.D. expiration) whenever a JUUL product is scanned.
  2. Automated bulk purchase restriction: Transactions with more than 1 JUUL devices and 4 JUULpod 4-packs are blocked from completing.
  3. Automated manual override protection: Transactions cannot be completed unless the I.D. scan and bulk purchasing checks have passed. Store employees are blocked from manually passing these checks.

If you are a retailer, see the For retailers section of this documentation for more information.

If you are a POS developer, see the For POS providers section of this documentation.

As a retailer, what kind of equipment do I need to be RACS compliant?

At this time, you need a RACS-compatible POS system.

As a retailer, what should I do to serve international customers?

You need an MRZ scanner for passports. This is not required for RACS compliance, but we recommend it for retailers who serve many international customers.

As a retailer, how much does a RACS-compatible I.D. scanner cost me?

Standard I.D. scanners can be purchased for between $100 and $250 dollars. Passport MRZ scanners can be purchased for between $500 and $2000.

When do I need to become RACS compliant in order to sell JUUL products at my store(s)?

JUUL Labs plans to stop distributing JUUL products to any retailer that isn’t RACS-certified by May 2021.

Where should I get my RACS-compliant hardware?

Typically, you can purchase compatible barcode scanners from your POS vendor and any other store that sells POS equipment. Many retailers already have 2D barcode scanners that will work with RACS-compliant POS systems.

FOR POS PROVIDERS

How to comply

Your path to a RACS-compliant POS system involves implementing a standard set of POS features that require electronic age verification and bulk-purchasing limits, while integrating them within the POS to prevent manual override.

Additional technical specifications and support are available to applicants.

Components of a RACS-compliant system

This section details each component required by a RACS-compliant system and outlines the technical requirements you should consider when you implement RACS software features.

The following checklist outlines the requirements at a high level:

JUUL product detection

The POS system must detect when a JUUL product is scanned as part of a transaction.

Barcode scanner

Compatible barcode scanners must be used as part of a RACS-compliant POS system. Ideally, a scanner can detect both PDF417 codes (U.S. state IDs and driver’s licenses) and MRZ codes (passports). Some POS systems may implement barcode scanning via mobile camera software.

Bulk-purchasing check

The POS system must check that the customer is not purchasing JUUL products in quantities more than the pre-defined limits. JUUL Labs has implemented bulk-purchase limits of 1 JUUL device and 4 JUULpod 4-packs per transaction.

I.D. scanning software features

I.D. scanning software features must be implemented. When photo I.D. is scanned, the POS system (i) confirms that the customer is the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products in the store’s region; (ii) confirms that the I.D. is valid and not expired; and (iii) confirms that the I.D. is authentic.

Confirmation screen

The result of each check that occurs during the transaction must be clearly displayed on a confirmation screen.

Transaction blocking

Transactions with JUUL products must be blocked if one of the following checks does not pass:

      • Customer is not of legal age to buy tobacco products, including vapor products, in that jurisdiction.
      • I.D. is expired or otherwise invalid.
      • Bulk-purchasing check fails.

Auditing features

Completed transactions should be auditable by retailers.

JUUL product detection

RACS requires that the POS system detects all JUUL products scanned as part of a transaction. If a JUUL product is scanned, then additional checks will be required before the transaction can be completed.

The following sections detail the checks that should occur when a JUUL product has been scanned as part of a transaction.

Barcode scanner

Every RACS-compliant POS must be compatible with barcode scanners capable of scanning machine-readable zones (MRZ) on passports and PDF417 format barcodes.

More more information about MRZ and PDF417:

The following POS system configurations can be used to provide RACS-compliant barcode scanning:

  1. An Android or iOS device with a built-in camera and an internet connection.
  2. An internet-capable POS hardware system along with barcode scanner(s) capable of scanning PDF417 format and, optionally, MRZ format barcodes.

Bulk-purchasing check

The POS system must check that customers are not purchasing JUUL products in bulk.

I.D. scanning software features

As previously mentioned in the Barcode scanner part of this article, both MRZ and PDF417 format barcodes must be scannable as part of every RACS-compliant system.

RACS requires that all of the following identification types are scannable:

  • United States driver’s licenses (PDF417)
  • United States state identification cards (PDF417)
  • Subset of Native American identification cards (PDF417)
  • Canadian driver’s licenses or identity cards (PDF417)
  • National identity cards (PDF417 or MRZ)
  • Passports (MRZ)

RACS requires that retailers scan photo identification for any customer who purchases JUUL products. Retailers should be able to scan any of the following identification types:

For each identification type, the following information must be scanned:

  • Date of birth
  • Expiration date
  • Two (2) pieces of additional information (e.g. name, eye color, veteran status)

There are three core reasons for RACS’s I.D. scanning requirements:

  • Age check: The POS system must confirm that customers are the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products in the store’s region.
  • I.D. validity check: The POS system must confirm that the customer’s I.D. is valid and not expired.
  • I.D. authenticity check: The retailer must confirm whether the customer’s I.D. is authentic.

The POS system must display the result of each check clearly. If an age check or expiration check fails, the transaction should be blocked.

Age check

The barcode scanner must capture the age information from the I.D. barcode. Then, the POS system must calculate the customer’s age using the birthdate on the identification.

If the customer is not the minimum legal age required to buy tobacco products, the POS system must block the transaction from completing.

Note that the minimum legal age to purchase and use tobacco products differs from state to state. The POS system should be configured to take its region into account.

For more information about minimum legal purchasing age for tobacco products, see the Tobacco 21 website.

I.D. validity check

The barcode scanner must capture the expiration date information from the I.D. barcode. Then, the POS system must check that the identification has not expired.

ID authenticity check

In addition to the customer’s birthdate, the barcode scanner must capture at least 2 pieces of personal information from the I.D.:

  1. The customer’s legal name.
    Example: Janet Smith
  2. Two (2) additional pieces of personal identifiable information (PII) that are printed on the ID.
    Examples: Issued at date, sex, eye color, driver’s license number

This information should be displayed on the POS screen so that the sales associate can confirm that this information is physically printed on the identification card.

As part of the I.D. authenticity check, RACS expects sales associates to physically check the I.D.s for signs of forgery. The sales associate must also check that the photo and identifying information on the I.D. match the customer’s physical appearance.

Confirmation screen

Before the transaction can be completed, the POS system must display a confirmation screen that clearly displays the results of each check required by RACS.

The confirmation screen has two core purposes:

  1. To allow the sales associate to verify whether the current transaction can be completed.
  2. To allow the sales associate to communicate to the customer each reason why a transaction cannot be completed.

Transaction blocking

A RACS-compliant POS system must be able to block transactions from completing in cases where I.D. scanning checks do not pass, or where bulk purchasing limits have been exceeded. This protects retailers from customers and employees who want to resell or distribute JUUL products to minors.

Auditing features

Completed transactions should be auditable. Audits ensure that the RACS-compliant POS system is being used as intended.

Auditing features should follow these guidelines:

  • Transaction receipts should include the customer’s verified birthdate.
  • Transaction receipts should not include any of the customer’s personally identifiable information (PII).

For the customer’s safety and privacy, the birthdate cannot be displayed next to any customer PII. The birthdate cannot be allowed to trace back to an identifiable customer.

FOR TRADE ASSOCIATIONS

Contact us

By 2021, all retailers who sell JUUL products are required to use RACS-compliant point of sale (POS) systems. If you are a point of sale provider, have customers who sell JUUL products, and intend to comply with the RACS requirements, contact us for more information about your path to RACS compliance.

If you represent a trade organization, non-profit organization, an ENDS company, or a government organization and want to help limit youth access to age-restricted products with RACS, please get in touch with us.